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Soltek 67KV Slot 1 VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review

Soltek 67KV Slot 1 VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Soltek Apr 12 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Soltek 67KV

Overclocking and Conclusion

Overclocking and Stability

As the CPU used in this review was a Celeron 400, there isn't much one can do in terms of overclocking the CPU. As it is the multiplier, which is locked on all Intel processors now, is quite high on the Celeron 400 (6x). So running it at default rate of 400Mhz would be at a 66Mhz front side bus speed. I was able to go all the way up to an 83Mhz FSB speed which results in a 500Mhz overclock. At this speed, the system was very stable.

At a 100Mhz bus speed, I was able to get my Celeron 333 to POST which says a lot about the board since I could never do this previously with any other motherboard. Of course, after POSTing, it would hang. I would certainly put the blame on the CPU rather than the motherboard. Perhaps things would be different if I would have used a third party heatsink/fan combo. In addition, it would be correct to say that this board would go far in terms of overclocking a Coppermine CPU when used with a slocket adapter such as the Soltek SL-02A++ reviewed here on PCstats.

In stability tests, the board performed beautifully under conditions where the CPU was clocked enough to at least boot up under Windows. Beyond that, the CPU just couldn't handle it. As we know, under a front side bus speed of 100MHz, the PCI bus will operate at 1/3 the FSB (or 33MHz) and the AGP would run at 2/3 the front side bus speed (or 66MHz). So then what happens when your FSB is at 133MHz?

Your AGP you be running at nearly 89MHz! No AGP card in the market (with a few individual exceptions) can run stable at 89MHz. So to solve this problem the Apollo Pro 133A adds support for a 1/2 divider ratio so that your AGP can run smoothly at 66MHz. And as this chipset is PCI 2.2 compliant, it adds support for a 1/4 PCI divider ratio so you can still run your existing PCI devices at the standard rated 33MHz. Though the BIOS does not support the feature of manually setting these ratios, all this is done automatically. However, it would have been nice to see this option.

Documentation


It appears that many mainboard manufacturers are forgetting that more and more novice assemblers are getting into the act of building their own machines. Right now, I can think of a number of people who are deciding not to purchase assembled machine just for the sake of learning something new.

Frankly, I admire these people and I would really like to see companies giving a helping hand to these folk who shell out their hard earned cash. The 67KV did not come with any instructions on how to physically install the board nor with any troubleshooting guides. And the manual just simply pointed out DIP switch settings as well as "which-jumper-is-which" explanations. However, a more detailed version of the manual is available on the CD itself. Still, beginner guides certainly would have made these type of products "user-friendly".

Conclusions


Bundled with the motherboard is a copy of Norton Ghost and Norton Antivirus. These are 2 extremely useful utilities which Soltek has wisely decided to include with the motherboard. It looks as if Soltek knows what it is doing to produce a comprehensive quality product. One feature not mentioned earlier is the Power Lost Resume option. Using this, you can configure your system to boot up or to remain in the "soft-power" off state after your electricity has returned from a power outage.

As the ATX on/off switch is made through motherboard signalling, this feature is pretty much a necessity (especially in India -- a place where an uninterrupted supply of electricity is a luxury in most places). Though a feature or two such as support for AGP Fast Writes and AGP Divider option is not present, I would highly recommend this board to anyone who is looking for a high-performance, highly-expandable motherboard. Before I forget, this board is DOS/V Power Report Recommended.

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Contents of Article: Soltek 67KV
 Pg 1.  Soltek 67KV Slot 1 VIA Apollo 133A Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  First Look and Installation
 Pg 3.  The VIA Apollo 133A Chipset
 Pg 4.  BIOS and Power Management
 Pg 5.  System Spec's
 Pg 6.  — Overclocking and Conclusion

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