As can be seen from the BIOS section of this article, the overclocking options with the PC Partner RC410MS7-A82C are quite dismal. However, using a Pentium D 820 and 2 x 512MB of DDR2-667 we had no troubles running the CPU with a 226MHz FSB, which resulted in the dual-core processor running at 3164MHz (226 x 14) with stock voltages. Of course, the overclock could have been much higher if it were not for the limited voltage abilities. LM_Sensors v2.9.2 had properly detected the integrated ITE Super I/O controller and loaded the it8712-isa-0228 module, however, when it came time to output the sensors many of the readings were incorrect.
The system components used throughout testing, as well as Linux information, is listed below.
|Processor:||Intel Pentium D 820 (2.80GHz)|
|Memory:||2 x 512MB Corsair XMS2-5400UL|
|Graphics Card:||eVGA e-GeForce 6800GT 256MB|
|Hard Drives:||Western Digital 160GB (WD1600JD)|
|Optical Drives:||Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM|
|Cooling:||CoolJag LGA-775 HSF|
|Power Supply:||SilverStone Strider ST405 400W|
|Operating System:||Fedora Core 4|
|GCC (GNU Compiler):||4.0.0|
|Graphics Driver:||NVIDIA 1.0-8178
Before we begin on the software compatibility side of things with the Xpress 200 RC410, there are a few important items that plagued us during installation. First off, when it came time to mounting the CPU heatsink we ran into a problem with the CoolJag LGA-775 heatsink designed for servers. For the heatsink to offer maximum heat dissipation, a square copper base is used that extends out to all four mounting holes. In the stacks of LGA-775 motherboards we have tested, the RC410MS7-A82C is the first motherboard to possess mounting issues with this low profile heatsink. Immediately next to one of the four mounting holes is a large capacitor that will block any wide heatsinks from being able to properly mount. This is quite a significant issue that is not easily corrected unless part of the heatsink's base is shaved off to make room for the single capacitor. For our purposes with the open-air bench setup, we were simply able to correct the issue, while not to decrease the cooling abilities, by pivoting the heatsink slightly and not using the standard LGA-775 mounting methods. Another pre-install issue we faced with the motherboard was SATA drive compatibility with the ATI SB450 Southbridge. With all of the drives we tested, the device was properly detected inside of the Phoenix BIOS as well as in Red Hat's Anaconda graphical, and text-based, installer for Fedora Core 4. However, when it came time for the actual installation in various parts of the process the installer would simply freeze or alternatively it would display fatal messages stating the media destination had failed. In attempts to correct the issue, we had swapped the primary SATA HDD four times. The various drives we had attempted to use was a Western Digital 160GB SATA2, Western Digital 160GB SATA1, Hitachi 80GB SATA, and Seagate 200GB SATA NCQ. With each of the hard drives, we attempted to install Fedora Core 4 (x86_64) multiple times and we would face the message of a media failure or the system would completely freeze at random locations in the installation. Ultimately, we found the x86_64 software to cause conflict that resulted in the media failure and freezes. When defaulting to the 32-bit version of Fedora Core 4 and upon booting the media, all of the software had installed without fault.
With the Linux installation complete, after hours of tinkering with the system, we were finally ready to test the motherboard for Linux compatibility before we proceeded with the benchmarks. After upgrading the kernel and various other packages, we ran all of our subjective tasks from the audio quality to networking support. To our surprise, everything had functioned accordingly with the 32-bit version of Fedora Core 4 and ATI Chipset. In the Red Hat Hardware Browser, the only unknown device was from ATI Technologies with a display of 5a3f. Using the latest ATI v8.20.8 Linux proprietary display drivers, the integrated Xpress 200 graphics were supported complete with 3D acceleration.
In addition to benchmarking the PC Partner motherboard with the integrated ATI graphics, we also ran the same set of benchmarks using the NVIDIA GeForce 6800GT to offer the comparative results against the Abit AW8 (i955X) and ASRock 775Dual-880Pro (VIA PT880 Pro) using the same system components. The i955X is presently Intel's flagship performance Chipset, although it will be quickly replaced by the i975X, and offers the latest in DDR2 and Pentium D support. VIA's PT880 Pro also supports Pentium D processors as well as PCI Express and AGP support. Making an appearance on the motherboards today is Enemy Territory, Quake 4, SPECViewPerf, HDparm, diskWriggler, Gzip Compression, LAME Compilation, LAME Encoding, BlueSailSoftware Opstone benchmarks, and FreeBench. We had attempted to use the integrated graphics with Quake 4 and SPECViewPerf, however, under Linux the OpenGL software was inoperable. In addition, due to Chipset limitations, stability issues, and inconsistencies in a portion of our traditional Linux benchmarks, many of our usual tests were left out of the equation this review. As usual, our standard benchmarking practices were applied. In addition to benchmarking the RC410MS7-A82C with its integrated graphics and GeForce 6800GT, we also ran the motherboard at its overclocked CPU value of 3164MHz (226 x 14) using stock voltages with the 6800GT installed.