Board Revision: 1.02
BIOS Version: 1002 (November 11, 2002)
The testing of Asus motherboards is typically uneventful - this time, too, the market leader's board gave no cause for complaint. It runs quickly and reliably.
The board is richly endowed with features: in addition to chipset characteristics like AGP 8X, UltraATA/ 100 interface, USB 2.0 and the dual-channel DDR266 interface, the board also has a simple six-channel sound system based on an AC97 codec from Realtek (ALC650), Silicon Image 3112 (currently the most advanced serial ATA controller), a Gigabit Ethernet controller from Broadcom (5702) and a FireWire controller from Texas Instruments. The serial chip from Silicon Image is the only model to date that natively supports the new interface. All of the competitors' products rely on external bridges or bridges integrated into the chip (serial-to-parallel converters).
Asus gave this board a more active fan monitor: when the board starts up without a processor fan connection, the BIOS generates an error message.
The package is extraordinarily generous in scope - almost too generous, even, because a different slot bracket adapter is needed for each of three functions (digital audio connectors, game port/ USB 5+6, FireWire). With many cabinets, this cheats you out of the possibility of filling the PCI slots with expansion cards. The problem with that is not simply the slot bracket modules, but also their cables, which have to be put somewhere.
In our view, a game port is rarely needed anymore today, as most joysticks have USB connectivity. The two additional USB ports could be positioned above the two available slots - IWill shows us how that works. Finally, FireWire and the digital audio boxes can be combined on one slot bracket.
The layout of the board is irreproachable, as are the extensive configuration options for the processor, including features for overclocking.