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AOpen AX4SPE Max II

Intel's 865/875 Superior Performance Song Remains the Same
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BIOS version: 1.02

AOpen insists on quality and furnishes the AX4SPE Max II with high-grade components and interesting features. They pulled out all the stops with the electrical components: four-phase power converters with temperature resistant capacitors made of a polymer, ICS clock generator capable of compensating for temperature influences, low-resistance suppression chokes (that decrease power dissipation) and a 6 layer board design.

The motherboard is based on an 865PE chipset. You also have the option of selecting the AX4SG Max II as an alternative, which offers integrated graphics. A look at the board reveals numerous features, for one the already well-known Die Hard BIOS from AOpen (a second Flash ROM can be activated if worst comes to worst), SATA RAID controller from Silicon Image (Sil3114), a FireWire chip by Agere, Intel's CSA 82547EI network chip, AC97 sound system, and a PCI slot with active power supply for power-hungry cards.

A passive cooling unit is used on the Northbridge, which in our opinion should suffice, barring excessive overclocking. Speaking of which, AOpen offers every opportunity of getting good results in the BIOS. The technological measures described get the job done.

The BIOS can be flashed in Windows and in DOS. Both programs needed for BIOS download are included, but HyperThreading has to be deactivated in Windows. A nice touch is that the update software doesn't have to be installed. Once again our memory is set up for CL2.5-3-2-6 and has to be manually changed to CL2.0 in the BIOS.

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