Pros: Compatible with most Socket 478 processors, integrated graphics, up to 800Mhz FSB
Cons: Some versions do not support 1Mb cache processors or have a NIC
The Intel D865GLC is a solid micro ATX motherboard that has performed flawlessly for me since 2004 under 100 percent CPU load performing the following tasks: processing SETI at Home workunits, rendering POV-Ray animations and displaying the Aquarium screensaver at 1280x1024 resolution. The motherboard can be considered the pinnacle of Socket 478 technology because you are given dual channel RAM, SATA ports and integrated support for a broad selection of Intel processors.
My use for the Intel D865GLC is not typical but I have found that it works fine for my digital lifestyle. The small motherboard was placed inside a beautifully stained, wooden, vented case that looks like a table to the casual visitor to my home. I placed a 19” LCD monitor on top of the table and use it to display pictures or high resolution screensavers with the computer. The system has a dual purpose which is communicating with the SETI at home project and processing workunits using the wireless network in my home.
The modern motherboard contains a collection of small microchips that aid the central processing unit. You can view the structure of these chips as a bandwidth pyramid. The highest components in the pyramid are going to have the fastest access to the central processing unit. The highest level is the processor which has its own internal memory cache. If the memory cache gets too low, the processor will then call upon the next level of the pyramid controlled by the Northbridge which is the random access memory. The reason for this is that most memory operates at lower speeds than the processor and can explain why some applications run slower. You will also find that some modern chipsets give the graphics card the same level of access which partially the reason for their higher performance. The third and final level of the motherboard chipset pyramid is your file system which is also called the Southbridge. Hard drives, network cards, DVD drives and USB drives are an example of this level of access.
The strength of any motherboard is the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets that it employs.
The Intel 865GLC has the Intel® 82865G Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) with Accelerated Hub Architecture (AHA) bus providing us with the northbridge support.
The southbridge is an Intel® 82801EB I/O Controller Hub (ICH5) with support for up to six
Hi-Speed Universal Serial Bus 2.0 (USB 2.0) ports
Rounding out the high performance line up is an Intel 865G chipset (AC ’97) with Flexible 6-Channel Audio with Jack Sensing.
Layout And Design
The Intel D865GLC is a micro ATX form factor motherboard. The microATX board measures in at 9.6 inches by 9.6 inches and has three PCI ports for expansion capabilities. A single AGP connector gives you the capability to expand the video capabilities of this motherboard if you so choose. The four DDR RAM slots and Northbridge heatsink are smartly placed away from the AGP port so that you have full freedom to place a long video card in the slot without worry of interfering with internal components.
Integrated Video And Video Card Compatibility
The motherboard has an integrated video chip called the 865G chipset. The long name for this device is Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2. You should not be misled by the name Extreme because this technology is sadly underpowered and has a hard time offering any 3D video solution to your daily computing tasks. Expect a peak resolution of 1600x1200 at 32 bit color depth with the maximal RAM allocation in the BIOS.
You do have the ability to increase the graphics speed of this motherboard by adding an AGP video card. Here are the ground rules for adding a new video card to the motherboard:
0.8V and 1.5V only AGP connector
Only one AGP port
AGP 3.0 including 1x/4x/8x AGP data transfers
Supports AGP 1x/4x/8x Fast Writes
The AGP port on the Intel 865GLC motherboard is not pin compatible with 3.3V AGP video cards.
Operating System Support
I tested two operating systems with this motherboard, Windows XP and Menuet OS, with no problems to report. Officially, Intel states that the Intel 865GLC can support the following operating systems: Windows 2000, Windows 98 or Windows ME.
The BIOS on the Intel D865GLC is rather basic. You will get features like hard drive setup, SATA integration, power management, a health monitor that shows temperatures and voltages, password management and customizable peripheral settings. The simplicity and Intel software design ensure that you will only visit these features if absolutely necessary. BIOS updates are only accomplished through a standard floppy drive on this product.
To give you an idea of the performance of this processor, I used three different benchmarks: Super Pi, the BOINC Manager and MCS Benchmark 2008. Each of these benchmarks stresses unique aspects of the processor and are heavily dependent on the supporting hardware around the processor like the memory speed, hard drive and motherboard chipset. The Pentium 4 3200 Mhz hyper threading processor was installed in an Intel D865GLC motherboard with 1,024 Mbs of memory operating in dual channel mode.
Super Pi V1.1 is an application that extrapolates the specified digits of PI into a text file. Since the task is both processor and file system intensive it can give you an idea of how fast your cpu is. Processors with large on-die cache sizes and high bus speeds tend to do better in this benchmark. The problem is the calculation is single threaded in this version so you only see the performance of one processor.
Here are the results of three runs at 1,000,000 digits of PI:
#1; 1 mins 17 seconds
#2; 1 mins 19 seconds
#3; 1 mins 17 seconds
The Boinc Manager benchmark is designed to stress every available thread on your computer to see how many computations per second it can perform. With the results, the Boinc Manager automatically assigns distributed computing projects to your processors. The benchmark has been improved by scholars at academic institutions over the period of several years and is now a very reliable metric of modern computing performance.
Here the results of three runs:
#1; 1496 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 3363 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
#2; 1498 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 3369 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
#3; 1497 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 3365 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
MCS Benchmark 2008
The MCS CPU Benchmark 2008 will test the entire system to give you an overall score based on CPU and file system performance.
Here are the results of three runs:
The benchmark results are little humbling when compared to Socket 775 processors but you must remember this little processor is held back by its slow front side bus and relatively low cache size. Well, to be honest the processor just has to little cache! A Socket 478 Celeron 1.8Ghz processor can turn out a best of 2 minutes 20 seconds in SuperPi 1,000,000 and a rather dismal 943 Whetstone, 1252 Dhrystone on the BOINC manager benchmark.
However if you look at a baseline Socket 775, Celeron 356 processor SuperPi to 1,000,000 digits can completed in 42 seconds. I really enjoy comparing the Pentium 4 3200Mhz to the Celeron 356 3333Mhz processor because they both have the same cache size and similar clock speed. Yet if you look closely at the specifications on both these processors you will see that the Pentium 4 is sporting a 800Mhz front side bus! The only conclusion I can quickly come to is that the Northbridge on the Socket 775 platform is more efficient. You should keep this in mind when purchasing a new computer. Chipsets make a big difference in processor performance and must be examined thoroughly before making a costly mistake like buying older technology because it is cheaper. If you really want performance at a low cost, buy a state of the art motherboard and stick an older processor in it!
Recommended Hardware And CPU Configuration
In the year 2009, your options for building a computer around this computer chip are limited if you wish to get a full warranty. With that disclosed, you should jump onto Ebay and purchase an Intel D865GLC micro ATX motherboard and two sticks of 400Mhz DDR Dual Channel RAM. The Intel D865GLC also supports SATA natively so you can pick up a SSD (Solid State Disk) to both increase speed and reduce power consumption in your new computer. The Intel D865GLC has the benefit of Intel product support and stability. You should not underestimate the importance of dual channel memory in this product either.
I have tested two Socket 478 processors in this motherboard. You can click on each of the processors listed below to see a complete discussion of how they performed:
Intel Pentium® 4, 2.4 GHz (BX80532PG2400D) Retail Processor
Intel Pentium® 4, 3.2 GHz (BX80532PG3200D) Retail Processor
Overclocking The Intel D865GLC
Sadly, Intel locked down this motherboard in the BIOS so you will not be able to overclock it. A burn in mode for the video processor does exist and activating this feature will give you a 5% speed increase overall from the integrated video chipset.
If you ever need help with this product, visit the Intel product website to find the latest drivers, memory and cpu support lists. Anytime you purchase an Intel product the full support of the world’s largest chipmaker comes with it. The Intel website is the most documented hardware website that I have ever seen. http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/D865GLC/
Overall I am still happy with my Intel D865GLC motherboard. After so many years of continuous use, I expected the on-board capacitors to have gone out but they are still working. My version of this motherboard did have an on-board NIC installed but I opted install a Linksys WMP54GV4 PCI network card so that I did not have to bother running Ethernet cabling into the hallway of my house. The motherboard does not run hot with average temperatures of the Northbridge barely reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
You can find this motherboard on Ebay at bargain prices now. If you have a spare Socket 478 processor and a couple of sticks of DDR laying around, there is no real reason not to put them to good use in a multimedia, theatre computer today!