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The Layout

Its nice to see a return to 3 memory slots. Yes, 256 MB and 512 MB memory sticks are readily available, but I like having more choices as far as where I can place my memory and also in what types of configurations I want to use.

Soltek did a very nice job of placing the CPU socket high on the board with the ATX power connector right on the edge of the board. This makes for a much cleaner install since you don't have to worry about having the ATX wires running across the motherboard. One very nice thing about this motherboard is that it has 4 onboard fan power connectors. I've seen a few HSF units that had two fans on them and thus each needed their own power connection. Two of these power connectors are located just above the CPU socket and on more is just below it close to the AGP slot. The fourth one is in the lower right corner of the motherboard. Nice layout and amount of connectors. Soltek supports up to 6 USB ports on this motherboard. Two are onboard and a user can purchase two additional cables that connect to the motherboard to get the other four USB ports. USB hubs are quite inexpensive and that would probably be a better route to go but it is nice that Soltek took into consideration the person that doesn't want an external hub to power all their USB components.

If you look closely you'll see that there are two jumpers above the CPU socket. These two jumpers allow you to set the CPU ratio and voltage in 0.075v increments should you coose. What may be a little harder to see is the third set of jumpers just to the left of the AGP slot. This jumper set is for setting your FSB. If you are running a 266 MHz Athlon then you will definately need to adjust this one. Default for this jumper is 100 MHz but you can choose 110, 120, 133.3, 140, or 150 MHz. But there's even more for overclockers. Soltek includes a utility that is run from the BIOS setup area that allows you to set your FSB in 1 MHz increments and also allows CPU voltage adjustments. More later on my overclocking results. About the only feature I couldn't find in the BIOS was an option to enable 4 way interleaving for the memory. All that flexibility in overclocking options is a rarity so I applaud Soltek's commitment to overclockers.

 





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