18 Eylül 2007 Salı


The DFI AK74-SC is a Socket A motherboard based around the KT133 chipset from VIA, and thus designed to house the latest generation of AMD CPUs: the Athlon "Thunderbird", and the Duron. Both processors use a Socket 462 interface, which is itself quite similar in concept to the Socket 370 interface used by Intel. One thing to note is that the "SC" rendition of the board that we'll be reviewing features an integrated AC"97-compatible sound card, while the "SU" makes use of an ES1373 audio chipset. That said, let's get down to business...

The features
The DFI AK74-SC is expandable via its 5 PCI slots, 1 ISA slot, single AGP port, and an AMR slot. There are also 3 168-pin DIMM sockets available, which can support upto 1.5GB of PC100, PC133, or VCM memory. As you can see, DFI has come to the brilliant realization that supporting at least one ISA slot maintains compatibility with a small ocean of legacy ISA cards. This makes upgrading a little easier, as it means there will be one less ISA card to replace in the new system - presuming you had any to begin with.
Configuration of the AK74-SC is accomplished from within the BIOS. To adjust the operating frequency of the CPU, simply jump to the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu in the BIOS. In fact, when we did just that, we were surprised to learn that the AK74-SC presented us with the ability to set a frequency ranging from 100MHz-133MHz in 1MHz increments. Of course, there is no option provided for changing the clock multiplier, but such a feature is useless without an "unlocked" processor in any case. Within the "Chipset Features Setup" menu, there also lies an option permitting the memory bus to be set to an independent frequency of 100MHz, or 133MHz.Unfortunately, no option is provided for adjusting the CPU's core voltage.

Technical details
A sizable space has been set aside for the processor, and thus permits the installation of larger heatsinks.The memory slots are located far enough from the AGP slot that there is no risk of the memory retention clips coming in contact with the graphics card.The processor socket is surrounded by 12 1500mfd capacitors. This is, in our opinion, a little weak; 2200mfd capacitors would have been a better option.The CPU retention lever is made of plastic. It is therefore make especially important to make sure that all the CPU pins are inserted properly before clamping it down - carefully - with the lever, in order to avoid to break it.There are 3 fan connectors available, which should be enough for the vast majority of situations.Hardware monitoring is accomplished by VIA's KT133 chipset internal circuitry.This board does not allow for the manual assignment of IRQs.The BIOS lacks any function which would permit users to "undo" recently made changes, by the use of the "Home" or "insert" keys at power-on. This very effectively slows Overclocking tests, as it forces users (such as ourselves) to reset the BIOS via a jumper, and then reset every BIOS settings from scratch.

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