21 Mobo Salute: Pentium III i815 mobos

The Boards

AOpen AX3SP - 1394

Board Revision: N/A

BIOS Version: 1.00 (March 28, 2001)

The first AOpen motherboard (AX3SP-1394) comes with an integrated FireWire controller (TI TSB43AA22), just like the Socket A motherboard AK73-1394. Two ports are provided. Unlike other companies, AOpen includes all required adapter cables you might require. There is also one cable for the COM2 port and a third one for the USB ports 3 and 4. The box also includes an easy installation manual, a user's guide, Norton Anti Virus 2000, a set of IDE cables and AOpen's Bonus Pack CD featuring drivers and utilities.

This motherboard has four DIMM sockets. Though that will give you the largest flexibility in terms of memory installation, it does not change the fact that the Solano chipset only supports 512 MB SDRAM. An AC97 sound system is also present.

AOpen equipped this board with their Die Hard BIOS. This feature equals dual BIOS solutions from other companies: There are two flash chips on the motherboard. If the main BIOS should fail, you can set a jumper to activate the secondary one.

The BIOS software is very extensive and provides lots of tuning and overclocking features. AOpen allows yoz to freely choose CPU voltage in 0.1 V increments, FSB speed up to 166 MHz, and the multiplier. This last feature will be idle, however, since most Intel CPUs are multiplier-locked.

The AGP 4x connector comes with a card lock system which prevents the graphics card from sliding out of the slot. Other than that, there is not much more to say about this board, except that AOpen seems to be introducing increasingly more black PCB versions, which makes this board look good. Fortunately, the board really does perform as well as it looks, which you can see from our benchmarks.

Homepage: http://www.aopen.com