last dance with the ever reliable AthlonXP processor is a very good
one. With a retail price of just $153 CDN ($110 US) the AOpen AK79D-400 Max is a worthy
replacement for whatever you have (assuming it's pre nForce2).
Performance of the motherboard was as expected; in the office based
benchmarks it was faster than our reference Epox 8RGA+ and just slightly slower
in the 3D benchmarks, although I don't think you'll notice the difference.
The Aopen AK79D-400 Max is fairly well equipped with Serial ATA/Serial ATA RAID,
an additional Ultra/133 IDE channel, IEEE 1394, 10/100 LAN, nVIDIA SoundStorm
5.1 audio and dual BIOS's. The five PCI slots should keep you satisfied in terms of
AOpen did a lot of things right with their AK79D-400 Max
and packaging. The board is well laid out and very detailed. You
will most likely not have to refer to the manual when you're installing the board into a
chassis and hooking up the connectors. Should you take a peek at the manual you find
a very detailed document which is easy to understand. Novice users will certainly appreciate
the big glossary of terms at the back.
I'm not sure why AOpen
decided to go with a passive cooler for their nForce2 Northbridge. As mentioned
above, this is a bit counter productive as their older AK79G-Max had an active
cooler on the Northbridge.
Even though AOpen motherboards are not
known for their overclockability like brands such as Epox or Abit, we had quite
a bit of luck with the AK79D-400 Max. While maintaining the most aggressive memory timings
we were able to hit a nice 223 MHz FSB. Lowering the memory timings gave
us a result of 234 MHz!
The AOpen AK79D-400 Max motherboard is
good for those who want a no hassle name brand mobo. Simply put, it
does everything pretty darn well.
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