Abstract: Slowly but surely, 133Mhz front side bus speeds are becoming the evident standard being set. More so due to the recent release of the Intel Coppermine line of CPUs. For those of you who don't know, the Coppermine is actually the name given to the newest edition of Intel Pentium III CPUs.|
First Look and Installation
On first look
The layout of the
Soltek 67KV is pretty much similar to any other ATX board on the market.
Everything is positioned properly to avoid any sort of cable clutter. The ATX
power connector is located on the far right side of the board, the cabinet
jumper connectors are located behind the PCI slots and the HDD and floppy
connectors are situated behind the DIMM slots.
Seems that everything was custom made to fit in properly in my ATX
cabinet without giving me a hard time of various cables and wires playing
"Twister" on me. Offering 5 PCI/1 ISA/1 AGP/1 AMR slots, your upgrade options
are pretty much unrestricted on the 67KV. All 5 of the PCI slots are bus
mastering. The 1 ISA slot is just perfect for those who may have an older sound
card or old tape backup device with them. The available AMR is probably one of
the most unused features to date since AMR devices have not quite caught on as
Surrounding the CPU
are 10 1500uf capacitors which have contributed to the stability of this board. Another
plus point of this motherboard is the additional 2 USB ports which have been made by
way of an onboard USB connector which brings the total count of USB ports to 4.
The only obtrusion that I found was that the second fan connector (for the chassis fan)
is located next to the HDD/FDD connectors.
The fan wires seemed to be just long enough to reach the connector.
Located adjacent to the AGP slot is a blue box with 6 dip switches used to
adjust FSB speed and CPU clock multipliers up to 8x. Of course, this is pretty
much useless for Intel CPU as all of their CPUs remain multiplier locked. The
speeds that can be set through the DIP switches are 66, 100 and 133MHz. In case
you are not one to take chances (or just plain scared!), there is a setting to
have the bus set on AUTO detect. The rest of the "non standard" bus speeds can
be set from the BIOS itself.
There was no heatsink on the 694X chip as this is an evaluation sample
but hopefully you will get to have one on a proper retail package. Fortunately,
there were no heat related issues of the chipset during testing. The attached
serial/parallel ports and keyboard/mouse connectors are colour coded to comply
with PC99 specifications. Finally, provision has been made by way of a connector
on the board for a thermal sensor which is included with the
After going through the grind of screwing in screws, plugging in
cables and cords, it was time to boot up. Using Windows 98,
I was forced to install a 4-in-1 VIA chipset driver which takes care of
the ACPI registry, the VIA PCI IRQ Routing Miniport driver and installation
of a AGP VxD driver in turbo mode.
If you are the
owner of a copy of Windows 98 SE, then the 4-in-1 driver installation is not
required as the drivers are already incorporated into the operating system. On
the Soltek driver CD are more drivers for AC97 audio, software such as VIA's
Hardware Monitor utility and VIA's DMATOOL which allows you to enable/disable
UDMA on your storage devices.
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