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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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So that’s the good news.  Now here’s the bad stuff.  You might want to sit back with a sandwich  because I have a bit of a list of beefs.

First off, the board is full ATX form factor with a size of 305mm x 245mm.  Not a big deal for most users, but if you have a smaller case without a removable motherboard tray, know that it’s going to be a tight squeeze getting everything into place.

Secondly if you have a full length AGP video card, things are a bit of a tight squeeze in the back if you need to remove a RAM chip from on of the memory slots.  With all the space afforded a full ATX motherboard, it would have been nice to see the RAM slots placed either a little higher up on the board, or further back from the AGP slot

Another issue which seems to be a problem with a lot of motherboards lately is the location of the CD audio header. 

For some reason manufactures have been seeing it fit to place this header on the underside of the AGP slot.  Why this is done I have no idea.  For the love of Pete (at least his mom loves him!), how hard is it to move this to the other side of the slot!

A third beef I have with this board is that it only comes with three fan headers.  With the Northbridge cooler taking up one and the CPU HSF taking up another, this only leaves a single onboard fan header free. 

Why any new motherboards would have anything less than 4 onboard headers is beyond me.  It would make more sense to me to have only two headers than it would to have three since anyone concerned enough about case airflow to use case fans will typically have at least two (one for intake, one for outtake). 

My previous motherboard, Soltek’s KT333a DRV-5 offering, came with five onboard fan headers, so maybe I was spoiled.  It's little things like this though that I’ve come to expect Soltek not to skimp on.  If you’re running more than a single case fan, then you better make sure you either have a fan bus, or some Molex connectors handy.

Speaking of skimping, I was absolutely crushed to discover that Soltek did not include their usual onboard thermal probe with this motherboard.  This nice little feature has been a staple on every Soltek board I have owned since the KT133 era, and has always been a big selling point with serious overclockers.

In the past I have found the probe to be extremely useful, especially when overlclocking video card settings, since very few video cards come equiped with onboard thermal sensors.  I hope that Soltek has not decided to discontinue this option on all future motherboards as it's little features like this that have always endeared Soltek to overclockers and set them apart from the rest of the competition

A final beef (and then I'm done I promise) is that there are NO mounting holes around the CPU socket. 

Any hardcore overclockers that use giant heatsinks (such as the SK-900U), or water blocks, which require these special mounting holes will have to unfortunately take a pass on this board..  Lately it seems that numerous motherboard manufacturers have been leaving this feature out.  Although only a small percentage of the population actually require these four little holes, that small percentage is typically a group that Soltek motherboards most appeal to.  Why Soltek would choose to alienate this group of enthusiasts is beyond me.

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