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Albatron KX600S Pro Motherboard - VIA KT600 Lives On

We have the Albatron KX600S Pro motherboard on the test bench today. It is based on VIA's KT600 chipset for the Athlon XP processor. Albatron has provided a value based motherboard with overclocking on par with the likes of ASUS and ABIT.
@TweakTown
Cameron Johnson
Published Wed, May 5 2004 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Albatron

Albatron KX600S Pro - Introduction

IntroductionWith the advancements in the AMD segment, it is easy to sometimes overlook what is still tried and true, and none the less, still a popular platform for overclockers and hardcore overclockers on more of a budget.The AMD Athlon platform gave AMD its title crown as king of the CPU's. In a time when Intel was king and AMD was just an alternative CPU, a brave new core entered into the arena, and upset everything from Intel's speed claims to DRAM migration to RDRAM - yes sir, AMD Athlon caused quite a stir.Today it has been relegated to the back burners of AMD's advancement charts, with Athlon 64, FX and Opteron taking up all of the latest R&D dollars and it's not likely you will see too much advancement from AMD on the Athlon parts.The KT600 chipset has been VIA's biggest step up on the AMD Athlon platform. The KT600 was introduced to fix a lot of the problems in performance and compatibility the KT400 series had, as well as to try and compete with the nForce2 Ultra series of chipsets.Today we have Albatron's more budget orientated KT600 motherboard with some rather good overclocking features. Come and take a look.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Specifications

Specifications of the KX600S ProCPUSupports AMD Athlon 700Mhz ~ 1.4Ghz (200FSB)Supports AMD Athlon 1.0Ghz ~ 1.4Ghz (266FSB)Supports AMD Athlon XP 1500+ ~ 2800+ (266/333FSB)Supports AMD Athlon XP 2400+ ~ 3200+ (266/333/400FSB)ChipsetVIA KT600 AGPsetVIA KT600 NorthbridgeVIA VT8237 SouthbridgeVIA V-Link @ 533MB/sBus Frequency100/133/166/200MHz Internal200/266/333/400MHz ExternalAMD EV6 Alpha BusExpansion Slots1 AGP 4x5 PCIExpansion Ports1 PS2 Keyboard Port1 PS2 Mouse Port8 USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear accessible, 4 via expansion bracket)2 Serial Ports 1 Parallel Port3 Stereo Audio Ports 1 Game Port (via expansion bracket)Special Features3Com EthernetBIOS control of FSB,DRAM and voltages

Albatron KX600S Pro - Features

Features of the KX600S Pro- Package and Contents
Being a budget motherboard you would expect a budget package. This is what you get but it does have everything you will need in order to get yourself up and running. First off you get your motherboard, along with this is a Driver CD with Norton Antivirus included to keep your PC clean from the nasties. Albatron has been known in the past to include a very in-depth user manual, and this time it gets even better. Not only does the user manual weigh in at over 200 pages, but it explains the full BIOS functions in all the major languages, so no matter if you speak English, Chinese or German, you will have no problems setting up this board from the User Manual.You also get two IDE ribbon cables, two Serial ATA cables, Serial ATA power splitter, I/O shield as well as reference stickers you can place on your case either on the inside of the side panels or wherever you choose to give you easy reference for locating jumpers and switches if you should ever need to reset the BIOS.- Motherboard Layout
The motherboard itself is pretty well laid out for what you might think is more of a hardcore user's board, without all the addition features. The motherboard itself only measures 200x292mm, easy able to squeeze into any ATX Midi tower case, and even some of the more tightly constraining cases. The only major gripe is the location of the 20 pin ATX connector being placed between the I/O plate and the Northbridge heatsink. This causes the bulky 20 pin power lines to clutter around the CPU heatsink, causing some air flow problems.The placement of the FDD connector could also have used some thought; however, we don't see this motherboard going into extremely large cases, where the FDD drive is extremely high up, however, the placement of the cable in this position does cause further air flow restrictions.Albatron gives you one AGP 3.0 slot and five PCI slots to add in whatever cards you see fit, with the limited onboard features, the more PCI slots the better.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Features Continued

Features of the KX600S Pro Continued- Chipset and Components
The driving force behind the Albatron KX600S Pro is VIA's KT600 Northbridge coupled with the solid VIA VT8237 Southbridge. The KT600 Northbridge is a Single Channel DDR memory solution built with what VIA terms FastStream64 technology. In short, FastStream64 is supposed to reduce latency and attempt to bring the same amount of performance Dual Channel Memory controllers deliver. While it can't deliver as much bandwidth, it still does a great job of keeping data flowing to the Athlon XP processor at a good rate.The VIA VT8237 Southbridge gives the KX600S Pro native Serial ATA RAID support, so you don't miss out on this feature. Added to this are eight USB2.0 ports, 5.1 Audio support as well as the ATA-133 IDE support which VIA has been pushing for the last two years.
While VIA does include a 10/100 Ethernet controller in its Southbridge, Albatron has elected to use its own PCI 3Com Ethernet controller to give the same 10/100 Ethernet support. This is no proof that this controller is better than the built-in option but its nice to see a hardware solution any day of the week which helps reduce load on the CPU.- OverclockingThis is where it gets interesting. On most budget motherboards we have seen in the past, if you want to cut cost, cut R&D on the motherboard, however, this one looks as if it has had a team of R&D go over the BIOS and its overclocking options with great effort. In fact, this is the sort of settings we expect from ABIT or ASUS, not Albatron.The BIOS is an Award Modular BIOS using the same design as the ASUS layout. This is rather the odd one out BIOS style as there are only a few companies like ASUS and Intel using this BIOS menu. Under the Advanced menu you will find the Frequency/Voltage Control submenu. This is where Albatron has tucked away all the overclocking settings. From here just about every setting you could want is avalible. First off is your Clock Ratio. If you have an unlocked Palomino or you have the TBread or Barton core XP's, this menu will let you change the CPU ratio. You can change it from 5.5x up to 24x in 0.5x increments, but remember, not all the settings will for your CPU, as some of them have cross referencing for different cores.CPU Host Frequency is where your FSB adjustments take place. Here you can adjust from 100MHz up to 300MHz in 1MHz increments. This gives you the best possible range for overclocking. During our tests, we lowered the CPU multiplier and raised the FSB with the DRAM at 1:1 and managed over 267MHz FSB without a problem.Next is your CPU/AGP:PCI clock ratio settings. Since this is a VIA chipset, no fixed ratio is avalible, however you can select from 6:2:1, 5:2:1, 4:2:1 or 3:2:1 to keep the PCI and AGP clocks stable. CPU Voltage allows you to set your CPU's core voltage above the default. The maximum is 1.85v in 0.025v increments which is more than enough for people using air cooling.AGP Voltage control is another good option especially since the AGP is going slightly over standard; you can adjust it from 1.5v standard up to 1.8v in 0.1v incrementsDDR Voltage is the last of the adjustments with 2.5v default up to 3.0v in 0.1v increments which provides the best range for DRAM overclocks.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - Test System Setup and SiSoft Sandra 2004

Test System SetupProcessor: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (333 MHz FSB) Memory: 2x 256MB OCZ DDR-533 (Supplied by OCZ)Hard Disk: Western Digital 120GB 7200RPM PATA (Supplied by Plus Corporation)Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce FX 5900 Ultra (Supplied by nVidia)Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: nVidia Forceware 56.64SiSoft Sandra 2004SiSoft Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2004 is a synthetic windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
Here we see the Albatron KT600 just falls slightly behind our KT600 top dog, the Soyo KT600 Platinum Ultra.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - PCMark04

PCMark04PCMark04 is a new multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark04 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs.
Here we see that the two are almost identical in every test.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - 3DMark03

3DMark033DMark03 is the latest instalment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
Again very little difference.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - Aquamark3

Aquamark3Aquamark3 is the latest instalment of the Aquamark benchmark suite. This new benchmark is much more powerful and demands much more from both the system and the graphics card. If there is any weakness in the system or 3D components, Aquamark3 will find them.
Here we see the Soyo motherboard just pulling ahead.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - Halo PC

Halo PC - Combat EvolvedHalo PC is new to us at TweakTown. Though we have used it in a couple of benchmarks in the past, it has now found a permanent place in our Benchmark Suite. This is simply due to its support for the latest DirectX 9 API's to put some more stress on the system to determine the best of the best.
Halo evens out both motherboards.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - Jedi Knight II

Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is an OpenGL game that many have been waiting for. It has much improved graphics over its predecessor. It fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use.
Here we see the Soyo KT600 Dragon is slightly ahead.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2003

Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight on to the 3D and Memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to gain playable scores with this game
Here we see a just about dead even tie.

Albatron KX600S Pro - Conclusion

ConclusionIn all, the AMD Athlon XP platform is far from dead with few AMD Athlon XP users making the migration to 64bit at this stage. It still seems like the KT600 chipset will be a long term product as far as VIA is concerned.For Albatron, it just gets better. This motherboard is extremely small, fitting it to just about any budget case. It comes equipped with fast Ethernet for home networking and broadband, a basic 5.1 audio controller is included to give you digital vibrant sound and the overclocking which is by far one of the best we have seen on a budget based motherboard, up there with the likes of ASUS and ABIT.Overall Albatron has only shown its true support for overclockers even in their budget motherboards. This is why we have given this motherboard our "MUST HAVE" Best Value Award.- ProsFastStableHardware EthernetGreat Overclocking for budget motherboard- ConsPlacement of the 20 pin ATX power connectorPlacement of the FDD connectorRating - 8.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's Best Value Award

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