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Suggestions for using an Intel server motherboard in a desktop?

Last response: in Motherboards
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July 2, 2009 4:57:02 AM

Hello all,

I'm a bit new to the PC building and modding game and only have several under my belt so far. That's probably why I didn't realize there was something different about this motherboard until I went looking for a diagram, drivers, and information.

So from what I can tell, I have an Intel server motherboard with an LGA775 Socket. It's features are very similar to this model:

http://reviews.cnet.com/motherboards/intel-desktop-board-dp43tf/4507-3049_7-33176017.html

And here is a gallery of photos I took of my own board:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/quantummacs/sets/72157620841762832/

But for the life of me, I can't identify this board. I have Googled every number on it and come up empty handed. I scoured the Intel site and could not turn up anything, even a search using the AA number, which is clearly printed on the board as AA C42312-100. The other numbers on that sticker are 103620 R (103620 is an out of production Intel RAID controller), and IWWP34603642.

On the back of the board is printed:

LGRVP EV
FAB A
Reference and Validation Board A
Intel LGA775 Processor/ Alderwood Chipset.
Intel Confidential

Anyway, so I think my questions are:

Can anyone please give me some advice on how to identify what type of motherboard I have here? I'm totally perplexed at this point and have spent several evenings trying, I'm stuck.

Is it feasible to use this motherboard in a standard ATX PC that I am trying to build? If so, is the setup different than that of a standard desktop motherboard? I thought for sure I had it set up right but it wouldn't post or do anything; when I removed power the fan would spin briefly and the LCD would flash "00".

If you could help me with this issue I would be most pleased and grateful. Thanks for any and all advice. :??: 


July 2, 2009 5:41:48 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_chipsets

Okay, what you do have is an engineering sample board made by intel to validate that the chipset and board design is sound. Typically, Intel and AMD come up with a working mobo design that gets modified by the mobo companies. They do this because they have much more knowledge about their chipset/socket requirements and it is much faster for a 3rd party to tweak an existing design instead of make their own mobo from scratch.

Nvidia and ATI do this and it is called a "reference" board. Their are clues that suggest this is not a server board and is a prototype.

The line with reference and validation and confidential, these are put on ES or engineering samples.

Engineering samples typically are oversized because they usually have all the hardware options a chipset will support, such as all the slots and ports etc.

Those look like SP/DIFs on the back (the black rca type things)...those are for coax type digital in and out most likely.

Look here:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/498

while there are a few boards labeled as "servers" this was basically for the desktop market.

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/archi...
http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/...

Oh and by the way, tech lovers dig engineering samples, sweet find !
July 2, 2009 8:02:51 PM

Hey, thanks for the great reply! I got a huge boost out of your advice. I think I've identified this board as one of the 3 Intel 925 series discontinued models. I'm frustrated though because I can't turn up a decent diagram of the board and I still can't get it to post. There's gotta be at least 50 jumper pins in different places and I have no clue which I need to worry about and which I don't. BIOS and CMOS are the only two I'm sure of. It's too bad because I can tell this board has enormous potential and there's just some stupid setting standing in my way.

That's really interesting about the reference board. I actually bought several at one time, and about a half dozen video cards that say the same thing. I can't identify the video cards either, and there's video outputs on those cards I don't recognize at all. I thought they were junk but I'll have to give them another look.

If I can't get this board to post, what would you recommend? Ebay? I do think it's a working board I'm just not savvy enough to interpret the 10 billion different jumper pin settings on it.

Thanks again for your awesome advice.
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July 4, 2009 8:13:57 AM

take pics of all the jumpers and of the cards, been doing tinkering since commodore 64's and 8088's and maybe me or my pack rat buddy can help you with the jumper tag. If it IS a reference board, there won't be a manual on the site, because these are very limited and basically "homemade" so to speak. Even Intel would probably change some things around on the official model after tinkering.

Most of the time the locations of the major jumpers and slots will stay in the ball park though, because changing around traces on the motherboard creates different electrical issues. In other words, once it's close and up and running, most things don't get moved around locationwise. More often stuff gets left off.

Ever see some boards with spots for missing chips or connectors ? They were most likely on the original reference board so that manufacturers could see the full potential of the platform and choose to leave off some things, or maybe put a different chip in the same place to save money. An example of this was my AMD ECS motherboard. It was a cheaper model so they used a cheaper chip from IDT (sigmatek) for the sound instead of the more expensive realtek that gigabyte and asus used. Now they were all based off the same chipset and probably reference design from amd. The way things like that work is they are "pin compatible" meaning that they are basically a copy as far as how they work on the outside (pin level) even if the inside is different. Since they work the same outside they have to be hooked up in the same way. Doing stuff like moving major traces around the motherboard would create timing and interference issues that need resolved, so that is kept to a minimum as much as possible on most boards except high end where the cost is justified.

Even then however since it's probably designed by intel, it's probably really close as far as the jumper locations and what jumper does what. I'd download ALL the manuals and look for similarities between all of them and also your board if you really want to get it running. Also a lot of those hade abbreviations back in the day of 2 or three letters that may tell you what it does...like CLK or such for bus speed. That and on the side of the jumpers, the side with the fatter line is on the side of pin 1.

If it's all too much, Ebay it or ask Intel, but those arent technically for sale and they might want it back..lol. Lemme know how it goes..happy 4th !
July 4, 2009 8:20:55 AM

Bsically you need to worry about you cpu voltage, ram voltage and bus speed (the jumpers to tell it what speed to run the chip) if it has that last one, if it came with a cpu in it...chances are that the cpu (bus speed) is fine already. Did you add your own cpu or did it come with this board ? I can try to help if you want but I'd need good close up jumper shots and a good pic or 2 that covers the whole board top down, pretty large so I can do some diggin. That's up to you how much you wanna do to get it running, but you can message me in private on here on tom's under my profile or just on the thread if ya need to.
July 8, 2009 5:07:10 AM

royalcrown said:
Bsically you need to worry about you cpu voltage, ram voltage and bus speed (the jumpers to tell it what speed to run the chip) if it has that last one, if it came with a cpu in it...chances are that the cpu (bus speed) is fine already. Did you add your own cpu or did it come with this board ? I can try to help if you want but I'd need good close up jumper shots and a good pic or 2 that covers the whole board top down, pretty large so I can do some diggin. That's up to you how much you wanna do to get it running, but you can message me in private on here on tom's under my profile or just on the thread if ya need to.


Hey Royal Crown,

Sorry for the delay in response, I'm out of town for the 4th and I won't return until next week. But I really appreciate your posts and I definitely want to take you up on your offer to help me get this thing figured out.

First, it must be a reference board because it really is marked as a reference board, on both sides. I also have about a half dozen video and PCI cards that are marked as reference boards. I know Intel has a presence in my area so I'm not overly surprised that I came upon a box containing all of these parts at a garage sale for $10.

You are right about CLK, that jumper is right by the processor. Good to know that that's bus speed. There are another 3-4 sets of pins near the processor that aren't as well marked, no clue what those are for either. And near the bottom of the board, there are about a dozen sets of pins labeled "VID", you can see some of them on the bottom of this picture:



The metal square piece you can see at the bottom of that pic is a power supply input; one with 3 pins. I tried plugging it in with a 3-pin adapter I have and starting it up that way, no dice.

I will take a whole mess more pictures, much more close ups, when I get home. So far all I can get is 3 lights on the board to light up, one on the very bottom, something about power, and 24-pin power input, they also say something about Power I believe. The board does nothing when I attempt to power it up, but somethimes when I remove the power the processor fan spins briefly, the lights show "00" and a tiny "HDD LED" light on the board twinkles.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if I should remove the 4-pin part since I am using a single core processor in the socket?

Anyway, I will get back to you as soon as I get home because I am very eager to get this baby up and running, if at all possible. Thanks again Royal Crown for your time and help.
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