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3D Spotlight : Hardware : FIC KA11 motherboard review


FIC KA11 motherboard review
Posted by Adam Klein on May 5, 2000
Company: FIC     Product: KA-11 motherboard

Only a few months ago, the best choice for a Pentium III motherboard was a BX motherboard. Now that Intel has CPUs supporting the 133MHz bus option, there is one problem. What motherboard do you want for those CPUs?  You can always use the BX and overclock it, but for most of you, that won't be an option.

Today there are two choices for 133MHz bus Pentium III owners, motherboard that use the VIA 133 chipset and motherboards that use the i820 chipset.  The later of the two, the i820, only performs at its peak when expensive RDRAM is used and until the price of RDRAM goes down, the VIA 133 motherboards make a great choice for people who want true 133MHz front side bus speed.

One such board is the KA-11, made by none other than FIC. The KA-11 includes VIA’s updated 133 chipset known as the VIA 133A. This small update now includes AGP 4X support.  The older 133 only had AGP 2X, but still included the all the important aspects that make the 133MHz bus great.  The most important feature to this is the AGP 1/2 option, which keeps your AGP video card within specifications while running at the 133MHz front side bus.  That option is not included in the now aging BX chipsets.

Installation and Impressions

The installation of the motherboard went all right from the hardware aspect. The board supports UDMA 66, so I didn't have to worry about using the ATA66 controller card I have.

As like most VIA 133 motherboards, this one included onboard audio via the Creative CT5880 chip, or better known as the Sound Blaster 128. While this onboard audio chip is good, it isn't as great as the Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500 I have.  So, I did what some of you would have started off doing, looking for a jumper or BIOS setting to disable the onboard audio. I looked and looked, but came up empty.

It turns out that on my particular revision of the board, PCB version 2.2; there is no option to turn it off.  The only way for me to get around this and to use the SQ2500 was to have windows disable it.  I was looking on their web site for information on this matter and found that PCB version 2.3 does address this issue by allowing you to disable the onboard audio.  The only trouble with that is you don't know what PCB revision you may buy, unless you take a look at the board yourself.


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