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AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review

AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The motherboard is a pretty well rounded platform, it even supports HDTV component output (Y, Pb, Pr) by default!
 76% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AOpen Dec 03 2005   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > AOpen i945Ga-PHS

PCI Express Videocard Jumpers

There are a few issues with the Aopen i945Ga-PHS motherboard that we shouldn't forget to focus on. The most critical of which is getting a PCI Express x16 videocard working when it is installed onto the board. Because of the onboard graphics, it is not as straightforward as just physically installing the card; the user must also move some jumpers around.

The requirements are described in the user's manual in the following manner: "For i945Ga-PHS, the PCI Express x16 Graphics slot can automatically recognize a PCI Express x16 Graphics or a Multiplex Intel DVO Output depending on which cards being inserted." In reality, it doesn't quite work that way.

There are four sets of jumpers that must be adjusted before the PCI Express x16 videocard can function. Unfortunately, in the board we received at the PCSTATS labs for testing, the appropriate instructions are not mentioned in the manual or quick installation guide.

If the jumpers are not set properly, the standalone PCI-E x16 videocard will not function. PCSTATS contacted AOpen representatives about this and heard back that this information should have been in the manual. We expect the company to address this oversight and indicate which jumper need to be adjusted in the manual in the near future.

HDTV output and Overclocking

The Intel i945G chipset does not support TV or component output as we've already mentioned a couple times. AOpen has added this feature by incorporating the PCI Express x1 Chrontel CH7021-TEF chipset onto the board. AOpen includes the necessary break-out cable to connect the computer to a television.

Setting up the component output to work is quick and painless, mainly because those features are integrated directly into the Intel videocard driver utility. To get the ball rolling the user needs to hook up the Y, Pb, Pr cables beforehand, launch the utility next, and wait for it to automatically detect the HD television.

Setting up the S-Video and composite output was a bit more tricky... The Chrontel chipset had difficulties detecting Composite outputs and after half an hour of frustration, we could only get the display to work with the composite output to a Samsung 193MP multifunction LCD display once.

The Intel utility is otherwise easy to use, and pretty self-explanitory, and in the above image you can see all the different HDTV modes the Chrontel chipset supports.

To test the HD accelerating capabilities of Chrontel chipset, the Discoverers (IMAX) HD video was played back through Windows Media Player 10. System resources were monitored via Task Manager. The HD video available in both 720P and 1080P formats from Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase website.

While running the 720P version of the Discoverers HD video, CPU usage was split relatively evenly between both cores of the Intel Pentium D 840 processor. Usage jumped between 25% and 35%, and there was no noticeable lag in the playback of the short movie.

On the other hand, when running the Discoverers 1080P HD video some rather more interesting results were generated. For starters, CPU usage was substantially higher on the first core, but overall load still kept to about the same 25%-to-35% figures. Based on that information, it appears as though the Chrontel HD content acceleration might be better than nVIDIA's PureVideo HD implementation.

The Component output video quality was excellent, and picture quality on was almost as fine on the television as on a computer monitor. Video playback quality was also excellent, and the details are definitely better than what one would see with a DVD movie. The Chrontel chipset must support high definition content acceleration, as CPU usage numbers were better than the competition!

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Contents of Article: AOpen i945Ga-PHS
 Pg 1.  AOpen i945Ga-PHS Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — PCI Express Videocard Jumpers
 Pg 3.  Overclocking Test Report and BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbech 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Conclusions

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