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AOpen AK79D-100VN - my two penneth worth

Glenn James
Posts: n/a
      09-06-2004, 06:20 PM
I thought I would put together a small review and post it to the group as I
really struggled to find anything myself before I bought one.

First off - what's in the box?

The board
ATA100 cable (black in colour)
Floppy cable (black in colour)
Quick install poster
Driver CD (also contains user manual)
I/O sheild/faceplate for rear of PC

Nforce2 Ultra 400 chipset (dual data channel)
Onboard sound (Realtek AC 650E AC'97 chip)
Onboard LAN (Nvidia chipset)
6 USB ports (4 rear-mounted, 2 onboard jumpers for front panel

I installed the board with only a couple of hitches. A small capacitor near
the CPU socket was in the way of my Coolermaster CP5-8JD1F-0L CPU cooler.
This was simply solved by pushing the capacitor out of the way slightly.
Also, the I/O shield had several on the spring contacts obscuring important
ports (PS2, USB and LAN). I could have removed the motherboard and reseated
it but chose to simply lever them out of the way. It is worth taking your
time and not rushing the job like I did!

When I powered up the board a RED LED indicated that the board is receiving
juice - handy. I pressed the power button and to my joy the thing booted.
Going into the BIOS, the CPU was detected correctly first time, as was the
one stick 512MB of Crucial PC3200 RAM. The RAM defaulted to run at its full
speed (400MHz DDR) and I haven't had a single memory issue since. The board
support dual channel memory access, so I chucked in another stick of 512MB
PC3200 and the dual access kicked in (indicated during boot up).

In the BIOS there are some interesting features. A Jukebox feature allows
you to play an audio CD without starting up Windows. I am guessing that you
will need to use the onboard audio for this to work properly. I haven't used
the onbaord audio - I decided to stick with my trusty SBLive! as it appeared
to perform better than the onboard audio when carrying out further tests.

There is also a feature called EZ Store which acts similar to the System
Restore in Windows. I haven't used this, so I cannot comment on it.

The board has a huge amount of settings for fan speeds. As well as the CPU
fan, the board supports 2 system fans and a PSU fan (plus temp of PSU). The
fans speed can be initially set though the BIOS or can be set to change
dynamically with system load. I am currently waiting for some new fans so
that I can play with this feature. Dropping the fan speed can greatly reduce
background noise without necessarily lowering the internal temperatures by
massive amounts.

So far the board has been rock solid with not a single problem. Haven't
tried oc'ing it yet and probably wont - I am more than happy with the
performance up to now. I instantly increased my 3dmark2001 score by well
over 500 points without tweaking any settings.

Overall, a brilliant board. Probably the best 43 I have spent in a while.


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