RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Ed Lau [08.23.04]
Manufacturers: Abit, Albatron, Asus

Discuss this article in the forum!
Registration is not required.


The first thing you'll notice when you open the shiny green box is that the board uses Albatron's usual blue PCB. If you're a sucker for asthetics like me, then you'll like the look of this board with the blue, chrome and copper heatsinks covering the northbridge.

However, after the honeymoon is over, you'll see a flaw in the layout. Firstly, there isn't too much clearance between the RAM and the AGP slow so longer graphics cards will prevent you from modifying your RAM configuration prior to removing anything in the AGP slot.

The copper heatsink passively cools the Northbridge. This may pose some problems for overclockers, especially since Albatron advertises that their products are designed for overclocking purposes. If the Northbridge does get too hot, it is easy to replace, secured with a pair of push pins. Shouldn't be a huge deal though since the other two boards are also passively cooled.

Otherwise, the layout is just fine. There is a good amount of clearance for you to use just about any heatsink with the board.

Again, the back panel includes enough minijacks to support 7.1 speakers. Anyone still using PS/2 keyboards and mice will be happy to see that they're still here for some reason. Same with the parallel port. The Gigabit LAN port sit above two of the USB 2.0 connectors.

The BIOS offers much of the standard features that we've come to expect from Phoenix - AwardBIOS. DDR timing options covering CAS latency, RAS to CAS delay, Rwo precharge and RAS active time are available. CPU options include clock ratios from 4 to 18 and CPU host frequencies from 200 to 300MHz. CPU voltage is 0.8V to 1.9V, DDR voltage is 2.6V to 2.9V and AGP voltage is 1.5V to 1.8V.  North and Southbridge voltages can also be adjusted.

As a safety measure, the BIOS can set the computer to shut down if the CPU temperature reaches 50-70 degrees celsius, something that the user can choose.

Next Page: (3)