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Intel's Strike Force: 19 DDR-Motherboards With 845 Chipset and DDR-Support

The Boards

A-Trend Xsonic ATC8020

Board Revision: ?

BIOS Version: 1.2 (December 4, 2001)

The current line of products from A-Trend are called Xsonic - we received the 845 DDR motherboard ATC8020. There are two DIMM sockets on this board which is basically enough, since two double-sided modules are the maximum that the chipset is able to address.

This model is also available with an optional IDE RAID controller from Promise (PDC20265R - ATC8020/GLR). A PCI sound chip from Creative is already on hand, featuring surround sound and low CPU utilization.

The BIOS gives you the option to alter the FSB speed between 100 and 130 MHz in incremements of 2 or 3 MHz. Bear in mind that the PCI and AGP clocks increase as well, so that 120 MHz is the highest applicable setting in most cases. Since this motherboard does not have any further overclocking features (e.g. different CPU core voltage settings), it isn't really suitable for ambitious overclockers.

We received an early test sample of this board, so the manual and the CDs were not delivered with it.

We found the design to be advantageous, except that the floppy connector has been inconveniently placed at the bottom of the board. This will make it very difficult to install a floppy drive in the upper drive bays, because you will need a long, flat cable. Fortunately, the floppy disk will soon be obsolete anyway, thanks to CD-R and CD-RW.

This board also comes with a connector for auxiliary power (which was introduced by Intel's P4 specs). Surprisingly, the board also worked without plugging in this power connector.