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Conclusions

With on board sound that's one less PCI slot we need. So with 5 available PCI slots and one ISA slot I don't think the average user will have problems with running short on expansion slots. I'd love to see a manufacturer make a widely available modem for the orphaned AMR standard. The only AMR components I've come across were modems in OEM machines. While not having a sixth PCI slot to accommodate the AMR slot could be a downfall at least you are future protected should there actually be a flood of AMR components on the market. We saw a similar problem with USB in its infancy, so maybe AMR's best days are yet to come. All minor arguments aside, this board features a great layout and there is no shortage of capacitors to make sure none of your components ever becomes under powered. For the vast majority of users the on board 3D sound will be of sufficient quality for their needs. I'm a big fan of Creative's Live cards, but I had no problems with the sound output of this chip. For the true audiophiles out there you can disable the on board sound and go with whatever card you like. A minor complaint centers on the ribbon cables. In the past Azza has shipped a 40-pin IDE ribbon cable with their boards. This board lacked that, so make sure you don't lose track of the ribbon cables that came with your CD-ROM or HD.

We've congratulated Azza on their software bundle in the past, but here's how Oleg summed it up best: "We applaud Azza for their quality software bundle that comes with every single motherboard. First is a bonus pack featuring Virtual Drive, which is a CD-ROM emulator. This program allows you to run applications without the CD-ROM drive. You can copy & compress CD programs to the hard-drive and run them from that source instead or inserting your CD every time. The second bonus is Virus Buster; which as you may have guessed, is an Anti-Virus based application. "

Azza has seen the writing on the wall, and they know that a manufacturer has to do more than just make a good product to be noticed these days. Too many small companies are bogged down with just trying to come up with new products and aren't taking any effort in making their boards or accompanied software an addition to the purchase of their product. How many times do we see things thrown in as an afterthought?

Once I took everything into consideration I don't have any problems with a recommendation for this board. The memory speed can be controlled independently of the FSB so this makes it a better board for someone who is trying to pull every bit of performance possible from their system.The new socket A CPUs don't make good overclocking candidates when trying to change their FSB - the Duron 800 could only reach 880 MHz by bumping the FSB to 110 (The board features adjustments up to 132 MHz though). The fact that the KT133BX doesn't offer multiplier adjustment is a weakness for someone wanting a board for their overclocking dreams. Even after using the handy dandy #2 pencil trick on the CPU there were no multiplier adjustments available. If you don't mind running your Duron at its stock speed or just above with a FSB adjustment don't let this be the nail in the coffin . There are only a small amount of all the KT133 chipset motherboards that have multiplier adjustment on them and I experienced absolutely no stability problems with this motherboard. I even found it to be more stable than my trusty Abit BX board. Quite honestly, I was surprised by that, and after the great benchmarks I got with this combo at the stock CPU speed I plan to make it my main system. I can't think of a better endorsement than that.

Victor Oshiro October 24, 2000

 





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