AOpen i915GMm-HFS: 2nd Gen Pentium M desktop board

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AOpen i915GMm-HFS Pentium M Motherboard

June 19, 2005 by Ralf Hutter

Product
AOpen i915GMm-HFS motherboard
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$280~350

The first consumer-oriented Pentium M motherboards were released late last year by AOpen and DFI. (Editor's Note: And both boards were reviewed thoroughly by RH.) Both were based on the Intel 855G/ICH4 chipset, which is stable and mature but doesn't come with the latest features that enthusiasts expect on a brand new board. The rather high price point of these boards only served to exacerbate this issue.

AOpen was not content to sit back and see how well its initial Pentium M offering did in the marketplace. They quickly followed up with a new board, the i915GMm-HFS, based on the new 915G/ICH6 chipset. Included on this board are features like PCIe x16, DDR2, SATA300, HD Audio and a 533MHz FSB among others. The integrated graphics includes not only the typical analog VGA out, but DVI and HDTV outputs as well. I doubt that anyone will be complaining about the lack of features on this iteration of a Pentium M board!

Luckily for SPCR, AOpen was kind enough to send us one of these brand new boards to play with and we've been testing it out for the past few weeks. Today's review will give a bit of an overview of our impressions.


AOpen i915GMm-HSF. Unusual layout for an Intel board seems to emulate BTX.

First off, here's a chart comparing the features of the AOpen i855 and i915 boards:

Comparison of AOpen i855GM and i915GM Motherboards
Feature
i855GMEm-FLS
915GMm-HFS
Processor
Socket-479m Pentium-M
Socket-479m Pentium-M
Chipset
Intel 855GME Northbridge
Intel ICH4 Southbridge
Intel 915GM Northbridge
Intel ICH6M Southbridge
FSB
400 MHz
400 MHz, 533 MHz
Memory Interface
2 x DDR333 Slots (2GB Max)
Single Channel DDR-333 or
Dual Channel DDR2-533
Memory Bandwidth
2.7 GB/sec Peak Bandwidth
(Single Channel DDR333)
2.7 GB/sec (DDR)
8.5 GB/sec (DDR2)
Graphics Interface
1 x AGP (4x)
PCI Express x16
IDE Ports
2 x Ultra ATA/100 Ports
(4 Drives)
Floppy Port
1 x Ultra ATA/100 Port
(2 Drives)
2 x SATA Ports
2 x SATAII Ports
S-ATA RAID
2 x SATA-II/150 Ports
Promise 20579 Controller
RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD
2 x SATA-II/150 Ports
Silicon Image SATA Controller
RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD
PCI Slots
3 x 32-bit (33 MHz) PCI
2 x PCIe (1 x1, 1 x16)
2 x 32-bit (33 MHz) PCI
USB / Firewire Ports
6 x USB 2.0 (Intel)
2 x Firewire 400 (Agere)
8 x USB 2.0 (Intel)
2 x Firewire 400 (Agere)
Integrated Graphics
Onboard Intel
Extreme Graphics 2
HD-15 Analog Output
Onboard Intel
Extreme Graphics 2
HD-15 Analog Output
Onboard Ethernet
2 x Marvell Yukon GigE Ports
(32-bit PCI)
2 x Marvell Yukon GigE Ports
(32-bit PCI)
Onboard Audio
Realtek ALC655 AC'97 Audio
5+1 Channel Analog
Intel HD Audio
7+1 Channel

And here's the complete rundown on the board's features, as given by AOpen:

AOpen i915GMm-HFS Specifications
Processor
Intel Pentium M CPU (Dothan)
Socket 479, 533Mhz
Chipset
Intel 915GM, ICH6-M
Super I/O
Winbond
Clock Gen
Realtek
Memory
Dual Channel Mode (DDRII 400/533MHz only)
Support : DDR333 or DDRII 533
DDR or DDRII DIMM x 2
DIMM Type : DDR or DDRII 128/256/512MB & 1GB
Max Memory : 2GB
Graphics
Integrated Intel GMA900 graphics core
PCI Express x16 (PCIe x16) slot
Audio
Azalia Codec on-Board embedded S/PDIF (ALC880)
7.1 Channel and above
Network
Dual Marvell Gigabit PCI Express LAN
IDE
Integrated ATA100 and Serial ATA Controller
Silicon Image Serial ATA II Control Chipset [Support RAID 0,1]
USB
Integrated in chipset, 8 x USB2.0 ports
IEEE 1394
Agere 1394 Control Chip
Slots
PCI Express (PCIe x1) x 1
PCI Express x16 Graphics (PCIe x16) x 1
PCI x 2
Storage & Back Panel I/O
Floppy Drive Connector x 1
IDE Channel : ATA100 x 1
Serial ATA Channel x 2
Serial ATA II Channel x 2
USB Port x 4
LAN Port x 2
VGA Port x 1
D-Connector (D1, D2, D3, D4) x 1 (for Japan only)
DVI-i Connector x 1
Standard Video x 1
YPbPr Connector x 1
Line_In/SPDIF_In x 1
Speaker_Out x 1
MIC_In x 1
Center/Subwoofer x 1
Rear Surround/SPDIF_Out x 1
Side Surround x 1
On Board Connector
Front Panel x 1
CPU FAN x 1
System FAN x 1
Chassis FAN x 1
Power Temperature Connector x 1
CD_IN x 1
COM Port x 2
IEEE 1394 x 2
USB Port x 4
Printer Connector x 1
BIOS
Award PnP 4Mb Flash ROM BIOS
Form Factor / Size
micro-ATX / 244 mm x 244 mm
Software & Utility
Acrobat Reader
AOconfig utility
EzInstall utility
EzSkin utility
EzWinFlash utility
i915GMm-HFS Utility
Online eBook Manual
WinDMI utility
Accessory
CPU Cooler x 1 (Ha!)
Easy Installation Guide x 1
Enhanced Full Pictured Manual x 1
Bonus Pack CD disc x 1
Floppy Disk cable (special) x 1
80-wire IDE cable x 1
Serial ATA cable x 2
Serial ATA Power cable x 2
Back Panel I/O Shield x 1
PS/2 Keyboard Connector x 1
S/PDIF Converter x 2


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