AOpen AK77-333 KT333 socket A DDR333

Friday, May 17, 2002


Introduction

The AK77-333 is a VIA KT333-based motherboard, and thus supports both DDR333 memory, and ATA133 drives.

What really sets the AK77-333 apart though, are its options: a six port USB 2.0 controller, DieHard BIOS protection, and a Dr. LED diagnostic panel. OF course, the Realtek ALC650 onboard soundcard is also a nice feature that'll be appreciated by the gamers

Clearly, this board is worthy of a closer look, so let's dispense with the introduction, and bring out the spotlight...

Characteristics of the AOpen AK77-333
CPU
Athlon / XP (Socket A) AMD Duron (Socket A)
Chipset
VIA KT333 VT8366A + VT8233A
Form factor
ATX - 30.5cm X 24.4cm
Expansion
5 PCI - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 2 USB 1.1 + 4 USB 2.0
Memory
3X 184-pin DIMM up to 3GB DDR SDRAM PC2700
FSB
100Mhz to 248Mhz in steps of 1Mhz
Vcore adj.
1.1 to 1.85v in steps of 0.025v
Vio/DDR Vadj.
NA
Audio chipset
Realtek AL650


Audio

Like many other boards on the market today, the AOpen AK77-333 comes complete with a Realtek ALC650 audio-chip. The AL650's main selling points are its support for AC3 and Surround Sound 5.1 configurations, and its ability to connect with six audio-out channels (which includes a center base channel.

From a sound standpoint, the Realtek ALC650 also manages to reproduce audio tracks and data with a very satisfying level of fidelity.

Please note that though SPDIF connectors - including RCA and optical jacks - are present on the motherboard, but no bracket were supplied that would allow us to add the necessary connectors to the back of our system.



Configuration

The AK77-333 is a Jumperless beast, meaning users need not tinker with jumpers in order to get their system up and running. In fact, there is only a single jumper of note - JP21 - which can be used to force the FSB to 100MHz or 133MHz.

For the most part, however, users will make most adjustments from within the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu within the BIOS.

Once located there, users are presented with option to set their FSB frequency to any of a variety of values ranging from 100MHz to 248MHz in 1MHz increments.

Unfortunately, the clock multiplier setting is not adjustable. The Vcore voltage on the other hand, is, and can be set to any of values indicated in the table above.

As expected, a number of memory timing options can also be found within the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu -- the most important of which are located under the "Dram Clock/Drive Control" sub-menu. Options include the ability to set the asynchronous memory bus to 100MHz, 133MHz, 166MHz, or SPD (Serial Presence Detect), which allows the system to determine a proper setting automatically.

Overall, however, the AK77-333's memory timing options are few and far between. In fact, some of the usual suspects we've come to know and love - like CAS Latency, Burst Length, Queue Depth, and Command Rate - are nowhere to be found in the BIOS of this mainboard. The option that we missed the most, though, was the Memory Bank Interleave.

Index:

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