During the performance tests, the ECS K7VZA challenges the positions of the Asus A7V and the AOpen AK73 Pro. The design of the ECS board can, therefore, be described as a clear success. The ECS board is less suited to overclockers as it neither allows adjustment possibilities for the Vcore core voltage or 1 MHz steps for the processor bus clock nor does it allow adjustments to the multiplier.
The MSI K7T Pro2 and the NMC 8TAX represent alternatives to the Asus A7V or the socket A board from Abit. The latter boards have sufficient overclocking properties.
The MSI K7T Master (MS-6347) emerges as a clear highlight of this test. Very few manufacturers dare to design socket A mother Boards that are server and workstation-friendly - here, MSI is leading the way. Therefore, an Ultra160-SCSI Controller and an IEEE1394/Firewire interface can be found on the K7T Master. This job was previously reserved for Intel-based platforms.
Concerning performance, we are not going to make any recommendations this time, as the percentage differences between all the test candidates are too minute to make a final judgement. Regarding equipment, the MSI K7T master (MS-6347) has clearly earned the Editor’s Choice . But customers will now have to adjust their thinking. Anyone who thinks Intel platforms are the more reliable is mistaken as Intel’s recall of Pentium III 1.13 GHz proves. Anyone using an Athlon system as server today has found a cost-effective alternative.
The new VIA-Southbridge with ATA/100 functionality leaves a stale taste. Especially when used with a single hard drive - as most computers are operated nowadays -, boards with this chip run slower than their ATA/66 pendants in the field of 3D games and OpenGL applications. The ATA/100 chip only leads to a slight improvement in system performance with classic 2D office programmes if you own a modern hard drive. It seems that VIA should revise the VT82C686B-Southbridge, otherwise the ATA/100 option as sales argument may go up in smoke.