Reinforcements: 6 New Athlon Boards With VIA's KT133A

AOpen AK73-1394 (A)

Do you still remember AOpen's first motherboard with black PCB? Almost one year ago they released the AX6BC Pro II Millennium Edition . In August 2000, we took a look at it. As people kept asking for those exclusive motherboards, AOpen decided to use this black color for their high end products every now and then.

The recent Athlon board is based on VIA's KT133A chipset and dyed black. The AK73-1394(A) is the only Athlon C-Type motherboard available with an integrated Firewire (IEEE1394) controller (Texas Instruments). Both Windows 98 and Windows 2000 recognize the board's 1394-chip by default, so that you basically do not require any drivers. However, the package includes everything you might need: A short installation instruction sheet plus an excellent manual, a full set of flat cables, a USB adapter cable to make use of two more USB ports, two CDs with Norton Anti Virus 2000 and drivers/utilities and last but not least the FireWire adapter cable.

Experienced users will be happy about the quick installation sheet, since it clearly explains every component.

There is not much need to configure the motherboard by hardware. Jumper JP21 is present to choose the frequency range: 100-120 MHz or 121 to 166 MHz. SW1 (dip switches) is ready to choose the CPU multiplier, which can also be done in the BIOS.

Like other AOpen Pro series motherboards, the AK73-1394 (A) comes with the dual BIOS called Die Hard BIOS. If one BIOS should ever fail due to a failed flash-procedure, you can switch to the alternative BIOS by setting JP30 to 2-3. AOpen is the only company to provide core voltages down to 1.1 Volts, btw.

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