Intel’s Latest— Fast, but at a Premium

Intel’s Latest— Fast, but at a Premium

Chris Angelini


The proliferation of new technology is quite often an arduous process. Intel’s new 925X chipset isn’t going to be any different, especially since it relies on the rapid adoption of DDR2 system memory, PCI Express graphics cards, and LGA775 processors. The process has to start somewhere, though, which is why Intel is unveiling its D925XCV motherboard. Sporting all of the latest core logic’s bells and whistles, the D925XCV is designed with enough performance in mind, Intel hopes, to encourage a swift shift to the vision of Intel’s digital home.

At the heart of the D925XCV lies an MCH (memory controller hub) bearing the chipset’s 925X name. Responsible for communication between processor, graphics, and memory, the board’s MCH exclusively supports PCI Express x16 graphics (say good-bye to your AGP 8x videocard), up to 4GB of DDR2 memory running at either 400MHz or 533MHz (bid farewell to the DDR400 modules you just bought), and a Pentium 4 processor designed for the new LGA775 socket interface (donate your old Socket 478 chip to someone who’ll give you a good Christmas present). It also connects to a new ICH (I/O Controller Hub) with its own set of special features through a new 2GB-per-second bidirectional link.

The ICH6 reflects Intel’s push for greater integrated functionality. To begin, it supports PCI Express x1 slots, of which the motherboard offers two. It’s also equipped with four Serial ATA connectors with hardware support for RAID 0 striping and RAID 1 mirroring. The chipset only supports one parallel ATA port to offer compatibility with optical drives, making it necessary for you to buy a Serial ATA hard drive. Another lauded feature is the board’s 7.1-channel High Definition Audio, a new standard championed by Intel. It has enough fidelity to support the Dolby Digital EX, DTS, and THX specifications, given proper software support. Finally, the D925XCV comes equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and eight USB 2.0 ports.

All of that newfangled technology is pricey, unfortunately. The motherboard alone sells for $230 on the street. Moreover, DDR2-533 memory is roughly two times more expensive than standard DDR400. Add a PCI Express graphics card, power supply, and an LGA775 processor, and you can see why upgrading to a D925XCV is somewhat daunting. Finally, keep in mind that the slogan for Intel’s desktop boards is “Integrity to Build On.” In other words, the D925XCV prioritizes stability, so if you prefer the tireless pursuit of performance, check out ABIT’s AA8-DuraMAX or ASUS’ P5AD2.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Computer Gaming World.