Next-gen mobo: 925X platform

Intel's new D925XCV mother-board is based on the Intel 925X chipset and ushers in a new era of interconnectivity for the PC platform while featuring integrated high-definition (24-bit/192KHz) 7.1-channel audio and four Serial ATA ports. The 925X is the new high-end Intel chipset for gamers and enthusiasts, replacing the current 875P chipset flagship.

925X motherboards feature the new LGA-775 CPU socket with pins located in the socket itself

The 925X features a new LGA-775 CPU socket, which is interesting in that the pins are located in the socket itself because Intel's new processors have no pins - only contacts. The new Pentium 4 5xx series of CPUs and the LGA-775-based Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition CPU will all be supported by this motherboard chipset. We tested this motherboard using the Pentium 4 560 as well as the 3.4GHz Extreme Edition. Overall, results were excellent but not groundbreaking.

Warning: it's important to note that if you buy this or any motherboard based on the Intel 925X chipset, you will have to buy a new graphics card and new memory modules. This is because the Intel 925X chipset does not support AGP architecture and does not have an AGP slot - it has only a new PCI Express x16 graphics slot. It also supports only DDR2 memory via its four DDR2 (533MHz) memory slots. Regular DDR memory is incompatible. Furthermore, motherboards based on the Intel 925X chipset will require a new power supply form factor - ATX12V 2.0. This has 24 pins on the main power connector for the board, differing from the current AXT12V 1.3 standard which has only 20 pins for the main connector. The new specification also includes a six-pin auxiliary connector for PCI Express graphics cards that consume more than 75W of power.

We tested the D925XCV motherboard with a Gigabyte GV-NX57128D PCI Express graphics card, which is a mainstream card based on the NVIDIA GeForce PCX 5750 chipset, and this did not require supplemental power. It was not the best match for an otherwise powerful PC configuration and the scores we received in the 3DMark tests were well below what we are used to seeing from current high-end platforms, but on par with a mid-level AGP card, such as the GeForce FX 5700. In terms of productivity, the Extreme Edition CPU turned in a higher SYSMark 2001 result than the Pentium 4 560 on this platform, but the 560 had a faster time in the video transcoding test due to its higher clock speed. In this test, we transcoded a video file from the DivX file to the MPEG2 format.

For now this motherboard offers only slight advantages over the current crop of 865PE and 875P chipset-based platforms but should be considered if you are in the market for a complete new system or are a keen video editor or music producer. The 925X chipset will also support higher CPU speeds than current platforms.

In Brief:

3 1/2 stars out of 5

The Intel 925X platform is sure to be a great performer for the high-end user, with many new features and performance benefits. However, you should only upgrade to the 925X platform if you require the absolute fastest CPU speed.

Price: To be announced

Vendor: Intel

URL: www.intel.com.au

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