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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.12.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Soltek
Est. Street Price: $99

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The FRN-L comes with what is pretty much the standard Soltek motherboard bundle.


Although not lacking, the bundle is nothing to brag about either.  Among other titles, the bundled software utility package includes full versions of Drive Image 4.0 and Partition Magic 6.0, two utilities I have found to be extremely useful over the years.  The other software applications included with the bundle are PC-cillin 2002, Virtual Drive 7 and RestoreIT! 3 Lite.

As mentioned before, it really would have been a nice feature to include the optional sound and USB add on cards with the bundle.  The sound add on card especially, since it includes the S/PDIF ports along with outputs for surround/rear and center/subwoofer speakers, is an extra expense that I don’t believe should have to be paid for in order to utilize the full 6channel sound that comes with the motherboard.  But then again, maybe I'm just cheap.

One thing that has been vastly improved since it's previous version is Solteks Hardware Monitor Utility.

This little app allows you to monitor temperatures, fan speeds, voltages and more.  This is an updated version have a look and feel that is vastly improved over the previous versions, an example of which can be seen below.

The Board

Well the first thing I noticed about the board is the nice shade of gold.  Unfortunately, and I know it's a bit difficult to tell from the image, the colored slots seem to be an especially bright yellow.  Although I’m very appreciative of the extra effort taken in including colored slots, it would’ve been nice if they had chosen a color a little closer to that of the PCB. 

With that said, I still think this is one of the sharpest looking boards currently on the market, and I must say that it looks especially sweet with my matching Soltek GF4 Ti4200 (review forthcoming) card and rounded (shameless cablestore plug) golden cables installed.

One of the things about the nForce2 chipset that has been discovered is that it runs nice and toasty.  Soltek obviously took this into account when deciding on a north bridge cooler and installed a nice beefy HSF with a generous layer of thermal paste.  This picture gives you a better view of the deep gold color used on the PCB.

As with most nForce2 offerings, the FRN-L comes equipped with an additional 12V power connector, like that seen on Pentium 4 class motherboards.

This is to help with the increased power requirements of the nForce2 chipset.  The manual states that everything should work fine without this connection, but that it is “highly recommended”. 

Luckily for me I had a P4 class Power Supply in my case so this wasn’t an issue, you might want to double check you power supply though before upgrading.

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