Soltek SL-67B Slot-1 440BX Mainboard
Soltek is a relatively newcomer in the computer industry. The company was founded in 1996 by ex-Soyo employees, and since then their products have been found in just about every OEM's price lists or system. Soltek has always prided itself with providing good products, for very good prices, which most of the time are well below their competitors prices.
Generally, Soltek motherboards have always been targeted towards the budget minded users. Of course, that's not really a problem if that's indeed your target market. Unfortunately following this market strategy will not separate you from the pack. While Soltek motherboards have always been of excellent quality, at the same time, they have never been anything to rave about.
The SL-67B is Soltek's flagship Slot-1 440BX motherboard. It boasts the ever so popular 5/2/1 configuration, which refers to the PCI, ISA and AGP slots respectively. Here's the complete set of specs:
CPU Support: Slot-1 Chipset: Intel i440 BX Memory: 4 168-Pin DIMMs, Max Mem 1GB L2 Cache: On-Chip (512K) Form Factor: ATX Expansion Slots: 1 AGP, 5 PCI, 2 ISA Bus Speeds Supported: 66, 68, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112, 133 Multipliers Supported: 3.5x-8x BIOS: Award
First Impressions, The Package, Installation
One of the very first things you will notice about the
SL-67B, is how small its footprint is. Fitting this mobo into any case should
not present anyone with any problems. Regardless of its size, the board is very
well layed out, and it sports 5 PCI slots, and 4 DIMM slots. It even sports
built-in processor brackets. That's a nice feature, especially for people like
me, who always forget about the processor brackets until after I finish screwing
the mobo down.
On the other hand, processor brackets are not really necessary unless you plan on using your computer as a Frisbee. It seems like the Soltek guys didn't skimp on any "normal" features just to make it small. While it doesn't skimp on any "normal" features, it lacks cool things like hardware monitoring, and the ability to adjust to the CPU core voltage. Again, keeping true to its heritage, this board doesn't boast any features that will separate it from the pack. Don't give up on it yet. Believe me, this mobo will surprise you.
The bus speed and multiplier settings are set via DIP switches on the motherboard. Well, kind of. You see, Any bus speed other than 66 or 100 Mhz are set via the BIOS. Now, this doesn't really make any sense to me. If you gonna give the ability to set some bus speeds through the BIOS, why not give the ability to set ALL the bus speeds through the BIOS. One thing that was kind of annoying about the bus speeds, was the luck of a speed setting between 112 Mhz and 133 Mhz. It seems to me that a 124 Mhz bus speed would had been in order.
Examining the package, besides the mobo itself, you will
find a piece of paper (we'll get to that in a sec), a CD-ROM disc containing the
manual, and utilities and the standard IDE hard drive and floppy drive cables.
The piece of paper is a quick install guide for the motherboard, describing how
to quickly setup your bus and multiplier settings. The lack of a paper manual is
something that I personally always frown upon. The manual is of course included
on the CD-ROM, but it's always nice to have a paper manual. When I examined the
manual on the CD I found it to be adequate, but certainly not above and beyond.