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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.14.00]
Manufactured by: Asus


Got Flip Chip? Get This:

Now that several months have gone by with Flip Chip processors widely available and implemented, you SHOULD know by now what chipset is the best solution for most people: Apollo Pro 133a.  Yes, I can hear your arguments for the BX chipset; even though it is old as hell, it is still pretty much the fastest chipset out there.  However, the Apollo Pro 133a brings a lot more modern features to the table, such as integrated ATA/66, AGP 4X, AGP Fast Writes, and a 1/2 AGP divider, thus providing you with 'true' 133MHz front side bus support.  The "Z" version of the chipset, which the Asus CUV4X uses, also provides AGP Pro support, which will be nice when video cards start supporting it.

Basically, if you have a Flip Chip Pentium 3 or Celeron 2 and want to overclock it with FSB speeds of 133 MHz and above, a board based on the Apollo Pro 133a/z chipset is probably your best bet.

So what sets this one apart?

After a slew of awfully slow Apollo Pro 133 (693a) boards (like the under whelming Abit VA6, reviewed here), and some good-to-not-so-good Apollo Pro 133a (694x) boards (like the Tyan s1854, reviewed here), we are now starting to see the next generation of VIA boards - those based on the Apollo Pro 133z (or 694z) chipset.

694z is basically identical to 694x; the only difference I could find was support of the AGP Pro port.  Your regular AGP card will certainly fit in this port (with the use of a sticker to prevent you from inserting it wrong into the bigger AGP Pro port).  AGP Pro is designed to provide video cards with more voltage.  It is intended for professional graphics cards (hence "PRO") but with the Voodoo5 5500, we are already seeing the need for more voltage.  The Voodoo5 6000 will require you to plug the card into the wall! If 3dfx made an AGP pro version of the 6000, this wouldn't be required.

Other than that, this board has basically the same features as and other REALLY DAMN GOOD Apollo Pro 133a board out there.  It also has 4 USB ports, but you have to add the other two manually (they are included) and you'll lose a port on the back of your PC.

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