Basic Features

This board is designed around Intel's flagship i975X chipset with one purpose in mind, the ability to let your Core Duo or Solo processor reach its maximum potential while still maintaining the low noise and power consumption benefits of this impressive processor series. It is the only true ATX size board on the market at this time featuring a non-mobile chipset for the Intel Core Duo/Solo series processors.

If our test results are a true indication of the performance potential of the upcoming Conroe and Merom processors, then we foresee a sizable interest within the AMD community for taking another look at Intel based products in the near future. The Conroe/Merom processors should realize a performance improvement of around 15% above the current AMD lineup. An excellent overview of the Core architecture and comparison to the current AMD offerings is located here - Intel Core versus AMD K8 by Johan De Gelas.

If nothing else, the overall platform performance of the Intel Core Duo and AOpen i975Xa-YDG should convince anyone seriously considering building an ultra quiet performance oriented game or HTPC system to think at length about purchasing this combination.

AOpen i975Xa-YDG
Component Description
CPU Interface Socket 479 - Intel Core Duo or Core Solo
Chipset Intel 975X - Northbridge
Intel ICH7 - Southbridge
Front Side Bus 667 / 533 MHz
CPU Clock 166MHz ~ 199MHz in 1MHz increments
Jumper change allows 200MHz ~ 320MHz in 1MHz increments
Memory Speeds Auto, 533MHz, 667MHz, standard multipliers apply to overclocks
PCI Bus Speeds Locked
PCI Express Bus Speeds Auto, 100MHz ~ 160MHz in 1Mhz increments
Set Processor Multiplier Locked to CPU
Core Voltage Auto, .7375V to 1.5000V in 0.0125V increments
DRAM Voltage Auto, 1.80V to 2.15V in .05V increments
Northbridge Voltage Auto, 1.525V, 1.575V, 1.625V, 1.675V
PCI-E Voltage Auto, 1.500V ~ 1.700V in various increments
Memory Slots (4) x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR2 667/533, non-ECC or ECC support
Expansion Slots (2) x PCI-E x16
(operates in 2x8 mode in dual graphics or CrossFire mode)
(2) x PCI-E x1
(2) x PCI 2.3
Onboard SATA Intel ICH7 - Southbridge
(4) x SATA 3Gb/s
JMicron- JMB360
(1) x External SATA 3Gb/s
Onboard IDE Intel ICH7 - Southbridge
(1) x 100/66/33
ITE IT8212 IDE
(1) x 133/100/66/33
IDE RAID ITE IT8212 IDE
(2) x 133/100/66/33
RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1
Onboard USB2.0 (8) USB2.0 ports
Onboard IEEE-1394 Agere 1394A - FW3226-100
Onboard LAN Marvell 88E8053 PCI-Express x1
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC-880, 8-channel capable High Definition Audio
Power Connectors 24-pin ATX
4-pin 12V
4-pin ATX 12V
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x IEEE-1394
1 x External SATA 3Gb/s
1 x Optical S/PDIF - In
1 x Optical S/PDIF -Out
1 x Audio I/O Panel
1 x RJ45
4 x USB
Other Features (C.O.O.) - Code of Overclocking System
AOConfig - Windows based System Information Utility
EZ Skin - Windows based Jukebox Player
C.O.O. Paradise Utility - Windows based utility for Remote Control, real time information
Remote Control - I.R. based remoter control unit for basic media player, on/off, and FSB overclocking control
EZWin Flash - Windows Based Bios Update Program
BIOS 1.03b


The AOpen i975Xa-YDG is a member of AOpen's Mobile on Desktop Technology Series product family and as such is a board targeted towards both the HTPC and enthusiast user. The board ships with an accessory package that includes the standard assortment of IDE/SATA cables, power connectors, CPU heatsink/fan, and a unique Remote Control unit. AOpen also includes a driver CD along with several desktop utilities for Windows based monitoring and tuning of your system.





AOpen ships the motherboard and related components in an eye catching box that certainly plays on the Star Wars theme. We will find out shortly if this board is truly worthy of Darth Maul status or if we have another Jar Jar Binks wannabe in the labs.

Index Board Layout
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  • SexyK - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    There are many, many differences between the Yonah and Conroe designs that should lead to a significantly higher IPC for Conroe. Macro-ops fusion, memory disambiguation, 4-issue core, etc, etc... Here's a good overview of some of the changes as compared to the X2s and older Intel chips: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?... Reply
  • SexyK - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    I think these tests are the nail in the coffin for those out there still saying the Conroe benchmarks were 'fixed' by Intel. Clock for clock, Yonah is already beating X2 on a regular basis, sometimes by large margins. Based on those results, plus all the m-arch improvements made in Conroe/Woodcrest/Merom, I'd say there's little doubt that we're in store for a 20-40% performance lead from Intel in the near future, depending on the final outcome of the AM2 lauch... Reply
  • LEKO - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    I'm really impressed by the Core Duo performance... But this CPU lacks 64bit support. I know that if you upgrade on a yearly basis, it'S not an issue. But when you want something that will be capable for years, I think that the 64bit capable Athlon X2 and Dual-Core Opteron becomes better alternatives.

    I think that AMD will get a kick in the butt when Intel will launch their Next-Gen 64bit Desktop CPU! I hope AMD have very good hidden cards.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    I'm really impressed by the Core Duo performance... But this CPU lacks 64bit support.


    This issue will be addressed with Conroe/Merom. However, given the almost dearth amount of 64-bit applications on the desktop in the WinTel world at this time we still feel like it is a safe purchase for the next couple of years, or wait for Intel's new products this summer. Of course, AMD's products are still top notch with the X2 series offering a truly long term solution (at least in CPU years) if you are buying today.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    In our limited testing with the Asus N4L-VM featuring the 945GM mobile chipset our stock Intel Core Duo numbers were slightly better than the AMD platform in the Cinebench 9.5 benchmark and only about 6% greater in the POV-RAY benchmark indicating AOpen's choice of the i975x chipset certainly makes a difference in the performance ability of the Core Duo.


    I don't know. You are comparing DDR2-667 at 3-3-3-8 timings with 975X compared to DDR2-533 on 4-4-4-12 on this Core Duo review using 945GM: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...

    Not only being at DDR2-667 being synchronous with FSB give advantage, the lower latency will make enough difference in both. There are other possibility like updated BIOS and mature motherboards.

    This is the best comparison benchmark I have seen for Core Duo vs. other CPUs(whether Opteron, X2 or Pentium D's), but 975X beating 945GM because its a newer chipset makes no sense.


    There is also a possibility that 945GM chipset used in laptops is performance wise lowered compared to the 945GT(which is 945G just Core Duo support), to save power, and if Asus N4L-VM is using 945GM, it MIGHT be the reason it performs lower.


    Reply
  • Viditor - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    This issue will be addressed with Conroe/Merom

    Agreed...though I should say that while Merom is inspired by Yonah, they really are quite different. Will this mobo also work for Merom?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Agreed...though I should say that while Merom is inspired by Yonah, they really are quite different. Will this mobo also work for Merom?


    Agreed, was not trying to address the core architecture differences, just stating 64-bit support is on the way for Yonah's successors. :) We hear rumors the board can work with Merom, no official statements from AOpen or Intel yet. We will update the article once we have a statement or if Crestline will be the official requirement for Merom. At one time Merom was going to drop into the 945GM but who knows about i975X support as the directions seem to change every Tuesday. We are still waiting on our i965 samples to ship in order to showcase "eornoc". ;-)
    Reply
  • Viditor - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    Thanks Gary! I will be very interested in the update once you get confirmation. I'm still a bit murky on the platforms for Merom...

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • stmok - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    From what I hear (Engineers in AOpen R&D as well as enthusiasts who have gotten samples), they have tested this mobo with Merom. You need a BIOS update. Otherwise, it will NOT boot to the operating system!

    I'm still wondering if it supports Virtualization Technology. This is what I'm really interested in. :)
    Reply
  • Questar - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    You plan on running apps that require greater than 4GB of ram in the next couple years?

    Didn't think so.
    Reply

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