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DDR400 for Athlon: A Comparison of 9 Motherboards

Shuttle AK37

Board revision: 1.3

BIOS version: S9A4 (September 2, 2002)

The Abit and the Shuttle boards are the only ones that offer four DIMM sockets. However, you can't just fill these up any way you like - the chipset will only allow one single module at 400 MHz, two at 333 MHz and three or four at 266 MHz. That's a limitation every user will have to live with.

There are five PCI slots on the AK37, as well as an AC97 sound system, a network controller from VIA (VT6103), and an IDE RAID controller from Highpoint (HPT372) that, thanks to Serial ATA bridges (see picture), makes it possible to hook up two serial devices.

Most manufacturers make do with the ATX socket, but Shuttle uses the additional 12V socket to ensure the voltage supply of all components. Basically, because all power supply units available on the market these days offer this socket (current specifications require it), we see this as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

Included with the board are the following: a manual; instructions on the RAID controller; an ATX panel; a USB adapter for using two additional USB 2.0 ports (two are available on the ATX port panel); a short Serial ATA cable; two 80-pin IDE cables; and a floppy cable. The slot adapter in the bottom of the picture even accommodates coaxial digital output for the sound system.