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Board Revision: 2.0
BIOS Version: 2.1r01 (January 31, 2000)
A-Trend sent us their 6420V-01 motherboard, which makes use of the VIA Apollo Pro 133 (693A) and the standard South Bridge 596B. Coming with two ISA and five PCI slots it should provide enough options for future system upgrades. This is also one of only four motherboards featuring four DIMM sockets. That's interesting for all who want to keep using their PC100 DIMMs. A-Trend provides the option to clock the memory 33 MHz faster or slower than the FSB. So you can run a 133 MHz CPU while using 100 MHz memory or vice versa. By the way, ECC/parity is supported as well.
Some DIP switches have been placed on the board to set the multiplier as the FSB will be detected automatically. Overclockers may open JP11 to allow the FSB to be set in the BIOS - independent from the installed CPU. Everything else is just like we expect it: Wake On Modem, Wake On LAN, infrared connector, three fan headers, two USB ports, two serial ports and one parallel.
I like the board's design, since everything can be accessed even after assembly. There are no jumpers between the expansion slots, and no cables (except SB-Link) which cross add-on cards. The power switch connector can be found easily thanks to its white colour, but the other pins could be marked more accurate.
More than 50% of the manual deals with the BIOS setup, even the BIOS update procedure has been included. I think many people would like to see a better explanation on how to install the processor, RAM and maybe add-on cards as well. As with some other boards, the CPU retention brackets have not been installed by default. That's only great for motherboard reviewers or maybe for computer freaks, since the CPU can be removed in less than a second. The average user will prefer a securely mounted processor.
At first both 3D games did not want to run, but after enabling "AGP Master 1WS write" in chipset setup everything went fine: The performance is second best. Regarding the 693A boards, this model is doing very well. Just one unimportant bug made me smile: The BIOS doesn't know the Pentium III 800 yet, so the display shows Pentium III CPU at 797 MHz.