The Intel Desktop Board DP35DP Media Series in the ATX form factor delivers improved performance and capabilities for multimedia creation and enjoyment. With support for Intel quad-core processors and Intel Viiv processor technology, this desktop board merges the energy-efficient power of the Intel Core2 Duo/Quad processor with enhanced expandability, and consumer electronics integration.
The Intel Desktop Board DP35DP is Microsoft Windows Vista* Premium Ready.
For full details and specifications, please visit the Intel product page.
With the new wave of 45nm chips flowing freely now, a board like this is still a handy entry-level board, even though it is about a year old. With a few eccentricities to be aware of, it's not a board for the home enthusiast, and may not suit everyone's needs, so be aware of a few key issues:
• There is no floppy controller on the board! If you want a floppy drive, you'll have to hunt down a USB version. This can be a MAJOR hassle when trying to install 3rd party RAID drivers during Windows installation.
• It is very picky about RAM. Timing should be 5-5-5 and it MUST be true 1.8v DDR2 DIMMS, or else you're inviting yourself into a world of hassle.
• There are no PS2 keyboard/mouse ports! Hunt around at a quality retailer and get yourself a PS2-to-USB adaptor. They are seriously cheap at under $20 and will allow you to connect both kb and mouse to a single USB port. (Not that you'll run out too fast really.)
• If you run Linux, download proper Ethernet Drivers. There are issues that cause trouble if you try to use generic drivers.
• Only 1 IDE controller now! However, with a half-dozen SATA/eSATA ports to play with, you should be OK, and you can still run 2 optical drives, or 1 IDE drive and a CD/DVD drive quite happily. Time you dumped all those old IDE's anyway...
• No case-speaker attachment. Not really a bad thing, as there is a transducer on the board to serve as a basic sound-maker for POST alert and system beeps... meaning you have one less fiddly wire to cope with.
On the plus side, the board comes with some serious, goodies... onboard soundcard with some serious grunt, and an optical out-port... great for the home-theatre crowd with the fancy amps etc... plenty of USB and SATA ports means plenty of compatible extras on the market (since there are now SATA DVD-RW units coming out at bargain prices)... and of course the big feature, it's big socket for an ultra-zippy 45nm CPU.
A little trick I discovered while browsing that will help to soften the blow for RAID-desirers: This board will do floppy drive emulation through the USB port, which means you can download the driver from the Intel site, put it on a USB flashdrive and just press F6 during the WinXP install, as you would normally do with a floppy. It should work wonders.
I had some trouble working with an older PCI videocard, and of course there was simply no place for my AGP card which I dearly loved playing with... so I had to opt for a low-end PCIe videocard just so I could see. This was quite a turn-off for me, but at least I guess I have taken another part-step up the upgrade ladder at least... but be ware that legacy hardware may have run it's day if you want a board like this.
Another thing to note for newbies or the less-than-cognoscenti... there is no instruction manual, and the paperwork supplied is basic to say the least. Unless you have plenty of experience, or a mentor peering over your shoulder, you may want to leave the building to a pro. However, I did *love* the sticker-sheet that came with it, showing you the key layout, including important sockets, connectors and jumper racks. This is a stroke of genius, and I ask forgiveness if it's Intel's SOP... I am a recent convert from AMD, so... it's all new to me on that front.
A couple of little installation issue we encountered:
• Mounting a DVD Burner in the 3rd 5.25" bay: Don't. Or if you must, then make sure you take great care selecting the make and model of drive. We tried to install a recent-model ASUS drive, and nearly smashed a capacitor off the board because of the length of the drive. A moment of inattention and this board would have been nothing more than modern art sculpture. Not good.
• Mounting 3.5" SATA and IDE drives: Take great care with cables if you plan to use both types of drive. The IDE cable that comes with the board isn't very long, and you may need to source a longer cable to avoid trapping drives in their bays.
• Set initial drive setting to IDE on Windows Install. This is a major thing it seems, and will save you a LOT of hassle. Yes, even if you are using SATA, set it to IDE at first, so you can get on with installation. Not 100% sure WHY this works, but it does.
• Many of the utilities don't work under Vista. The little tools that allow you to monitor your CPU and system temps don't seem to want to work under 64bit versions of Vista. Look for updated software online I guess... we didn't bother, as the cooling fan we have runs constantly, kinda making SmartFan a bit pointless really.
Overall, this board was primarily aimed at the Windows MediaCentre market, hence the lack of PS2 ports, the huge surplus of USB and SATA ports, the high-end sound capabilities, and the hassles with PCI videocards. If this is the system you are wanting, then this board will do an excellent job. For the home-user and gamer, this might not be your best option, with its limited tweak'ability and distinct lack of decent overclock options. Though the BIOS is uncomplicated and totally non-threatening to explore, it's lack of features make the limitations clear, and it's not AWARD brand so may be strange to wander for newbies. Take this board if you want something really stable and pretty much ready-to-run, but invest in a better board if you really want to push some boundaries.
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