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FIC AZ11E VIA KT133 Motherboard Review
FIC AZ11E VIA KT133 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: A few short months ago came the introduction of VIA's KT133 chipset. Though the chipset itself has remained pretty much constant (aside from a minor Southbridge revision), host motherboards have been going through good deal of change in a relatively short amount of time. Current generation motherboards now include multiplier adjustments, ATA/100 support and more recently, some form of Voice Diagnosis a feature that is catching on rather quickly.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: FIC Feb 19 2001   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > FIC AZ11E

First Impressions

When we spoke of differences between the AZ11E and the older AZ11, we weren't kidding. When holding these two boards side-by-side, an immediate difference in board layout is realized.

On the AZ11, a good portion of the left side of the motherboard was left blank. With the AZ11E, FIC made a good effort to re-route circuit traces and there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the previous AZ11 allegedly posed some rather poor performance numbers along with less than optimal levels of stability. By optimizing trace routes, FIC can then attempt to increase stability and give those performance numbers a little boost.

Trace routes aren't the only difference between the AZ11 and the AZ11E. In the latter, FIC introduced the one feature which gels most with the enthusiast sect of the computer community, CPU multiplier adjustments. Absent in the AZ11, it looks as if FIC is striving hard to attract the overclocking community, something which we will see in detail later in this review.

PCB size of the AZ11E is rather enormous. About 12" wide and 9" deep, it is quite possible installation problems can occur in smaller ATX cabinets. Considering its larger size, we were rather disappointed to discover the lack of space around the CPU socket. This prevents a user from installing an adequately sized heatsink-fan combo on the CPU.

We tried to install the Thermaltake Chrome Orb cooler but were unsuccessful. The cause of this being the extremely huge capacitors present on the AZ11E. In fact, there are a total of four 4700uF, two 3900uF and one 2200uF capacitors around the CPU socket. If this configuration doesn't contribute to the boards stability, then I don't know what will. A couple of voltage regulators in the vicinity capped with heatsinks are seated to ensure a clean signal to the CPU.

Component placement on the AZ11E is rather clean for the most part. We came across only a couple of hindrances on layout. The power connector is positioned above the CPU socket which can restrict air flow in the cabinet to a certain extent. Secondly, placement of multiplier switches is in a rather awkward place surrounding the floppy drive header. This why we appreciate the availability of all overclocking features in the BIOS itself. This way, you at least save the pains of having to re-open your cabinet and play finger-twister while trying to manipulate those oh-so-tiny DIP switches. Other than these two issues, we have no complaints regarding the layout of the AZ11E.

Physical installation was not much of a problem in our large sized cabinet sitting in the lab. As for smaller sized cases, it would be best to check on an individual basis. This motherboard is huge so do make sure that you are not going to be stuck with a cabinet which is unable to house such a board. We were forced to install a rather generic heatsink on the AZ11E as a Thermaltake Chrome Orb just didn't have the space to fit. Aside from this, no other problems were encountered that might interfere with getting the system started up.

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Contents of Article: FIC AZ11E
 Pg 1.  FIC AZ11E VIA KT133 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — First Impressions
 Pg 3.  Test Bed Setup and Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Quake 3
 Pg 5.  NOVUS II

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