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Socket 7 Board Review July 1998

Soltek SL54U1

Baby AT motherboard; VIA Apollo MVP3 chipset; 512 kB L2 cache; 3 PCI, 3 ISA slots, AGP slot; Voltages: 3.5, 3.2, 2.9, 2.8, 2.2 Volts.

This little board comes with 4 ns cache chips which should make overclocking very easy, but no higher clock than 100 MHz is supported - what a pity. All jumper and dip settings are described directly on the board. Nevertheless a CPU soft menu would have been much better.

As many other new BAT motherboards the Soltek also has an ATX power connector. The IDE connectors are placed (ATX like) at the right side of the board, which reduces the usual cable chaos. Unfortunately there are only two DIMM sockets on this board. Instead of a third one Soltek decided to integrate a SIMM bank. Also the option to clock the memory at AGP speed asynchronously has been integrated.

The board's performance is not particularly good. 1 MB L2 cache would have helped to improve the benchmark results. Voodoo2 users will be disappointed: Only one PCI slot, two ISA slots and the AGP slot can be equipped with large size cards. Today a PS/2 mouse connector cable should be inside a board's package, but I have to complain that it's missing. All in all the soltek board is a stable, but only average socket 7 board.