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Board Reivision: A11
BIOS Version: 1.01
We already took a look at this Siemens motherboard in our first Solano review. It will probably not be available in many other retail markets than the German, so most of you might never get to see it. But that shouldn't be a reason to worry about, as they are primarily meant for OEM use. Most individual users might prefer other motherboards, since the Siemens board is very conservative. There aren't any overclocking options at all. On the other hand, Siemens boards are a far cry away from their competition, as the German company makes some of the highest quality motherboards available.
The S-1184 is the only board in this test with a complete thermal management. I used a Pentium III 933, which usually gets quite hot. On the Siemens motherboard, the CPU fan did still deliberately stop every once a while. Of course you can force the fans to run continuously, but the 'auto' or 'low noise' setting did not affect the excellent stability. Thermal mamagent would also be very interesting for overclocking, because the GMCH chip was not even warm during the tests, which is as rare as it is excellent.
There is no option to alter the boot sequence, but the BIOS automatically searches for bootable media. If there is no bootable floppy or CD-ROM available, the system will automatically boot from hard disk. This board is the only one in the test that uses a Phoenix BIOS. As expected, it doesn't offer a whole lot of options.
Our memory test was not very successful with the Siemens board, as it failed with the Kingston and PQI memory as well as the HSDRAM from Mushkin. I was quite disappointed to see that the board did not want to run with the Crucial memory either. So far, the Crucial SDRAM has been our reference memory due to high performance and excellent compatibility.
The D-1184 offers both on-board 100 MBit LAN and an AC97 sound system. The cable connectors have no description at all, while the IDE connector 1 has been labeled as secondary and vice versa.
This motherboard "Made in Germany" leaves a mixed impression. The board is able to show the competition what's high-end quality, as the layout lives with less electronic components than all others. In addition, its performance is good and stability exceptionary. Unfortunately the German origin couldn't guarantee better memory compatibility, as it failed the test with 4 of 9 types of memory.