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Tyan Trinity KTa SocketA Motherboard

The FIC AD11 posted the best numbers ever to come out of our SocketA testing. Now to give credit where it is due a lot of that was the result of its DDR memory. Now that we have established that we have to also mention that at this point DDR is still expensive and nowhere near inexpensive like PC133 memory. Good 'ol SDRAM still has a lot of future, especially since you can purchase a stick of PC133 for quite a bit less than $100. When I tested the AOpen AK73 I had hoped that there was a big jump to accompany AMD's recent move to a 266 MHz FSB Athlon. Well, the AK73 could not post at 266 and I was stuck at 900 MHz with the 1.2 GHz CPU that AMD sent. Enter Tyan and the Trinity KTa motherboard. Tyan has produced some very impressive motherboards in the past so let's see what the KTa has up its sleeve.

The Board
  • Socket A AMD CPU support
  • PC133 support
  • Apollo KT133A chipset
  • ATA-100 Support
  • 1 AGP, 6 PCI, 1 ISA
  • 3 SDRAM slots
  • 8.2" x 12"

Tyan Trinity KTA page
Approx $130 USD

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First Impressions

When I pulled the board out of its box I was very impressed by its small size. Tyan has put together one of the cleanest PCB layouts I've seen in regards to SocketA CPUs. The CPU socket is high on the board with the ATX power connector on the edge of the board right above it. One thing that really bothered me with the FIC AD11 board was that its power connector was located near the center of the board. That makes for a very long ATX cable if you are using a full tower case. There is a temperature thermister built into the CPU socket center for monitoring CPU temperature (more on that later).

Two more things immediately stood out about the KTa on my first inspection. First was that Tyan has chosen to include an ISA slot instead of the CNR slots most other manufacturers are using. This makes great sense. While those of you who have read my other reviews are familiar with my aversion to ISA as a whole I'd much rather see this slot instead of the CNR/AMR slot that is typically found on newer boards. Go to whatever store you buy your comuter stuff at and let me know if you come across a CNR/AMR component. They just aren't available. So, I'd rather see the dinosoar ISA slot instead of a slot that will be totally useless. We've been seeing CNR/AMR slots for about a year now and my personal feeling is that we are more likely to see built-in ethernet and modems before we'll ever see CNR/AMR components widely available. Move onto the next page to see what else I found out about this board.

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