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3D Spotlight : Hardware : AOpen AK72 motherboard review


AOpen AK72 motherboard review
Posted by Julio Franco on August 21, 2000
Company: AOpen     Product: AK72 Slot A motherboard

In the last few years, AOpen has built a very good reputation in the crowded motherboard market thanks to their high quality products which always seem to deliver the features and stability required by the most exigent users. We could also say there is a balance present in all AOpen products so that OEM and end-user needs are full filled.

The AK72 was the first entry to the Athlon market from AOpen, based on the VIA KX133 chipset, this board comes with all the features you should expect from a new product. As you should know by now, the KX133 chipset supports a 133mhz memory bus independently from the Front Side Bus, that means you can take full advantage of PC133 memory without worrying of what bus speed your processor is running at.

The board features an almost jumperless design, in the BIOS you've got options for changing bus speeds and voltage settings, like we have seen in other boards, the voltage can be raised or decreased in amounts of 0.5, this is a great thing to have for overclocking stability.

Taking a quick look to the motherboard, the first thing that came to my mind was the large size of the AK72. Although the board fitted perfectly in my case since it uses a removable plate for placing the motherboard, the size of the board could be a problem in not-so-well designed cases.

Once I had it installed in my case I noticed I had to remove my hard drive in order to get to the IDE and Floppy connectors which are placed far in the top-right area of the PCB.

The AK72 features 5 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 ISA and 1 AMR slot. This configuration could bother some people that won't make any use of the AMR or ISA slot however we can clearly see AOpen's intention of keeping the high compatibility for people with legacy hardware that use ISA slots and in the case of the AMR slot, it's a good idea to include it for the OEMs who might want to include cheap modem or audio solutions, whatever it is, the hardcore PC user will probably see these slots as a total waste of space and time as AOpen could have included a 6th PCI slot.


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