Shuttle AK35GTR VIA KT266A socket A DDR

Wednesday, January 23, 2002


Introduction

Following the launch of the AK31 rev 3, Shuttle was showered with praise. The Rev 3 was almost universally claimed for its performance, something few Shuttle boards could claim in the past. Furthermore, despite being targeted towards the mid-end of the market, the AK31 rev 3 was supplied with a wide range of Overclocking items, which quickly endeared it to tweakers everywhere. This time, with the AK35GRT, Shuttle is aiming a bit higher, by including both an integrated RAID controller, and a 6-channel out C-Media sound-card.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Characteristics of the Shuttle AK35GTR
CPU
Socket A CPU AMD Duron CPU with 200MHz FSB
AMD Athlon CPU with 200 / 266MHz FSB
Chipset
VIA KT266A VT8366A + VT8233A
Form factor
ATX - 30.5cm X 24.5cm
Expansion
6 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 4 USB
Memory
4X 184-pin DIMM 4Gb DDR SDRAM PC600 - PC2100
FSB
100MHz ˆ 200MHz in steps of 1MHz
Vcore adj.
1.1 to 1.85v in steps of 0.025v and 1.9v to 2.2v in steps of .1v
Vio adj.
2.55v, 2.60v, and 2.70v
Audio chipset
C-Media 8738


Audio

The Shuttle AK35GTR's sound capabilities are provided by an integrated C-Media CMI8738 audio-chip. The CMI8738 supports 5.1 speaker-configurations, with 6 lines-out, including a central bass subwoofer channel.

From a sound standpoint, the C-Media¨ CMI8738 has very little to envy of other audio-chips. It supports up to 32 polyphonic voices, EAX effects, and supports both Microsoft DirectSound 3D, and Aureal A3D.

Unfortunately, Shuttle did not see fit to provide the RCA or optical jacks that would allow for the treatment of digital or SPDIF signals, though the C-Media chip is quite cable of handling these functions.



The configuration

The Shuttle AK35GTR has been blessed with a nearly Jumperless design. The only two on-board jumpers worth mentioning, in fact, are JP2 (used to reset the BIOS), and JP5 (used to write-protect the BIOS).

All other configuration matters are handled from within the BIOS, with CPU-specific functions located in the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu.

Once there, users will be presented with several options, including the option to set the FSB frequency to between 100MHz and 200MHz in steps of 1MHz.

The clock multiplier is also adjustable to between 5.5X and 12.5X, as are the Vcore and Vio voltages, which can be set to any of the values indicated in the table above.

Finally, as you might expect, a number of memory-timing settings can be adjusted from within the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu. Among the more interesting features, we found the option to set the independent memory bus to 100Mhz or 133Mhz, or, set it to SPD (Serial Presence Detect) in order to allow the value to be determine automatically



Comments

As you may have realized by our description, the AK35GTR is quite similar to the AK31 Rev3. It comes with 6 PCI slots, 4 memory slots, and all these connectors, including its disk and ATX connectors are located in the exact same place as the latter. In fact, if you really compare the two, its apparent that Shuttle recycled much of the AK31's design for use in the AK35GTR. Of course, there is absolutely nothing bad about that. In fact, its a common strategy in the industry to reuse existing designs in order to lower manufacturing costs, which usually leads to lower prices for consumers.

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