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Our tests ran smoothly, even though the AOpen board appeared a bit temperamental at first. The integrated diagnostic system, which goes by the delightful name of Dr. Voice, provides spoken error messages through the PC speaker - which it proceeded to do at a deafening volume. Unfortunately, the error messages were barely comprehensible, whether in English or German. After we removed and reinstalled the components, the system suddenly burst into life.
The board had some difficulty with memory timings. Our PC 2700 Corsair DIMMs are rated at CL2, but the AOpen board was having none of it. Only when we replaced these with DDR 400 modules from the same manufacturer were we able to start testing. Mind you, these were "underclocked" at 333 MHz.
The performance of this board varied between good and satisfactory. Despite highly mixed results, the overall performance is respectable.
The Die Hard BIOS provides a backup flash ROM in case of virus infection or unsuccessful BIOS update. Simply change a jumper to give the PC the kiss of life.
Realtek 100 MB/s network controller. The competition already offers 1 GB/s, although hubs and switches remain rather expensive for home use. 100 MB/s should suffice for some time yet.
This is how you do it : a comprehensive manual and Quick Start Guide for experienced users.
An additional two USB ports (top) and two FireWire ports (bottom) are available using adapters supplied.
An adapter is supplied for upgrading the onboard sound system with a digital I/O.