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Intel 925XE Chipset and 3.46GHz Extreme Edition CPU
Date 8th December 2004
Author Chainbolt
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer Intel


INTEL D925XECV2 MOTHERBOARD:
The Intel D925XECV2 desktop motherboard is based on the new 925XE chipset supporting a 1066 MHz system bus. The board comes with the familiar retail box in “Intel blue”.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

In addition to the motherboard itself, the package contains the cables for various peripherals, front and rear expansion panels with additional ports for USB, IEEE 1394 and audio. Also included is an installation CD called “Intel Express Installer” with the required drivers for chipset and Matrix RAID, Intel proprietary utilities and a software bundle. The ATX form factor PCB comes in an eye pleasing black. It gives - as far as a surface inspection can reveal this - the impression of a carefully manufactured product. The board is also available as D925XEBC2 in the Micro-ATX form factor with only 2 PCI and 1 PCI-Express slots instead of 4/2.

As usual for 900 chipset based motherboards the ICH6 uses passive cooling. The presence of a heatsink indicates how much more workload the ICH6 has to handle in comparison to the heatsink-free ICH5: 4 instead of 2 SATA channels, additional RAID functions, 8-channel sound instead of 6-channel, and PCI-Express instead of PCI. A massive, but fanless, heatsink is cooling the MCH. We did not find any problem with the layout. It’s clear and simple as you would expect from a reference design. The area around the LGA socket is free of tall capacitors. This will allow the installation of 3rd party CPU heatsinks larger than the Intel provided stock heatsink. The board has (first time we have seen this) a 1x4 auxiliary power output connector that can be used for internal chassis lighting or additional fans.

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The D925XECV2 can be used with ATX12V power supplies with either 2x10 or 2x12 main power cables. In any case the well-known 2x2 Pentium 4 power regulation connector must be used. If only an older 2x10 main power cable is available the 4x1 “alternate” power connector must be used additionally to provide power for x16 PCI-Express graphic cards.

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We used a 2x10 cable and alternate power and did not experience any problem running the D925XECV2. Not optimal is that the memory sockets are so close to the PCI-E graphics socket - we had to remove our 800XT video card before we could install or remove the memory modules.

Click to Enlarge

The D925XECV2 comes with Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394, 4 native SATA channels and 8-channel high definition sound in 192 kHz/32-bit quality. It features an advanced thermal monitoring system comprising an internal CPU on-die temperature sensor and 2 remote ambient temperature sensors on the PCB and a fan control ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).

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It reads the signals from temperature sensors and controls fan speed through 4-pin headers on the PCB. The 4th wire regulates the speed of the connected CPU and chassis fans. Fan speed levels can be set through the Windows based “Intel Desktop Control Center”. Only fans (like the Intel stock cooler fan) with a matching 4-pin female connector can take advantage of this feature, but the connectors are compatible with the more common 3-pin fans.

Click to Enlarge
Software bundle

The D925XE comes with a wide range of software for system administration and security, LAN management, internet connectivity, multimedia purposes and system maintenance. The CD includes: SoundMax, SonicFocus, Music Match Jukebox, Intervideo Home Theater and WinDVD Creator, LANDesk, Embassy Trust Suite, Webex, RestoreIT and Norton Internet Security 2004. There's also 3 neat Intel propriety utilities: The “Intel Audio Studio” integrates all functions related to the ACL 800 based 8-channel High Definition sound. The “Intel Desktop Utilities” are a collection of tools to monitor, maintain, and test the system. This includes functions like temperature monitoring, hard disk monitoring with SMART, disk de-fragmentation and system back-up.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

The Intel “Desktop Control Center” can be used to overclock the system by adjusting the system bus frequency. With this utility the user can also adjust the memory timings and voltage and the PCI bus frequency.

Also noteworthy is the 110 page technical documentation for this motherboard. This is much more detailed documentation than included with any non-Intel motherboard we know about. Other motherboard manufacturers like Asus or Abit are not even providing 50% of this information in their manuals. A link to the D925XECV2 documentation is provided at the end of this article.

Click to Enlarge

Click the table above for a summary of the D925XECV2's features.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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