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Transcend TS-AVE3

Transcend TS-AVE3

6/10- Appoved

Transcend has been around since 1988. They are best known for their quality memory products. Their memory products cover the entire digital spectrum, including high-end workstations, servers, desktops, notebooks and PDA’s, printers, digital cameras, fax machines and even Game Consoles.

The TS-AVE3 is transcends latest FC-PGA motherboard based on the latest VIA 694X/686A AGP set. The AVE3 board features a jumperless control panel for front side bus adjustments. The featured JP4 jumper allows you to set the FSB speed in three different options via BIOS: 66, 100, 133MHz. When you go for the 66Mhz option, you would have the choice of going from 66MHz to 95MHz through the frequency/Voltage BIOS Control. When the jumper is set to 100MHz, you have the choice of selecting a system bus frequency from 100-124MHz. At last, when it is set at 133MHz you can select a frequency from 124 to 150MHz.
The AVE3 features a normal expansion interface for an Appollo133A board (PCI/ISA/AMR/AGP). It includes one ISA slot, for the folks using older peripherals, followed by an AMR slot and continuing with five PCI slots.

This product features three DIMM slots. That is considered as a standard for this particular chip-set. You can go as high as 1.5GB of memory. Supported memory includes synchronous DRAM, Virtual Channel Memory and ECC memory. The DIMM slots do not interfere with the AGP slot when the video card is inserted. This little problem has been noticed on several of today’s motherboards and it generally results in unpleasant experiences. The Layout itself is very well suited for a FC-PGA motherboard and offers what we would expect of Transcend.

As you may already saw, the positioning of the HDD/FDD connector ports are very comfortable, as they are out of the way of all components. This board features two 40-pin IDE connectors marked as IDE1 and IDE2. Each connector supports two IDE devices. The AVE3 board features a built in 3D Audio Chip thanks to the AC97 codec. This particular chip-set is very similar to the Sound-Blaster 16 card and should satisfy most of the users. However, if you are playing a lot of games and/or use a multi-channel sound system, you would be better off with a normal high end audio card as the SBLIVE or MX400. The implanted audio solution features five different video connectors on the PCB. These connectors allow you to receive stereo audio input from sound sources such as CD-ROM drives and TV Tuners.

Thanks to the use of the latest VT82C686A south-bridge, this board supports up to four USB ports. Transcend included an external USB connector featuring two optional USB inputs. However, it is not perfect when touching the expansion arena. This external connector must be plugged into an 8-pin male port on the motherboard, and this male port is situated right in front of the fifth PCI slot. This results in an interferance problem. I tried to insert a standard 3COM Ethernet Adapter and 2 different sound-cards (SBLIVE, MX400) and did not have any luck as the female plug of the USB adapter was blocking the way. I cannot confirm that this problem will persist with all PCI cards, but from my test, it seemed like it will with most.

Transcend included one IDE cable, an 80-pin cable for newer hard-drives based on the UDMA/66 Standard, and one FDD cable is bundled to use with your floppy drive. A good manual covering all the features and specification is included, and last a Transcend branded CD-ROM including the sound drivers, utilities and some troubleshooting information.

The TS-AVE3 finished last in most benchmarks. The TS-AVE3 could usesome improvements in the area of its architecture. Another problem I noticed was its BIOS setup. After choosing the right jumpered FSB settings to select the 133MHz FSB, the board did not display any FSB’s higher than 112MHz. For this matter, I contacted Transcend and requested a second sample. Surprisingly the second unit had the exact same problem. This seems to be something related to the BIOS. Perhaps the TS-AVE3 is experiencing some BIOS problems too? I decided to plug a 733MHz EB processor in to see what happens. The board autodected everything correctly. I'll be contacting Transcend next week and will keep you up to date. At 100MHz, the board peformed the slowest although no stability issues were noticed. The TS-AVE3 is looking great, unfortunantly because of some design issues, it cannot make it to the recommended list.

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