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AOpen AK73 Pro SocketA Motherboard

Its been a couple of busy months in the lab recently. We've reviewed a handful of KT133 boards while also throwing in an Apollo Pro based board from AOpen. In the KT133 camp we reviewed the Azza KT133BX and the AOpen AK33 as well as the Soyo K7VTA. I was very impressed with the stability and features of AOpen's AK33 but disappointed by its lack of multiplier adjustments. AOpen has again stepped up to the plate. This time they sent the AK73 Pro motherboard and I think you will be happy with the improvement that the AK73 is over the AK33.

The Board
  • Socket A AMD CPU support
  • VIA KT133
  • Award System BIOS
  • ATA-100 Support
  • Onboard AC97 2.1 sound
  • 1 AGP, 5 PCI, 1 AMR
  • 4 USB ports
  • 3 Dimm slots
  • 3D PCI sound on board
  • 305mm x 244mm
  • Enlarged 24K Gold Plated Heatsink for Chipset
  • Overclocking Friendly

AOpen's AK73 Webpage

(+,-) $119 USD

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First Impressions

True to form the AK73 comes packed in a box with a window just like the AK33. What was once a neat box is now really cool thanks to the gold plated chipset heatsink. Did I say gold plated? I have to say that 24k gold is about the best finish I've ever seen on a chipset. Does gold really help dissipate heat better? I wouldn't think so since it is only gold plate and not solid. Nice look though.

The board once again is housed in a plastic tray instead of bubble wrap. That's a good safety measure to ensure your board doesn't arrive in pieces. 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, and the floppy ribbon. ATA 100? You heard right again. AOpen also includes Norton Antivirus 5 and Antivirus 2000 with each motherboard. Antivirus 5 can be found on the disk which includes the drivers for the board and Antivirus 2000 came on its own CD.

One thing that stands out immediately is that AOpen has included the extra 2 USB ports that take up an expansion slot. I like having 4 USB ports on a machine and not requiring the use of a hub to get all my components hooked up. Little touches like that go a long way towards making up a purchase decision.


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