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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.

The Board
  • Socket 370 Intel Support
  • VIA Apollo Pro 133A
  • Award System BIOS
  • Onboard AC97 2.1 sound
  • 1 AGP, 6 PCI, 1 AMR
  • 4 Dimm slots
  • 3D PCI sound on board
  • 305mm x 244mm
  • Ultra DMA 100 support

AOpen's AX34 Pro II Webpage

(+,-) $134 USD

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First Impressions

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.


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