Conclusions and Recommendations
Our past experience with AOpen, as a reseller and as users, has always been very positive. With the exception of a few specific models, their motherboards have traditionally enjoyed a very high customer satisfaction rating, and for very good reason. Though the price is generally not the lowest, their quality engineering and construction has resulted in one of the lowest return rates in the industry overall. They have alway been on the leading edge in regards to usability features, and are now beginning to focus on the overclocking and gaming market.
The AX6BC Pro Gold does not have quite the range of overclocking options that other manufacturers have implemented, which may be considered a limitation to the more avid overclockers. For this reason, we can’t really call this the ‘ultimate’ overclockers motherboard, but it does have exceptional stability and ease of use. For those who don’t want to spend hours tweaking BIOS settings and trying every conceivable FSB setting, this is an excellent choice due to the great usability features.
For more mainstream uses, this board is very stable and should provide decent upgrade path. Though 600MHz is the official ‘top end’, 133MHz processors should be able to operate without any problems. With voltages from 1.3v to 3.5v and multipliers to 8x, there should not be any problems using future Slot 1 processors (for however long they might be offered). The only limitation we see is the 768MB maximum memory size, which could be an issue for those wanting a high-end workstation or mid-sized business server.
Overall, we consider this to be one of the top Slot 1 motherboards available today, as well as the easiest to setup. Systems integrators looking for a low-maintenance board should find the resettable keyboard fuse, boot block BIOS, Quick BIOS reset and batteryless design very desireable. The variety of power saving options and known quality of engineering should also appeal to corporate decision makers.
Based upon our tests, we have the following set of recommendations.
- FSB speeds above 133MHz are not advisable considering the current limitations of SDRAM. With 150MHz parts becoming available soon, this should be a short term limitation – however we do not make any claims of reliable operation beyond what we have actually tested.
- While the gold plated heatsink should provide slightly better cooling of the North Bridge than ‘standard’ aluminum heatsinks, much depends upon the ambient temperature inside the case. If you intend to overclock aggressively, be sure to have adequate cooling solutions for the case, as well as the processor itself. Airflow is extremely critical, and can be the difference between a stable system and an unstable user.
Be the first to discuss this article!