AOpen i915Ga-HFS ATX Pentium M Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards
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March 31, 2006 by Devon Cooke

Product
AOpen i915Ga-HFS
Full-ATX Socket 479 motherboard
Manufacturer
US$220

Despite the well publicized popularity of the Pentium M on the desktop platform, there are surprisingly few consumer desktop boards with the unique Socket 479 that supports it. One company, AOpen, has been responsible for most of these boards. The i915Ga-HFS is their latest, and it is probably the most conventional Socket 479 desktop board yet.

It's a high performance, full-ATX design based on the Intel 915G desktop chipset with full support for dual-channel DDR2 memory. AOpen's earlier efforts were smaller Micro-ATX boards; the very first one was based on a mobile chipset. This board is laid out in a more conventional manner, with the CPU socket near the top of the board and the RAM DIMMs positioned vertically behind it. Perhaps because it shares so much of its design with its immediate predecessor, the micro-ATX i915GMm-HFS, it's also slightly cheaper, although it still comes at a significant premium compared other similarly featured boards for other processors.

The board appears to be aimed squarely at the home theater market — it comes with an extensive selection of audio and video connectors. That, in conjunction with the low heat output of the Pentium M, does make the i915Ga-HFS an excellent candidate for use in an HTPC.


The motherboard and the mandatory dongles and doodads that come with it.

Unfortunately, the painfully obvious presence of a small fan on the northbridge heatsink does not bode well for noise. Its presence is made especially odd because none of AOpen's other Socket 479 boards have used active cooling for the northbridge.

Even worse, AOpen has once again gone with a proprietary mounting system for the CPU heatsink, meaning that aftermarket heatsinks (with one exception) cannot easily be used.


A conventional layout compared to previous models compatible with the Pentium M.
Click image for a higher resolution view.

AOpen i915Ga-HFS Specifications

CPU

Intel Pentium M CPU (Dothan)
Socket 479
533MHz
Chipset
Intel 915G
Intel ICH6
Super I/O
Winbond
Clock Generator
Realtek
Main Memory
Dual Channel Mode
Support : DDRII 533 (DDRII 400/533MHz only)
DDRII DIMM x 4
DIMM Type : 256/512MB & 1GB (DDRII only)
Max Memory : 4GB
Graphics
Integrated VGA Engine in chipset
PCI Express x16 (PCIe x16) slot
Storage
Integrated ATA100 and Serial ATA Controller
Max Disk : 144,000,000GB [by 48 bits LBA Spec.]
LAN
Marvell Gigabit PCI Express LAN Chip
Sound
Azalia 7.1 channel codec on-board (ALC880)
7.1 Channel and above
USB
Integrated in chipset
USB2.0 x 8
IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
Agere 1394 Control Chip
Slots
PCI Express x16 Graphics (PCIe x16) x 1
PCI x 3
Storage & Back Panel I/O

- Floppy Drive Connector x 1
- IDE Channel : ATA100 x 1
- Serial ATA Channel x 4
- DVI-i Connector x 1
- VGA Port x 1
- D-Connector (D1, D2, D3, D4) x 1 (for Japan only)
- Standard Video x 1
- YPbPr Connector x 1
- LAN Port x 1
- USB Port x 4
- Line_In x 1
- MIC_In x 1
- Speaker_Out x 1
- Center/Subwoofer x 1
- Rear Surround x 1
- Side Surround x 1

On Board Connectors
- CPU FAN x 1
- System FAN x 2
- Power FAN x 1
- Power Temperature Connector x 1
- Front Panel x 1
- USB Port x 4
- COM Port x 2
- IEEE 1394 x 2
- Printer Connector x 1
- S/PDIF x 1
- CD_IN x 1
BIOS
Award PnP 4Mb Flash ROM BIOS
Form Factor
ATX
Board Size
305 mm x 220 mm
Software & Utilities
- Acrobat Reader
- AOconfig utility
- EzInstall utility
- EzSkin utility
- EzWinFlash utility
- WinDMI utility
- Online eBook Manual
Accessories
- Back Panel I/O Shield x 1
- Easy Installation Guide x 1
- Enhanced Full Pictured Manual x 1
- Bonus Pack CD disc x 1
- Floppy Disk cable x 1
- 80-wire IDE cable x 1
- Serial ATA cable x 1
- Serial ATA Power cable x 1
- PS/2 Keyboard Connector x 1
- CPU Cooler x 1


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