AOpen AX34 Pro II
Socket 370 Motherboard
When I reviewed the AOpen
AK33 SocketA motherboard I was blown away by its stability and design.
That got me wondering if their top of the line Apollo Pro board could be just
as impressive. The AX34 Pro II features one of the best arrangements around,
and when you throw in a couple of neat features like AOpen did, makes for
a very nice purchase.
- Socket 370 Intel
- VIA Apollo Pro
- Award System
- Onboard AC97
- 1 AGP, 6 PCI,
- 4 Dimm slots
- 3D PCI sound
- 305mm x 244mm
- Ultra DMA 100
The first thing that struck me
when I opened the box for the AX34 Pro II was the black PCB of this board.
Its very attractive and does a lot to separate this board from the standard
green PCBs that other manufacturers are still using. The second thing of notice
is that there are four memory slots. I don't know what happened when manufacturers
began building the Apollo and Apollo Pro chipset boards, but three memory
slots became the standard. Inside that sea of black is a neat polished aluminum
heatsink on the chipset - pretty nice touch AOpen.
The board comes sandwiched in
a plastic tray which should keep even the most evil delivery company personnel
from hurting your new purchase. Inside
the tray you will also find some of the best documentation I've seen. Not
only does AOpen include the normal manual (which is very complete) - they
also throw in a quick start-up guide that folds out like a map. You can follow
the guide to make sure you make your connections properly and be up and running
in just minutes. Also in the box are the
ATA-100 80 pin ribbon cable, a normal 40 pin ribbon cable, an extra set of
USB ports (more later), and the floppy ribbon cable. As if throwing in an
extra memory socket wasn't enough, AOpen even threw in an extra PCI slot.
Five should be the industry standard, but more and more manufacturers are
trying to get away with only four PCI slots. Needless to say I think all boards
should come with at least five, and preferably six, like the AX34 Pro II.
Speaking of throwing stuff in - how does a copy of Norton Antivirus 5 and
Antivirus 2000 sound? Antivirus 5 can be found on the disk which includes
the drivers for the board and Antivirus 2000 came on its own CD.