This is the
biggest Achilles' heel of this board. Although the KT133 chipset can allow
multiplier adjustments to the CPU to be performed from either jumpers on the
motherboard or from the BIOS the AK33 doesn't support this feature. Obviously,
enabling overclocking capability on a CPU with a pencil is not what I would
term "normal" use - but a lot of other manufacturer's have made
it a point to enable this feature and allow the user to determine for himself
whether he wishes to use a pencil to unlock his CPU multiplier or not. The
biggest inherent benefit here is that a CPU can be overclocked without forcing
the PCI or AGP bus out of spec.
does allow FSB adjustments - but with SocketA Athlons and Durons only allowing
10 MHz of FSB manipulation that brings us up to only 880 on this CPU. That
is a CPU performance improvement but doing so meant lowering the memory performance.
At that point, with the memory at 103 MHz and as CAS2, there was a noticable
drop in performance when it came to memory intensive applications. So it became
a toss up to keep running with less memory performance on a day to day basis.
I chose to just leave the CPU at its stock speed and get that memory going
instead. Obviously with some very good memory you can run at the higher memory
speed with all the optimizations available and with the CPU overclocked by
I had to lay criticism down on this board it would come down in two areas:
the external COM port and the lack of multiplier adjustments to overclock
the CPU. We covered the multiplier issue earlier in this page so I won't rehash
that, but having an external COM port block off one of the PCI slots is not
a very good idea. Granted, with on-board sound there is less need for so many
peripheral cards but I know quite a few people who would max out those 5 PCI
slots and still need the external COM port. The most obvious solution I can
come up with is to take the COM port off the PCI slot adapter and simply mount
it outside the case although that certainly won't look too good.
The AK33 is one nice motherboard.
Except for the fluke with the Sandra 2001 Pro CPU benchmark this motherboard/Duron
800 combination excelled past the Azza/Duron 800 combo in every benchmark.
Without exception it gave some very good results. Of special note was just
how stable it has been since it has been in service in my stable of computers.
I think that is an inherent benefit of using the KT133 chipset but it sure
is nice not to have to reboot the machines several times per day. If you plan
to build a SocketA system that won't require multiplier adjustments for overclocking
I think that this may be the board for you.
Oshiro November 27, 2000