4 AMD Socket 754 MicroATX Motherboards: Getting the Job Done on the Cheap

AOpen S760GXm-S

Board-Revision : ?

BIOS-Version : 1.0

AOpen is the only vendor that has added a fan to the Northbridge chipset on its motherboard. The only question is why, since SiS doesn’t require one. It’s also undeniable that a typical buyer of such a budget motherboard is unlikely to have much of a penchant for overclocking either, which is the only time when such a fan is needed. The fan’s reason for being is a bit mysterious, but there it is.

The two DIMM sockets appear on the upper edge of the motherboard. They’re placed deliberately in this position to prevent them from blocking airflow on the back side of the motherboard. Otherwise, the MicroATX layout doesn’t leave much room for design innovations. As a consequence, the floppy connector is on the lower edge, and the ATA connectors can block the insertion of full-length PCI adapters.

AOpen appears to have emphasized making the fullest use possible of the chipset’s capabilities. You’ll find a piezoelectric speaker on the motherboard that can provide playback in lieu of the more typical external speakers used on most systems. You’ll also find three fan connections rather than the more typical two. In fact, if you unscrew the Northbridge fan assembly, a fourth fan connection becomes visible. To this mix, only AOpen and ECS make a fully functional network chip available as well. Access to motherboard functions and software to match are likewise topflight. This includes a complete set of overclocking options, along with temperature sensitive or manual fan controls.

The SiS964 offers two SATA ports and two UltraATA/133 channels. This is plenty for typical system upgrades.

For good technical reasons, it’s OK to remove the Northbridge fan.

The motherboard comes in a simple, no-frills package.

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