If you're looking for a run of the mill nForce2 based motherboard with
a lot of integrated features, the AOpen AK79G MAX will not disappoint.
Retailing for about $140USD the board packs a lot in thanks
to the nVidia nForce2-GT chipsets, but doesn't quite manage to snag the highest performance
peak in terms of overclocking.
10/100 LAN, 5.1 audio care of nVidia's APU, Serial ATA, IEEE 1394,
USB 2.0, dual BIOS's and integrated video, there isn't much more you can ask
for. If you do need to expand the Aopen AK79G MAX with its five PCI slots you have
plenty of space. We happy to see AOpen bundles Norton Anti Virus 2003 with the
AK79G MAX, with so many virus's out there you can never be too safe.
Because the AK79G MAX is based on a nForce2
chipset, good performance is a given. The AK79G MAX tends to lag behind just a
tad when compared to other nForce2 based boards but the difference is very small
and I doubt one would notice it.
The AOpen AK79G MAX has the potential to be a good
overclocker but AOpen must give the end user multiplier control first. If they
don't, overclocking will be very difficult.
There were a few things about the motherboard I did not
like, I wish AOpen would include a sixth PCI slot on the
bottom of the motherboard instead of an ACR. Consumer level ACR based devices are virtually impossible to
find. With the CMOS battery standing up vertically, it's very fragile and
could break off easily (it's only held on by three solder points). AOpen's Silent
HW options are neat, but I was in for quite a shock when I found my CPU fan only
running at 70% of its rated speed when the computer POSTs or is in the
one of the first nForce2-GT boards to come across the test bench, and the
possibilities all these built-in audio and video options bring to the table
really make the computer more of an entertainment device then ever before.
Paired with a processor like the AMD AthlonXP 3000+ the Aopen AK79G Max
offers good performance levels, but doesn't manage to reign in the top spot. I would consider using the AOpen AK79G
MAX because of its excellent stability and features, but, with an eye towards high-end enthusiast
gaming I might consider using a board more on the wild side.
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