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Case, Power Supply, Fan Reviews
  Product:     Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard  
  Price:     $127 (CAN) / $98 (U.S)
  Supplied By:     Albatron
  Author:     Mantis
  Date:     December 19th, 2003
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Venny from Albatron for providing the Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard for review.

Albatron

Introduction:

Introduced over a year ago, the NVIDIA nForce 2 series architecture has caught the community by storm delivering arguably top performance for any willing system builder or enthusiast. Dominating popular chipset player of the past, VIA; the hardware and enthusiast community has come to accept and proven that the NVIDIA nForce 2 architecture is undoubtedly the chipset of choice for gaming, home office, business and mainstream computing systems which are built upon the 32-bit AMD Athlon XP line of processors. Albatron Technology Co based out of Tapei, Taiwan is a manufacturer and distributor of high technology products such as leading edge motherboards, monitors and video cards. Today in MTB Labs, we will be evaluating the Albatron KX18D Pro II motherboard.

Specifications:

The Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard incorporates the NVIDIA Nforce 2 Ultra 400 chipset on an ATX board with features such as Serial ATA150 RAID, Onboard 10/100 LAN, and 5.1 SoundStorm audio. The NVIDIA nForce 2 Ultra 400 Dual 400Mhz DDR controllers and official support for the 200 Front Side Bus AMD Athlon XP CPUs based on the Barton core for synchronous FSB and DDR performance. Special features include USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, AGP 8X, BIOS Mirror, Voice Genie, Watch Dog Timer and more. Here are some specifications taken directly from the Albatron website:

Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard - Key Specifications
General AMD Athlon™ / Athlon™XP / Athlon™XP Barton/ Duron™Processor
Socket 462 with FSB 200/266/333/400+(by overclocking)MHz
3 x DDR400/DDR333/266/200 Memory Sockets
AGP 8X , 6 channel AC 97 Audio
2 x ATA133 Channels, up to 4 ATA 133 IDE Devices
nForce2 MCP-T 10/100 Ethernet LAN
2 x Serial ATA150 Channels, Serial ATA RAID 0,1 (Software)
2 x IEEE1394a Ports
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 Ports (4 ports by optional cable)
BIOS Mirror
Voice Genie
Chipset with Hyper-Transport Technology
Bundle SPDIF Card (optional)
Processor AMD Athlon™/Athlon™XP/ Athlon™XP Barton/ Duron™Processor
FSB 200/266/333/400+ MHz (by overclocking)
Chipset North Bridge: NVIDIA nForce2 SPP (Ultra 400)
South Bridge: NVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T
LAN Chip : LAN PHY ICS1893AF
IEEE1394 Chip : TI IEEE1394A TSB41AB2PAP PAP-64
Audio Codec: Realtek ALC650
Serial ATA Chip :Silicon Image Sil3112A
I/O Chip : Winbond W83627HF
Memory 3 *DDR Sockets: DDR400/DDR333/266/DDR200 NON-ECC DDR SDRAM up to 3GB (Single Channel), up to 2GB (Dual Channel)
Expansion Slots 1 x AGP 3.0 8X/4X slot (1.5V & 0.8 V Only)
6 x PCI slots (PCI 2.2 compliant)
IDE Connectors 2 x ATA133 channels, up to 4 ATA 133 IDE Devices
Onboard I/O Connectors 1 x Floppy Connector
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 header (4 ports USB cable optional)
2 x IEEE1394 header (2 ports IEEE1394 cable optional)
1 x CD_IN header
1 x COM Port header
1 x S/PDIF in/out header (S/PDIF in/out cable optional)
1 x CPU fan header with fan rotation detection function
1 x System fan headers with fan rotation detection function
1 x10 pin system panel header (Intel spec)
1 x 3 pin Power LED header
1 x 4 pin Speaker header
1 x Front audio header (Intel spec)
1 x Case Open detection header
1 x Wake on LAN
I/O via Back Panel PS/2 keyboard/mouse, 2 x USB(2.0/1.1), RJ45 ,1 x Com(serial), 1 x Parallel, 1x Game/Line-in/Line-out/MIC
Power 20-pin ATX power connector
BIOS Feature 4 Mb Flash EEPROM
Award BIOS with ACPI, DMI2.0, PnP, WfM2.0, Green Suspend to RAM (S3), Suspend to Disk (S4) Wake on keyboard / Mouse, Wake on LAN/RTC Timer
Hardware Monitoring 2 FAN sensors, CPU/System voltages and temperature monitoring
Special Feature Zero Jumper Design
BIOS Mirror™ Protect BIOS by creating an original mirror image of itself
Voice Genie ™ Voice Troubleshooting system (four-Language)
Adjustable CPU and AGP frequency by 1 MHz increment, Adjustable Vcore, VAGP, VMemory for overclocking
Special design for CPU Over Temperature Protection (OTP)
Certifications FCC,CE, BSMI
Form Factors ATX (244*305 mm)
 

NVIDIA nForce 2 400/Ultra Chipset Overview At A Glance
The NVIDIA nForce 2 400 Ultra chipset revolutionizes traditional motherboard architectures through a series highly of integrated platform processors. Similar to the North and South Bridge, the NVIDIA nForce 2 Ultra uses platform processors such as Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP – only on selected models), System Platform Processor (SPP) and the Media Communications Processor (MCP) and Media Communications Processor Turbo (MCP-T) for maximum system performance, connectivity, audio functionality and efficiency. Here is a brief overview:

SPP - System Platform Processor: The System Platform Processor (SPP) is equivalent in function to the Northbridge technology. The nForce 2 400 Ultra SPP supports the latest 200 Front Side Bus AMD Athlon XP processors and below. Two independent Dual DDR 400 64-Bit memory controllers operate concurrently to deliver an impressive 6.4GB per second of memory bandwidth, double of that found on other DDR 400 based chipsets.

IGP - Integrated Graphics Processor: The second-generation Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) features of an onboard NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440 paired with an 8X AGP port. Similar to the SPP (Northbridge Technology), the IGP utilizes the same Dual 64-Bit memory architecture with the only difference of an onboard NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440, which can be easily disabled.

MCP, MCP-T – Media and Communications Processor/Turbo: The Media and Communications Processor - Turbo (MCP-T) is equivalent in function to the Southbridge Technology. The nForce 2 MCP-T is responsible for handling the bulk of the Digital Media Gateway functions which include the IEEE 1394a/Firewire, USB 2.0, LAN, Ultra ATA 133 communication along with the integrated Audio Processing unit for real-time Dolby Digital 3D (AC3) encoding.

Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard
Click image for larger view
Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 

The Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard ships in shiny purple and green retail packaging with the nForce 2 name and logo across the front. The rear portion of the box features a diagram outlining the key features of the motherboard. Overall packaging and display is impressive which is what users would come to expect from a retail motherboard. Often times, associated price differences can be related to the overall bundle including, fancy software and games un-necessarily increase the cost. The Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard comes complete with a basic bundle, which includes the following items:

  • KX18D Pro II Motherboard
  • 2 x IDE ATA100 cables
  • 1 x Floppy Drive cable
  • USB 2.0 Bracket
  • IEEE 1394a Bracket
  • SPDIF & Front Audio Dual Function Bracket
  • SATA Power cord
  • SATA Cable
  • Installation and Setup Driver CD
  • KX18D Pro II User Manual
Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard
Click image for larger view
Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 
The included 54 page User Manual is clearly printed in two languages and outlines several aspects of the motherboard including layout, BIOS functions and troubleshooting. Overall documentation I found to be informative and helpful. A separate manual exists outlining the configuration of the Serial ATA RAID options for those individuals which require it. A small set of software consisting of Adobe Acrobat Reader, PC Cillin 2002 and some dated nForce 2 drivers are included on the Installation and Setup Driver CD. With support for up to 6 USB 2.0 ports, the Albatron KX18D Pro II Motherboard delivers four of these via an additional bracket which is then connected to the appropriate onboard header. Also included is a 2-port IEEE1394a/Firewire bracket.
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