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DFI CA64-EC VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review

DFI CA64-EC VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: Apollo Pro 133A based motherboards have been selling very well in the past year primarily due to their excellent performance/price ratio and good feature set. In this review, we will be taking a look at one such board based upon the said chipset-- but with a twist.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: DFI Jan 15 2001   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > DFI CA64-EC

DFI CA64-EC VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review


Apollo Pro 133A based motherboards have been selling very well in the past year primarily due to their excellent performance/price ratio and good feature set. In this review, we will be taking a look at one such board based upon the said chipset-- but with a twist.

Thanks to the flexibility of VIA chipset configuration, we are able to have ATA/100 support with the Pro 133A chipset. If you will recall, the Pro 133A chipset was announced with ATA/66 support only. VIA recently introduced their newest Southbridge (VT82C686B) with ATA-100 support; this was a no cost update to the older VIA VT82C686A (which supported up to ATA-66).

This new Southbridge paired with the Apollo Pro 133A is VIA's answer to Intel's latest chipset: the i815EP. The i815EP is essentially an i815E without an integrated accelerator. Both i815EP and 133A have about the same feature set (133MHz CPU support, AGP 4X, ATA-100 and support for many USB ports). However, VIA's offering is priced more aggressively and that's the key feature of the DFI CA64-EC: affordable, strong feature set, targeted for power users.

First Impressions

Our DFI CA64-EC sample contained the following material...

· The board itself
· One ATA-66/100 cable & FDD cable
· One CD with motherboard drivers, including a full version of the manual in PDF format and a system monitoring utility and PC-Cillin 2000 for Windows 95/98/98SE/NT Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later/2000 Professional


Our test sample was not equipped with a chipset heatsink neither did it have a printed manual. Not to fret though as the retail product does come along with both items. We were impressed by the extremely clean board layout specifically around the CPU socket. Without a doubt, the CA64-EC can handle just about any size of heatsink out there. There are 3 fan headers for additional cooling and operation. The presence of the AGP PRO slot allows this board to be paired with high-end professional AGP PRO graphics accelerators.

In case AGP PRO is new to you, here is a simple description of it.

AGP PRO is essentially an extension to the existing AGP socket which permits for a higher amount of electrical power to be transferred to the accelerator. The AGP PRO slot itself consists of 2 bays (the classic AGP socket is located between these 2 extra bays): a 20-pin and a 28-pin bay. AGP PRO accelerators are equipped with a higher number of pins, which are connected to these bays. Of course the board is still compatible with regular non AGP-PRO accelerators.

The overall layout of the board is not exactly the best we have seen up to now. The board's DIMM sockets are just above the AGP PRO socket, so memory can be un/installed only by removing the AGP video card. In certain smaller ATX cases, the first front DIMM socket might be rendered unuseable due to its proximity to the CD-ROM unit. IDE connectors are easy to reach but the FDD connector might prove to be a bit cumbersome to reach in small ATX cabinets. Like all DFI boards, the case connectors are bent or rotated by 90 degrees to allow installation of full sized PCI cards. For the cause of stability, the board is equipped with 23 x 1000µF, 2 x 470µF capacitors.

The PDF manual is certainly worth a mention. The documentation goes into depth and provides for wonderful descriptions of various parts and connectors present on the board. Most manufacturers include very brief manuals, but DFI is an exception.

© 2017 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: DFI CA64-EC
 Pg 1.  — DFI CA64-EC VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Installation
 Pg 3.  Gaming Performance

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