Iwill ships the KK266Plus with integrated 5.1 audio care
of the C-Media 8738 chip. While the same chip is present on the
Iwill KK266 line of boards, it has been upgraded from a 4.1
audio solution to 5.1.
5.1 audio introduces a new
channel to support the center speaker. With this upgrade to the onboard audio, from a
multimedia experience anyway, it's no longer necessary to purchase a PCI
hardware 5.1 sound card.
During the testing period, I compared the onboard 5.1 audio
to my Sound Blaster Live! Platinum 5.1, and while the audio sounded every bit as
good as the sound produced by my Live (I'm not an audiophile), it seemed to
lacked at 3D sound. Especially in games it just wasn't up to par. The sound
wasn't really bad, but I couldn't really hear where my enemies were.
This isn't a knock against C-Media, most
soundcards out there aren't as good as the Live! series. Then again, I am in a dire need to upgrade my old Cambridge
FPS2000 speakers and since they're not 5.1 speakers, I found the center
channel emulation to be pretty lousy.
Simple, but it works!
And lastly, because of the
northbridge heatsink, there were only 3 fan headers left available. Still, that
should be more then enough for even the most hardcore tweaker. There was a
second USB hub header, but no USB bracket was supplied. Speaking of USB, I had a
major problem with my USB Logitech iFeel MouseMan. About 70% of the time, while
booting into Windows, it would turn itself off! It got so bad that I ended up
buying a USB to PS2 mouse converter (and using PS2 Rate!)
The BIOS is curtsey
of Award. Very straight forward, and very tweakable as you're about to see...