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MOTHERBOARDS

AOpen AK86-L Motherboard Review
By: DMOS
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  • Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 26
    2004-08-24

    Table of Contents:
  • AOpen AK86-L Motherboard Review
  • Board Layout
  • The BIOS
  • Testing the AK86-L
  • Testing the AK86-L, Part 2
  • Testing the AK86-L, Part 3
  • Testing the AK86-L, Part 4
  • Testing the AK86-L, Part 5
  • Testing the AK86-L, Part 6
  • Conclusion

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    AOpen AK86-L Motherboard Review


    (Page 1 of 10 )

    Motherboards come in two types: those that let the extras in the box wow people, and those that let board performance do it for them. Today, we take a look at one of the latter, with the AOpen AK86-L K8T800-based motherboard. Highs: No gimmicks, great board layout, and quiet PC features. Lows: No AGP/PCI lock, recent cop-outs in the BIOS, and a battery that's just an accident waiting to happen.

    AOpen AK86-L ReviewA company like AOpen needs very little introduction. They've been a mainstay in the computer component business for longer than I've been in the information business.

    In fact, AOpen motherboards and I have some history. My first system that I built from the start to be an overclocked monster used their AX6BC board. That was from the heyday of 440BX chipsets and Celeron 300's. Back in 1998, the AX6BC as well as ABIT BH6, were the top boards dedicated to enthusiasts.

    Things haven't changed too much in the past six years, with the exception of AOpen not concentrating as much on the enthusiast population, but instead on the lucrative OEM market. With the AK86-L, they are here to show they haven't forgotten what they learned in times past.

    Specifications

    From the outset, the board follows the "stripper" model. Instead of frivolous add-ons like four port SATA RAID controllers plumbed through the constricted PCI bus, we find a two port version connected to the VIA 8237 South Bridge. Check the table below for the full specs:

    CPU
    • AMD Athlon 64 CPU
    • Socket 754
    • 800MHz
    Chipset
    • Via K8T800
    • Via 8237
    Super I/O
    • Winbond
    Clock Gen.
    • Cypress
    Main Memory
    • Support DDR400 (PC3200)
    • DDR DIMM x 3
    • DIMM Type: 64/128/256/512MB & 1GB
    • Max Memory: 3GB
    Graphics
    • 8X AGP slot
    IDE
    • Integrated ATA133 and Serial ATA Controller
    • Max Disk: 144,0001000GB (by 48 bits LBA Spec.)
    LAN
    • Realtek Gigabit PCI Lan Chip
    • Integrated Realtek PHY
    Sound
    • Realtek AC97 CODEC on-board
    • 5.1 Channel
    USB
    • USB2.0 x 8
    Slots
    • AGP x 1
    • PCI x 5
    Storage & Back Panel I/O
    • Floppy Drive Connector x 1
    • IDE Channel: ATA133 x 2
    • Serial ATA Channel x 2
    • PS/2 Keyboard x 1
    • PS/2 Mouse x 1
    • USB Port x 4
    • LAN Port x 1
    • COM Port x 1
    • Printer Port x 1
    • Speaker_Out x 1
    • Line_In x 1
    • MIC_In x 1
    On Board Connector
    • Front Panel x 1
    • Front Audio x 1
    • CPU Fan x 1
    • System Fan x 1
    • Chassis Fan x 1
    • Power Fan x 1
    • Power Temperature Connector x 1
    • SmartEar connector x 1
    • Case Open Connector x 1
    • AUX_IN x 1
    • CD_IN x 1
    • IrDA x 1
    • S/PDIF x 1
    • COM2 x 1
    • Game Connector x 1
    • USB Port x 4

    The board isn't lacking the essentials. For LAN connectivity, there's the ubiquitous GBe which has basically become standard equipment. Theres also a plethora of USB ports, with four of them integrated into the back plane. While those on the bleeding edge would rather lose the ancient COM and printer ports in exchange for Firewire or more USB, the ports don't seem ready to die off yet and are included here. There is also 5.1 channel audio provided by the Realtek ALC655 PHY. The problem with this board is that its set up for S/PDIF; however, the port is not there on I/O plate, nor is a PCI bracket included in the box. You have to buy that separately.

    AOpen AK86-L Motherboard Review

    AOpen AK86-L Motherboard Review

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