The Iwill KA266, like most other Athlon-based
motherboards is quite large measuring 305mm x 244mm. It would be an
uncomfortable fit in some of those smaller ATX cases you see around the computer
||Note the onboard thermistor
mounted dead-center in the socket for reading the temperature from the
underside of the AMD processor. There is a second thermistor mounted on the KA266 near the bottom for taking system-wide temperature readings.|
Thankfully the layout of the KA266 is pretty
straight forward with a decent amount of space around the CPU socket in
particular. Installation of larger heatsinks like the Zalman CNPS-5000 is
possible thanks to those mounting holes in the PCB. There was ample room so I
could even use my personal favorite, a specially modded Alpha PEP66T if I wanted
to, although in the end I tested the motherboard with a GlobalWin FOP-38.
that was the one that killed my 1.4 GHz chip!
Lots of space!
I was very happy to see that there was plenty
of room between the DIMM and AGP slot. No longer did I have to remove my
video card to install memory!
Other then that, everything was pretty vanilla, a 4X AGP slot, 5 busmastering PCI slots and no AMR/CNR/ACR crap - thank god!
The north bridge has a sleek little silver BGA heatsink attached via thermal tape, probably not the best solution, however, it works and never really got hot during testing. It looks pretty neat especially when it says "Powered By DDR." Hey sometimes it's the small things that matter most.
On an interesting side note, the
KA266 supports DDRAM only. While the ALi Magik 1 chipset
is compatible with both SDR and DDR memory IWill's motherboard designers decided to totally leave
SDR out of the picture. Other manufacturers have gone with "hybrid" boards utilizing both
SDR and DDR slots(e.g.. Asus A7A266), but I for one applaud IWill's move.
After all if you're even contemplating going DDR, go all the way.
|What an odd location for the floppy
|| The jumpers still exist|
Now this board isn't without
it's flaws. Again, like the BD133, the placement of the floppy drive connector
boggles the mind. It almost totally rules out the possibly of using full length
cards in the lower PCI slots, not that you would probably want to. However, I'd
at least like to have the option open.
Next, the worst feature
of the board was the need to use jumpers to adjust the multiplier. If you read
Iwill's spec's, the claim to have a "Bye-Bye Jumper" Iwill Smart Setting.
But there are
Onboard audio was taken care of thanks to a C-Media sound chip - Iwill seems to really
be pushing onboard sound - and yes, it's better then the Via AC97 codec. However,
it's nothing compared to a PCI based hardware sound card like the SB Live! series,
Phillips Acoustic Edge, or Hercules Game Theater XP.