BIOS Version: 0093.P22
The Intel board may not look like much but is very solid in many regards, starting from the conventional design that enables the AGP slots, as well as four of the five PC slots, to be fitted with cards of full installation length. The Northbridge is kept at the correct temperature by a solid heat sink. A piezoelectric loudspeaker takes care of elementary communication between man and machine.
The large number of USB interfaces adorning the back panel is also pleasing. Likewise available is a Gigabit network adapter based on the company's own 82547EI. Why Intel has completely done without the sound system on the test board is a mystery. Multi-channel sound in compliance with AC97 don't cost the world these days and continue to be sufficient for most users.
An AGP slot with a fuse mechanism always earns plus points, because the plug connection between big cards and the slot is not particularly solid and could come loose when the computer is transported. However, unlocking requires strength here, while other AGP sockets work with quick releases.
Intel has arranged four fan connections around the board, one of which is used as the processor fan. The "big" Southbridge sees some action with support for serial ATA-RAID. With regard to functionality, the D875 PBZ delivered faultless performance: whatever we touched worked instantly.
Intel likewise is one of those suppliers that offer a problem-free Windows Flash utility with which a BIOS update is easy to swing even for novice users. The current Desktop Control Center by Intel is both convenient and powerful, combining monitoring and overclocking functions. Three output profiles containing fan speeds and clock rates can be saved. The integrated stress test, which checks the selected settings right away, is interesting as well.
Finally, on a plaintive note: only the storage module from TakeMS spoilt an otherwise faultless performance by the Intel board - the memory module simply could not be made to run with the DIMM pair.