There isn't anything really out of
the ordinary with the KT-A: one 4x AGP, six PCI slots (5 busmastering slots)
and even an ISA slot for legacy cards.
The ISA slot was a nice touch, much more useful then an
AMR. However, I kind of wish the motherboard manufacturers would drop it all
together. We're never going to move ahead unless we let go of the past!
Ultra/100 ATA support was there care of VIA's "troubled" 686B southbridge.
There are a total of two total fan headers, with one being taken up by the CPU
heatsink/fan itself so in reality there is one left to play with.
While there was a silk screen outline for onboard audio, none was
included on the board. By the size of the outline it looks like it
might have been for VIA's AC97 codec.
Two extra USB ports are included with the 686B chipset, however Tyan
neglected to include the USB bracket for them. It seems that many motherboard
makers are doing this, the only exception I can think of right now is Asus.
The Processor Socket
There were some design quirks that
I didn't on the KT-A, and the most notable one was the large gathering of tall capacitors
around the processor socket.
I was able to install my Zalman CNP-5000P, but
it was a very snug fit. I had a hard time installing my GlobalWin
FOP-38, and just for the fun of it
I even tried out the Swiftech MC462A - which believe it or
not just barely fits (albeit with a bit of nudging to one particular capacitor). On
the plus side there is a thermistor located dead center under the core of the processor
for good thermal monitoring.
I also wasn't too keen on the fanless
Northbridge heatsink attached with thermal glue/tape. The BGA heatsink did get quite hot during
testing I noticed. Lastly, but not least, everyone's favorite;
having to remove the AGP video card to install memory. I guess
that's the price people have to pay for a motherboard with six PCI slots.
Well at least the KT-A will hold up to 1.5GB of unbuffered SDRAM