Transcend TS-AKXA Motherboard Evaluation

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Transcend is a very well known memory module manufacturer in Taiwan, founded in 1988, with products under their own name as well as doing contract work for a number of other 3rd party manufacturers. Transcend decided to enter into the motherboard marketplace a few years ago, but have not yet become extremely well known.

During late in May, I was given the opportunity to evaluate the TS-AKXA motherboard, a Slot A motherboard based upon the VIA KX133 chipset. Though it was known at the time that there were issues with regard to the Thunderbird, I decided to go through with the evaluation for two reasons. First was the knowledge that AMD was still planning to manufacture some Slot A Athlons with Aluminum interconnects in Fab 25 (copper based Athlons are the ones incompatible with the KX133, from all reports), but the second reason was simply to evaluate a Transcend motherboard of any kind.

In the weeks since the initial reports of Tbird/KX133 incompatibilities, AMD has indicated that they will continue to manufacture Slot A for the time being to help manufacturers use up their inventory of KX133 chipsets, which is good news for both manufacturers and consumers. Though specific speed grades have not been discussed, it is likely that they will be available in speeds up to at least 1GHz, so the upgrade path is still reasonably good for those that start with 700MHz systems.

My own experience with this motherboard is actually quite good, and it appears that Transcend actually does a good job of adhering to their mission of producing products only when they are sure they can be the best. After performing my own evaluation, I decided to read up on some of the other reports of Transcend motherboards (I didn’t want to have others influence my opinion before I started testing). I found that the general consensus is the same as the conclusion I have come to: Transcend makes quality motherboards, and are definitely worth a serious look.

The test system included the following components:

  • AMD Athlon 500MHz
  • AMD Athlon 900MHz
  • 3 x 128MB Crucial Technology/Micron PC133 SDRAM (384MB total)
  • 1 x 128MB Corsair PC133 SDRAM
  • 1 x 128MB EMS PC133 HSDRAM
  • Sparkle 300W ATX power supply (model: ST-301HR)
  • IBM Deskstar 22GXP 9.1GB UDMA66 IDE hard drive
  • Western Digital AC8.4GB UDMA66 IDE hard drive
  • Toshiba XM-6602B 32x IDE CDROM
  • Adaptec 2940UW SCSI Controller
  • Toshiba XM-5401B 4x SCSI CDROM
  • Voodoo3 3000 16MB Video Card
  • Diamond Viper V770 Ultra 32MB Video Card

Diagnostics and Benchmark Software:

  • Winstone99 Business Tests (Win98, Win2K) – ZDBOp
  • Content Creation 2000 (Win98, Win2K) – ZDBOp
  • Burn-in Test (Win98, Win2K) – Passmark
  • QuickTech Pro 2000 (Self-booting) – Ultra-X
  • RAM Stress Test – Ultra-X

Diagnostics Hardware:

  • PHD Plus card – Ultra-X
  • PHD PCI card – Ultra-X

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