Today we have the Shuttle AK31 V3.1 KT266A based motherboard up for review. Recently we have seen several manufacturers introduce their version of VIA's KT266A chipset based motherboards, and there are several reasons for this, most notably is that performance is very high, and the price is very low, as you'll see here today with the AK31.
Company: Shuttle Inc. Product: Shuttle AK31 V3.1 KT266A Motherboard Price: $80 approx Availability: Now Written by: Mack (SPeeD) Reviewed: February, 2001
Introduction: Today we have the Shuttle AK31 V3.1 KT266A based motherboard up for review. Recently we have seen several manufacturers introduce their version of VIA's KT266A chipset based motherboards, and there are several reasons for this, most notably is that performance is very high, and the price is very low, as you'll see here today with the AK31.
Shuttle has been kicking along now making motherboards since 1990 and are slowly but surely growing into a formidable company with many product offerings to keep consumers happy. What is truly impressive, is the options that this company offers in it's products, while still keeping prices quite a bit less than the competition.
Lets take a look at a few initial pics of the Shuttle as it arrived in the box and then move on to the technical specifications of the board itself.
Supports AMD K7 Socket A processors
Chipset (North bridge) VIA VT8366A (South bridge) VIA VT8233
Processor Socket A Supports AMD Athlon CPU up to 1.8G+ Supports AMD Duron CPU 950Mhz+ Supports AMD Mogan CPU 1.1GHz
Form Factor ATX Size: 305mm x 245mm
Expansion Slot 1 x AGP (4x AGP) 6 x PCI 1 x CNR
Memory 4 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
On board IDE Controller Supoort Ultra ATA 33/66/100 Transfer rate up to 100 MBytes/sec
Sound Onboard VIA AC97 Sound Card
Onboard I/O Controller 1 x Floppy port 2 x Serial port 1 x Parallel port (SPP, EPP, ECP port) 2 x USB port 2 X additional onboard USB port(Optional) 1 x Game port Li/Lo/Mic IrDA Header(Optional)
Accessories 1 CD-ROM disk contains: The VIA 4-in-1 driver VIA Audio Driver 1 User Manual 1 FDD cable 1 IDE ATA66/100 cable 1 Heat Sink with cooler attached on the North Bridge 1 APG RM
Also, with a BIOS update, this board supports AMD's new XP line of processors.
InitialImpressions: If you've dealt with a few different brands of motherboards, you'll notice how plain the box and packing are here with the Shuttle. Included with the motherboard you get the standard box, instructions, driver CD, and 1 floppy and IDE ATA/100 cable. Nothing more, nothing less. Lets us keep in mind however, this board is not aimed towards the high-end market, and in order to keep costs at a minimum, Shuttle decided to pass on a few frills. But honestly, what really matters is how this board runs.
Layout: The layout of a board is very important. Especially for those of us who enjoy building PC's and getting the most performance you can out of them. There's nothing worse than a poorly placed ATX connector, or a capacitor hindering your placement of a monster HSF to cool things down. Lets take a look at the AK31 V3.1
Above you'll see the general layout in the first pic on the left showing 6 PCI slots, 1 CNR, 4 Memory slots, IDE Connectors Chipset cooler and the CPU socket. I like the boards layout for the most part. The ATX connector is in a good spot high on the mobo for easy connection to the PSU. Also, 6 PCI slots is very nice and plenty for anyone. 5 is pretty much the standard lately (especially with onboard sound) and 6 is just icing on the cake. Also, the availability of 4 DDR Memory slots is another welcome plus. This board can handle up to 4Gigs of memory.
BIOS chips. It's big and it works. What else need be said?
Here are the LED, HD and PWR connectors at the bottom of the mobo. Standard fare. Also, in the middle the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th USB connectors. Having the ability to run 6 USB ports is a bonus, but you'll need the USB Adaptor card to take advantage of them. Finally, we have a pic of the CMOS jumper. Ahh.....the old CMOS jumper. Every good Overclocker knows where this is by heart and probably uses it regularly. Terminate pins 2 and 3 to reset the CMOS, then back to pins 1 and 2 for normal operation. It may be just what the Dr. ordered after a failed attempt at a high overclock.
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