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Tyan Tempest i5400XT

Michael Larabel

Published on 10 March 2008
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 3 of 8 - 6 Comments

The expansion slots on this workstation motherboard include two PCI Express x16, one PCI Express x8, two PCI-X, and one PCI slot. The two PCI Express x16 slots are connected to the 5400 Chipset, which allows both of these PCI-E slots to have full x16 bandwidth. This is a big boost from the 5000X Chipset, which had two PCI Express x16 slots with one being limited to PCI-E x4. The PCI Express x8 slot on this motherboard also has an x8 signal (provided by the 6321ESB), compared to the x4 limitation on the S2696. Another new addition is that the Intel 5400 Chipset supports PCI Express 2.0. While this motherboard has two PCI-E x16 slots, the chipset is not certified by NVIDIA or AMD for use with SLI or CrossFire.

Immediately above the first PCI Express x16 slot is the Intel 5400 Chipset. This northbridge is cooled by a large aluminum heatsink. Our only complaint about the layout of components on this motherboard comes down to the size/orientation of this single heatsink. The heatsink is incredibly close to the first PCI Express x16 slot and makes it impossible to reach the PCI-E latch at the end of the slot. When using a graphics card with a dual-slot cooler, this safety latch cannot be reached from the other side either. In order to remove the graphics card once installed we had to use a small flat-head screwdriver and cautiously insert it between the Intel 5400 heatsink and graphics card in order to reach the latch. This is our only complaint about this motherboard's design.

Beyond the northbridge are the eight FB-DIMM DDR2 memory slots. This motherboard requires Fully Buffered DIMMs and the chipset supports up to DDR2-800MHz FB-DIMMs with ECC support. While the Intel 5400 Chipset can support up to 128GB of memory, the i5400XT distributes these eight memory slots into four independent memory channels, which puts the maximum capacity at 64GB. Along the top edge of the motherboard are the 24-pin, 4-pin, and 4-pin molex power connectors. These three power connectors along with the 8-pin connector at the front of the motherboard all need to be connected in order to satisfy this power-hungry workstation motherboard.

The ports at the rear of the motherboard include SPDIF In and Out, one parallel, one serial, four USB 2.0, two Gigabit LAN, one IEEE-1394a Firewire, audio line-in, audio line-out, and microphone-in connectors. Some of the unmentioned ASICs on the Tyan Tempest i5400XT include a Winbond W83627EHG Super I/O, Texas Instruments TSB43AB22 Firewire, Realtek ALC888 audio, LSI 1068E (on the SAS version), and Infineon SLB9635TT 1.2 for TPM (Trusted Platform Management). The i5400XT is an SSI / Extended ATX motherboard, which makes it 12" x 13" in size.

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