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VIA KT333 Put To The Test: 18 Motherboards Compared

Aopen AK77-333: Not Feature-Rich

The Aopen AK77-333.

Packaging for the Aopen AK77-333.

The items included with the Aopen board are easily listed: a USB bracket (two ports), a black IDE cable, a user guide and bundled software. Noteworthy is the Dual BIOS function of the AK77-333, which prevents a total crash with a failed Flash process. This board is factory-equipped with an integrated AC'97 sound chip that supports six audio channels. Because the Northbridge of the VIA KT333 gets pretty hot when running at a clock speed of 133 MHz, Aopen gave this chip an active cooler. The sparseness of features becomes particularly evident with the IDE interfaces, where its rivals usually offer four interfaces. Also, Aopen only gives you one additional cable, even though the board contains eight USB ports, so as a result, the user can only hook up four USB devices. To integrate further components, you have to shell out some more cash.

Items included with the Aopen AK77-333.

Considering this fact, the price of about $134 is anything but justified. A USB adapter (dual-channel) alone costs about $25 at the store, for instance. The BIOS also has some inadequacies: the CPU and system temperatures were always about 30 degrees Celsius. An exact reading was not possible. The FSB is factory-clocked to 134 MHz - and it cannot be manually adjusted to 133 MHz. The benchmark results show that Aopen mingles with the masses, without showing any extreme weaknesses.

Dual BIOS function with the Aopen AK77-333.

A view of the BIOS menu with Aopen AK77-333.