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X48 Motherboard Comparison, Part 2

Onboard Devices

NorthbridgeIntel X48 Express MCH
SouthbridgeIntel ICH9R
Voltage RegulatorTwin Digital 4-Phase (Eight Phases)
BIOS307 (03/07/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB1333)333.3MHz (+0.0%)
Clock GeneratorCypress CY28551LFXC
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard3x PCIe x16 (Modes: Two x16: One x4/x1)
1x PCIe x1
3x PCI
3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Serial Port header
1x Floppy
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
8x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Bernstein Audio Module Header
1x IrDA Header
2x 4-pin Auxiliary Power connector
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
5x Fan 3 pins (Chassis/Power)
IO panel2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse )
2x RJ-45 Network
6x USB 2.0
2x External SATA
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH9R6x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
JMicron JMB363 PCI-E1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
2x External SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1 JBOD)
Marvell 88E8053-NNC1 PCI-EGigabit LAN Connection
Marvell 88E8052-NNC1 PCI-EGigabit LAN Connection
Realtek ALC885 HD Audio Codec7.1 + 2 channel Multi-Streaming Output
VIA VT6307 PCI2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mb/s)

Logic would dictate that DFI’s use of three PCI-Express devices would leave only a total of three of the X48 chipset’s six available PCI-Express lanes available to the X48-T2R’s x1 and third x16 PCI-Express slots. Thus, if all onboard devices and slots are used, the third x16 slot must drop to x1 or x2 transfer mode, which is hardly worthy of any graphics card.

DFI’s rear-panel port section features a huge hole for VRM cooling, in keeping with the Lanparty brand’s overclocking theme. Only the basic connectors are featured here, and the boards added internal SATA ports seem geared for cases that have front-panel eSATA connections.

The Lanparty LT X48-T2R gets its Ultra ATA and two of its SATA ports from JMicron’s popular JMB363 controller. This device uses a PCI-Express x1 connection for data transfers up to 250MB/s in each direction.

A Marvell 88E8053 controller serves one Gigabit Ethernet connection over its PCI-Express interface.

Meanwhile, an 88E8052 provides the second Gigabit Ethernet connection, again through PCI-Express. Notice that DFI also offers jumpers for hardware overclocking, which is an option we hadn’t seen in a while.

The VT6307 FireWire controller adds two IEEE-1394 ports via legacy PCI connection.

The Lanparty LT X48-T2R’s “onboard” audio comes by way of a riser card, which is supposed to reduce noise compared to typical onboard codec locations.

The Bernstein audio module uses Realtek’s ALC885 codec to modulate HD signals from the ICH9R Southbridge. It features separate 7.1-channel rear and two-channel front outputs for audio multitasking, such as running a VoIP application over a headset while playing a movie soundtrack through speakers.