FIC KA-11 Motherboard Evaluation

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We found the KA-11 to be an exceptionally stable motherboard, and consider it to be an excellent choice for business use. Game players will want to check other hardware reviews for suitability with today’s 3D games, and compatibility with the current high-end video cards available.

Though we did not post any benchmark results here, our tests with VIA Apollo Pro chipsets indicates that it is every bit as good a performer as the i440BX or i820 chipset, with the exception of the graphics. VIA seems to lag behind the Intel solutions by a few percent, which should only be of concern to hardcore gamers.

While we do not spend a lot of time on overclocking, the FSB options do allow some overclocking, and we successfully ran processors at all FSB speeds, with the exception noted at the beginning regarding the inability to override the default FSB range. We did use an IWill Slocket II with a PIII 500E running at FSB speeds up to 150MHz with no problems encountered (other than memory errors due to the FSB).

The KA-11 gets high marks from us as a very stable board with some interesting usability features. Since Intel still does not have a decent officially sanctioned 133MHz capable chipset with AGP 4x and UDMA/66, the only choice at this time is a VIA Apollo Pro133A motherboard, and FIC has provided one that we feel good about recommending.We found the KA-11 to be an exceptionally stable motherboard, and consider it to be an excellent choice for business use. Game players will want to check other hardware reviews for suitability with today’s 3D games, and compatibility with the current high-end video cards available.

Based upon our tests, we have the following set of recommendations:

  • We always use brand name memory modules from such manufacturers as Crucial Technology, Corsair, EMS and Apacer. There have been some issues in the past regarding memory compatibility with FIC (and other) motherboards, so try to get a guarantee that the memory you plan on using has been tested and verified to work (particularly if you are buying the memory at the same time). If you have generic memory, you may want to prepare for possible compatibility problems (this is good advice for any motherboard purchase).
  • Unless you are very familiar with your memory, and the various timings only the ‘Performance’ 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 memory timings, but realize that this might make your system unstable. If you choose the performance settings, and your system has problems, try changing them to the ‘Fail Safe’ defaults to see if the problem goes away.
  • 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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