Conclusions and Recommendations
This motherboard is, without a doubt, one of the most stable motherboards we have tested. We ran numerous tests over a span of a full week, and never encountered a single problem. This is simply one of the best engineered motherboards we have laid our hands on.
The overclocking features of the board are quite extensive. The number of FSB speeds available is enough to keep even the most avid overclocker busy for quite some time experimenting in order to achieve the ‘optimum’ settings. One note of caution is that FSB speeds faster than what the memory can handle may cause some instability to creep in, despite the quality engineering of the board. In our tests, PC100 memory began to exhibit random data errors at speeds above 112MHz, while PC133 memory began to fail at speeds above 138MHz. While applications may seem to run well at greater FSB speeds, most are running mostly from cache and the occasional system hang or crash should be considered a warning that the FSB speed should be backed off a bit.
The only negative comment we can make is in regards to the ‘recovery’ options for overclocking failures. The procedure is outlined in the manual, and requires unplugging the power and setting the CMOS jumper. This could be quite inconvenient for those who want to play with the settings aggressively. What would have been nice is a feature, such as AOpen has implemented, which simply requires a set of keystrokes at POST time to reset the BIOS.
Based upon our tests, we have the following set of recommendations.
- Whatever the intended use, this motherboard should be more than adequate to handle the job, whether it be for gaming, corporate desktops, small business servers or high-end workstations. We did not run any high-end server tests, so we cannot make a recommendation in regards to such usage, but chances are that stability will not be an issue even in that situation.
- Take care when playing with the various FSB speeds of the BIOS. It is quite easy to get a bit overzealous and choose settings which will render the system unbootable until the CMOS is reset. As indicated above, this is a somewhat inconvenient exercise – but that might be a good thing in this case, since that might temper the desire to spend hours playing with the settings.
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