Conclusions and Recommendations
The FIC AZ-11 was a very capable performer that seems like a design headed on the right track. Like the SD-11, the AZ-11 is coming out early and will most likely benefit from minor revision tweaking in the near future. If you just have to have a Socket A board immediately, the AZ-11 would be a reasonable choice. The stability of the board was very good and will probably only get better in the future.
Overall though, some time will be needed before Socket A boards have all the kinks ironed out and it becomes the platform to covet. Any time you are adopting the earliest models of a new processor form factor and mainboard chipset, you need to be wary of being on the bleeding edge. Early adopters have the fun of finding out the problems that will be subsequently fixed in follow on board revisions. Business users will probably want to wait awhile to see how things flush out in the market for Socket A boards. Many designs are forthcoming this fall and as the market matures, so will the quality of offerings.
Based upon our tests, we have the following set of recommendations:
- The KT133 chipset allows the memory bus to be run at +33MHz or -33MHz of the FSB. There have been some claims that the +33MHz option does not work on all motherboards, and we were not able to confirm whether this is the case for this particular model or not. Check with the FIC website, or contact FIC technical support for further information. If we can get confirmation on this issue, we will update this article.
- If you are going to flash your BIOS, remember to turn off the BIOS Guardian feature first. Failure to do so will result in a flash error, which no indication why, possibly causing lost time and frustration (and perhaps even unnecessary shipping charges!)
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