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I borrowed the picture from AOpen's site. Feel free to click on the picture to get the slightly larger version. Unlike the AK33 the PCB of the AK73 is packed with components. The bottom inch of the AK33 featured a message imbedded in the PCB but obviously there is no room for that with this board.

It's time to point out a few details about this motherboard. First, there are no ISA slots to be found. I don't see that as a bad thing at all - but its something to consider if you have an ISA component you don't want to replace. The second big thing to notice is that the AMR has resurfaced. As far as I am concerned I think all AMR slots should be removed since AMR components aren't available to the masses yet. I liked that the AK33 was totally devoid of an AMR slot - but since no PCI slots were removed to accomdate it I can live with it sitting there. Who knows, perhaps we'll see some widely available AMR components soon?

The ATA-100 connector and IDE connector are located just below the three memory slots. The floppy connector is adjacent to these. The ATX power connector is located towards the top of the board (when its mounted) so it should be pretty easy to get the ATX power cable attached without any fuss. If you look at the picture on the upper left corner are all the audio inputs. This is reminiscent of the AX34 Pro II that AOpen sent for review. One thing that isn't apparent in the picture is that this board is equipped with an AGP Pro slot. You won't have any problems plugging in your AGP card and there is a neat little locking clip at the bottom of it just like on one of the memory slots. I tried it out with a few different cards and they all fit great including a 3dfx Voodoo 3 card.

I'd like to take a moment to point out that 3dfxCOOL sent us the heatsink/fan unit used for testing with this board. The Socket-AHO (Socket A High Output) was designed for Socket A from the get go. There are far too many stories of people crushing their pretty new Socket A CPU because they used a Socket370 heatsink on it. Bart Lane recently lowered the price to $15 from its original $20 - you can't beat that price for such a large high-quality heatsink. It even comes with a high output 60mm fan on top of it. The clip that holds it on is AMD approved - which is insurance for those who don't want to make a keychain out of their new CPU. Bart even has other Socket A stuff for your overclocking pleasure so I recommend you check out his stuff. We've never had a product that Bart sent us go bad, and his products are always of the highest quality. Nuff said?


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