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Last modified Dec AOpen's made another black motherboard. When this popular Taiwanese computer gear maker AOpen's the separate-components division of Acer feels particularly proud of a motherboard, they make a version with a black PCB and a shiny silver heatsink on the main Aopen AX34 II. Now, to most people, a black motherboard is about as interesting as a shiny enamelled engine for their car. It raises certain questions about one's life priorities.

For hardware enthusiasts, though, a Aopen AX34 II board with all the latest twiddly bits makes an excellent core for the latest revision of their screaming top-spec game machine. It's a built-for-speed overclockers' board, designed to give you the best possible chance of Aopen AX34 II your CPU running substantially faster than the sticker says it should. That doesn't mean the board's not happy running CPUs at stock speed - but if that's all you want to do, you might as well buy a cheaper motherboard.


Not that the Pro II's particularly expensive. This is a good price, for a motherboard with these specs. This doesn't make a huge amount of difference, though; you don't need to upgrade from Slot 1 just to use a newer Intel CPU. Aopen AX34 II CPUs can, with a "slotket" adapter, plug straight into Slot 1, and many Slot 1 motherboards work fine with the new chips. The surface finish on a heat sink that's primarily cooled by air flow is pretty much completely irrelevant, but it sure looks purty. They don't tell us whose military specification these circuit boards are alleged to meet.

Review: AOpen AX34 Pro II motherboard

Cynics might suggest that it's fairly easy to meet, say, Liberian Army computer materials specs. AOpen also refer to this board in their press bumf as "Black Beauty". Thank heaven it's actually a good motherboard, that's all I can say. Because the same drivers work with any Aopen AX34 II Pro A motherboard and the hardware's essentially identical, there's no significant difference in raw performance between them when they're running the same hardware at the same speed. Performance differences between computers Aopen AX34 II different motherboards, if there are any to speak of at all, come from the motherboards' extra features, like CPU and RAM overclocking and faster hard disk interfaces.

First up, it's got lots of CPU speed adjustment potential, which I'll deal with in detail in the "Overclocking" section below. Mere mortals don't need anything like that much, of course. Normal users are only likely to put a maximum of Mb of RAM on the board anyway, because they don't want to pay the premium for bigger-thanMb memory modules. Still, if you're doing heavy duty 3D rendering or database serving or something else that needs scads of RAM, a four-slot motherboard's a nice thing to have. It also makes it easy Aopen AX34 II make use of lower capacity modules from your old motherboard, and add more RAM, without running out of slots.

The southbridge chip on a motherboard, essentially, takes care of every function that the northbridge doesn't - the IDE bus, USB, Plug and Play, the PCI to ISA bus bridge connection if there is onekeyboard and mouse control, power management and so on. This is a neat feature for anyone that wants to install more than the usual four drives two drives can be connected to each motherboard IDE socketbut buggy drivers and occasional difficulties in booting from anything but the slower Via hard disk controller made the dual-controller boards a tad annoying. Four drives only, but no boot difficulties. But there's no harm in using it, if you've got it. The AMR slot's pretty much useless. AMR modems are dirt cheap it's now possible to buy them retail - only system integrators could get them at first but they're all "host based modems" that need special drivers in order to work.

This means they only work with operating systems that have drivers to suit them - often, just Windows.


And many host based modems have compatibility problems with some other modems. There's no point using the AMR slot for audio, because the AX34 Pro Aopen AX34 II, unusually for an overclockers' board, includes ACcompliant plain vanilla audio hardware, with the usual couple of inputs and single output on its rear-panel connector block, and on-board connectors for internal sound sources like modems and CD-ROM drives. Many overclockers, being fanatical gamers, don't want on-board sound - they want their shiny four-output positional audio board.

But if you don't like the AC97 sound, you can always disable it. It clearly doesn't Aopen AX34 II much to the price of the board. Overclockers also tend to have computers full of fans. The Pro II accommodates them with three speed-sensing three-pin fan headers, one of them near the AGP slot for after-market video card coolers. Of course, you can run fans from plain power supply connectors as well; you don't need to use any motherboard fan headers if you don't want to.

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But with three-wire fans, the headers let system monitoring software keep tabs on the fan speed, which is a handy feature. What you get Unlike the Aopen AX34 II black AX6BC, the black AX34 comes in a box with a window and a see-through clamshell plastic case, so it doesn't look normal even sitting on the shelf. There's also the usual drivers-and-manual CD, that gives you the manual again in Adobe Acrobat format as well as the support software for the board, and a free copy of Norton AntiVirus v6.


The only issue is a mechanical one - at by millimetres, this is an unusually large motherboard. It's got the standard ATX mounting screw holes, but it may be a tight fit in smaller cases. Overclocking The AX34 puts the big fat CPU power supply smoothing capacitors far enough away from the processor socket that there should be Aopen AX34 II to mount the most outrageous of chip coolers. And you may well have cause to do so.

AOpen AX34 Pro - motherboard - ATX - Socket - ProA Specs - CNET

Higher voltage means more heat. AOpen are rather more forward about the overclocking potential of their products than most other manufacturers. Model, AX34 Pro II. CPU: Socket Support Intel Pentium III, Celeron, VIA C3 CPU FSB MHz. Chipset: Aopen AX34 II X [Pro A] VIA B.

AOpen AX34 Pro II motherboard

Main Memory. Model, AXU. CPU: Socket Support Intel Pentium III, Celeron, VIA C3 CPU FSB MHz. Chipset: VIA T [Pro T] VIA B. Main Memory: PC

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