Abstract: This is not going to be pretty folks, so I'll take this moment to recommend that anyone easily disgusted by low performance, or has a weak stomach to leave this article
immediately. 83% Rating:
Next up to bat is the AOpen AX64 Pro. Also sporting the Via Apollo Pro 133a chipset, but totally set itself apart from the "other" board in it's abilities and performance. This one came to us with onboard audio, only the Slot 1 CPU connection type, a bit fewer PCI expansion slots, and a new connection type the AMR slot.
Another exciting built in option is the Die Hard
BIOS. This does two things for the overclocker and general user alike. What
happens if we flash the BIOS and something goes terribly wrong? Not to mention
hackers are getting into writing virus's that nuke BIOS environments as well as
others. With Die Hard BIOS in your corner, a simple jumper setting and you are
back in Bidniss'!
is unless you are stupid enough to try and flash the backup as well! Nonetheless, an
extremely cool and welcome addition to the hardware arena. Just goes to show
that some companies look to further enhance the computing experience and make sure if
we screw things up ourselves, or some uninvited bit of code takes us
out, that we can bounce back unscathed.
Also implemented on this board, with great credit
to R&D from the boys at AOpen, a front side USB header located at the bottom
front of the mobo. Included is an expansion slot plug that gives you not just
the two usual ports under the PS/2 connectors, but an additional 2 at the rear.
However, with a little ingenuity a do-it-yourselfer could easily port them to
the front panel, as I am assured there are after market products to facilitate
this with ease. Prop's to AOpen for giving us such cool toys!
The onboard sound is not a bad addition either, and while some of the other offerings I have come across with this option have sucked royally not only in performance but driver installation, AOpen has not let us down on this one. Went in flawlessly, performed well inside the OS, and to my pleasure also supports Win 2K! What more could one ask for.
Well in my case, OVERCLOCKING DAMN IT! AOpen in the
past has given us many boards that allow the OC'er in all of us much room to
play. BIOS selections of memory timings (that work), FSB settings (that work),
and voltage selections for those stubborn pieces of silicone (once again, that
This newest board from them is no exception to that rule, and allowed for
some good ole' fashioned speed increases above those stipulated in spec' sheets
by the vendors of such products. While it did not reach the heights of BX famed
boards, it is still a welcomed change from the Tyan piece in that what settings
are available actually work and enhance performance instead of hinder it.
I would recommend this board to the novice or moderate OC'er in search of a board with ATA 66, memory settings that allow for use of older PC66, PC100, and newer PC133 SDRAM. Also noted is that AOpen designed it wide enough to allow for monstrous heatsinks while retaining the use of all or most of the memory slots. Due mostly to the fact that they didn't feel the need to provide both a socket and slot adaptation on the same board, which suits me just fine. If I need to run a socketed chip on this guy, I have more than one adapter lying around that I can slap a chip on and get it into the Slot with ease.
Lastly for comparison
purposes only, the AX6BC Pro Millennium Edition given graciously by our dear
friends at AOpen in good old BX chipset flava! Since there was already a review
of this piece on our site, I won't get into all that other junk other than to
say it is one phat kick ass fast board. Still a top performer in the old test
labs, and one that usually remains in use around the clock. With all the newer
Via and Intel stuff coming out, this is still one of my favorite pieces, and
never let's me down in the speed and performance arena. Always a recommended
piece in my opinion. On with the numbers shall we?