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The Layout

Here's the bigger picture straight from FIC's website. Let's discuss a couple of cons of having such a small PCB from top to bottom. I'm not going to ding the lack of more memory slots though. Let's face it. If you want to be on the bleeding edge you probably don't mind having to buy larger memory capacity initially once you do the conversion.

Take notice that the connectors for the IDE components and the floppy drive are very low on this board. I run a full tower and found that I had to juggle my CD-ROM and DVD-ROM into lower full bays to get the IDE ribbon cable to reach. This is the first motherboard I've had to tdo that with. Also, take notice at how low the ATX power connector is. I'm lucky enough to have a long ATX power cable so I could route the wires around the CPU heatsink. The idea of having to drag those wires over the heatsink's fan isn't a very pleasant one. Here's another strange layout situation: the connector for your CD-ROM audio cable is under the video card. Minor point but make sure you hook up that audio cable before you insert your video card.

Let's move on to some positive things. Notice the total lack of ISA? Let's face it. If you have ISA components its time to upgrade since you are going to have a hard time finding ISA slots on many of the newest boards. ISA components have always been a headache for me so seeing those slots removed doesn't bother me one bit.

FIC doesn't have a problem with people using their boards to overclock a CPU. Take a look at the top of the picture and you will see two sets of jumpers. Here's where FIC scores big points with me. The AOpen AK73 Pro only offered CPU multiplier adjustments on the board. This meant I had to try to adjust the voltage in the BIOS - which was a no go since the system locked up every time I selected a high multiplier. I had a pretested Duron 600 that can reach 950 MHz on other boards. It got nowhere near its max with the AK73 Pro. Along comes the AD11 which is equipped with a multiplier adjustment AND a voltage jumper. Praise the heavens someone listened! Yes, having these features adjustable from within the BIOS is ideal but I'll settle for jumpers when they offer the features I need.


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