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Overclocking

Overclocking isn't this board's forte. You can make FSB adjustments to get a few extra MHz but realistically Tyan focused their energy in a much better direction. By allowing 4-way interleaving and making more options available in the BIOS I was able to get a very impressive amount of performance without having to increase the speed of the CPU. This is a good time to point out that my PC100 that normally has no problems running all the way up to 138 MHz ran well at 133 MHz until I enabled 4-way interleaving. Takes a good stick of memory for 4-way interleaving to work but at least you can still use your trusty PC100 until you are ready to move up. Again, for around $70 you can pick up a stick of PC133 like I did at BestBUY and take full advantage of 4-way interleaving. For those of you who wish you could do this but your motherboard doesn't support the feature please see this page at VIA Hardware. This program can enable 4-way interleaving even if your motherboard BIOS doesn't. Just make sure that your chipset is one of the units listed - and do I have to mention that we're not responsible if this hoses your system? Hate to throw in a disclaimer when I put a link to a great program but you wouldn't believe the angry e-mail I get sometimes. Everyone who has good results with this program throw our Andrew Oliver a note of thanks for finding this little program.

Conclusions

The AK73 claimed to support 266 MHz FSB CPUs but in reality didn't. I was able to begin booting into Windows before the KTa's overly sensitive temperature mechanism would shut the computer down. Yes, at 1.2 GHz the Athlon can second as a room heater so I would hope that there will be a BIOS fix for this. Take note that even though it was running hot this Athlon ran stable on the FIC AD11 at 1.2 GHz without any problems.

The layout on the KTa is the best I've come across. Most of us still have soundcards we can use with it so this is a pretty good upgrade path for those of you who decided to hold out for the 266 FSB Athlons. So, for a system that has near the performance of the DDR FIC AD11 you can pick up the Tyan KTa and not have to deal with the expense of DDR. You'll notice that the FIC AD11 and this board share the same score on the first page of their reviews. I could have easily awarded the KTa an Editor's Choice award but I'm concerned that the issue with the thermal sensor may appear if high speed 200 MHz Athlons are used. AMD is releasing several Athlons with the 200 MHz FSB that are clocked equal to the the 266 parts so I'm dubious of this board being overly sensitive to the temperatures that they emit.

Despite the poor layout of the AD11 it makes a simpler upgrade. In the last month DDR prices have dropped so you should be able to find 128 MB of DDR2100 for around $100. That is something to consider, especially since the AD11 had no hangups with the 266 MHz Athlon.

Victor Oshiro April 19, 2001

 





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