Aopen AX64 Pro Motherboard Evaluation

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Conclusions and Recommendations

The Aopen AX64 Pro appears to be an very stable and reliable motherboard, making it a very good choice for businesses. While some may not appreciate the on-board audio, most business users do not require a high-end sound card on their system. For many, the convenience of integrated audio will likely outweigh any issues to the contrary – and the AMR slot provides some additional flexibility as well.

This does not appear to be the fastest of all Pentium II/III boards available, making it an unlikely candidate for the overclocker/gamer looking to get the highest frame rate in Quake 3. However, for those whose value reliability and stability over raw speed, you can’t go wrong choosing this motherboard. The only concern I have with this motherboard is the failures with the ISA bus, but it is possible that these timing issues were corrected before the motherboard was released to the channel.

Based upon the test results, I have the following set of recommendations:

  • If using an ISA card, try to get verification from either your vendor or AOpen that the card has been tested and is fully compatible.
  • Unless you are very familiar with your memory, and the various timings only the ‘Optimal’ and ‘Fail Safe’ defaults should be used in the BIOS for the memory timings. If you are sure that your SDRAM can handle it, you might consider tweaking the BIOS settings for slightly faster performance.
  • Avoid using the 83.3 or 124MHz FSB settings, as the PCI clock will be running above 41MHz. Many cards may be able to handle this, but if you do use this setting turn down the FSB speed first before assuming any stability problems are due to the motherboard itself. Also, use the 150MHz FSB setting only if absolutely certain that your memory can handle it. Most 7.5ns (PC133) modules will start showing intermittent data errors above 140MHz.

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