AOpen AX4R Plus
Board Revision: ?
BIOS Version: 1.00e (November 25, 2002)
The board from AOpen offers several useful features that go beyond the capabilities of the chipset. For example, a 100 MBit network controller from Realtek is included (RTL8100NL). The purchaser also gets a usable AC97 sound system based on a codec from the same maker. Silicon Image's 3112 controller offers two native serial ports and, in fine old AOpen tradition, this model offers two BIOS chips (DieHard BIOS).
The board offers four USB 2.0 ports directly on the rear connector panel; two more can be activated with the help of an adapter (included in the package). To cool your computer, there are three fan connectors, although one of these is used to ventilate the E7205 chip.
The AOpen is the only board in this test to offer six PCI slots and a CNR slot that can be outfitted with audio or modem riser cards if necessary.
The possibility of varying the rpm of all connected fans in the BIOS is attractive. It is a very important feature if your priority is a computer that is as quiet as possible.
The performance of this board was very respectable, even if this was made possible in part by a slight overclocking of the processor (3081 instead of 3066 MHz). Still, it remains a reasonable board with many possibilities for overclocking. The bundled software and the option of using the computer as a CD player (BIOS function) also make this board attractive.
The network controller can manage "only" 100 MBit/s - but that seems low only when you consider the better-equipped competition.