First thing upon opening
its box you will notice that the 865PE MAX2 spots a bright RED PCB in addition
of colored slots; PCI slots are blue, AGP is purple, the memory banks are
green, and the CPU fan mechanism is brown, quite an interesting way to difference
their different use. I would definitely want to see this on more boards on
todayís market. While not an important but definitely cool feature is the
FAN used on the Northbridge, there are 3 implanted LEDís inside (blue, green,
red) providing a pretty neat effect in the case at dark.
FIC always opted on their past boards, the expansion of the 865MAX can be
considered maximal for an 865 solution. It features an AGP 8X slot and five
PCI slots. Four DDR400 memory banks are available for memory expansion of
up to 4GB in total providing a data transfer of up to 6.4GB/s. Note that Registered
DIMMs are not supported.
The onboard Realtek
ALC650 chip featuring a 5.1 Channel Codec provides quite a nice audio experience
that should satisfy most of todayís high demanding gaming needs. To take advantage
of the 5.1 channel option, FIC provided an external audio bracket that includes
the CENTER/BASS and REAR audio channels in addition to a coaxial and optical
Other board features include an integrated 10/100Base-T NIC controlled by
the Realtek RTL-8100 chip along with a with an Agere FW-323 chip supporting
the two included FireWire headers.
The IDE connectors for
the hard drives and the FDD connector for the floppy are comfortably located
at the left side of the DIMM slots along with the ATX power supply plug resulting
in cleaner PCB design.
Another positive point
I would like to add on the PCB layout is that there is no interference problems
with the DIMM slots when a bigger AGP card is inserted in the AGP slot; a
common problem that has been noticed on allot of todayís boards on the market,
even on the FICís previous 845 solutions that we reviewed.