Articles: CPU

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To the left of the processor sockets there are power elements forming the CPU voltage regulators. Although Opteron processors are not as power hungry as Intel Xeon, Tyan K8WE (S2895) is equipped with a pair of four-channel voltage regulators: one per CPU.

The overall layout of the right-hand side of the mainboard PCB is optimized for use in rack-mount cases: the CPUs and memory are placed along the same horizontal lines. However, this is when we have to draw your attention to one noticeable design flaw of the Tyan K8WE (S2895) mainboard: the ATX power connectors that are located between the CPU sockets. When you plug in the power cable, they will be lying right in the middle of the cooling air stream, thus hindering its natural flow. However, if this mainboard is installed into tower cases, the air will be flowing differently, and this location of the ATX power supply connectors will be just fine.

The core logic chips (MCP) – nForce Professional 2200 and nForce Professional 2050 - are placed in the middle of the mainboard PCB. Each CPU is connected with one of the chips via the HyperTransport bus working at 1GHz frequency. The first chip, nForce Professional 2200, is responsible for the first PCI Express x16 slot and some peripheral controllers. Actually, most mainboard features dealing with peripheral devices are implemented via this MCP.

Firstly, this chip offers the implementation of the IDE RAID controller supporting four Serial ATA-300 ports and RAID arrays of type 0, 1 and 0+1. Secondly, it provides the support for 8 USB 2.0 ports that are laid out on this mainboard. Thirdly, nForce Professional 2200 ensures the work of the first Gigabit Ethernet port supporting ActiveArmor hardware network security system. Fourthly, the same MCP provides the support of the regular 32-bit PCI bus that is required for the only existing PCI slot and additional IEEE1394 controller. And fifthly, the same nForce Professional 2200 delivers the integrated 6-channel AC97 sound.

Another chip installed onto Tyan K8WE (S2895) mainboard, nForce Professional 2050, bears much smaller load of responsibilities. It provides only the second PCI Express x16 slot and ensures proper functioning of the second Gigabit Ethernet port, which is absolutely identical to the first one. The funny thing is, though, that the functionality of the two MCP chips correlates very nicely with the size of the heatsinks installed on them :)

So, thanks to the two MCP chips, Tyan K8WE (S2895) mainboard features two fully fledged PCI Express x16 slots. And it means that the mainboard supports the fastest possible SLI configuration. In other words, this mainboard will be an excellent choice for a high-performance graphics workstation.

Besides one PCI slot and two PCI Express x16 slots, Tyan K8WE (S2895) mainboard also features PCI-X slots that are a typical feature of any high-performance server or workstation. These slots are implemented with the help of another chip, the so-called PCI-X tunnel. In our case it is AMD 8131 chip. Just like the MCP chips, it is connected directly to one of the CPUs via the HyperTransport bus working at 600MHz. due to the PCI-X tunnel, our mainboard has three 64-bit PCI-X slots (two working at 100MHz and one working at 133MHz). Also, there can be an optional integrated SCSI controller connected to AMD 8131 chip via the PCI-X bus. Our mainboard modification didn’t have a controller like that, so we won’t go into details about it today.

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