Soltek SL-75DRV4 VIA KT266A socket A DDR

Friday, January 25, 2002


Introduction

Due to a lack of time and resources, we were never able to review the SL-75DRV2.

It's thus with greater pleasure that we can now present our review of the SL-75DRV2's successor: the Soltek SL-75DRV4. Soltek still isn't very well known to the general public, but, ever since its launch, it's made long strides towards proving its reliability, packaging-ability, and thorough care to details. Soltek's motherboards, for instance, are most of the time accompanied by generous software packages, including any number of useful applications. What's more, they've also been very good about supporting Overclocking, and often market products that overflow with tweaking functions. Clearly, Soltek is destined for great notoriety - it's only a matter of time.

So, let's say we help shed a little lime-light on their newest creation, the SL-75DRV4.

Characteristics of the Soltek SL-74DRV4
CPU
AMD Socket-462 Athlon XP / Athlon  / Duron processor
Chipset
VIA KT266A VT8366A + VT8233A
Form factor
ATX - 30.5cm X 22.5cm
Expansion
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP Pro - 4 USB
Memory
3X 184-pin DIMM 3GB DDR SDRAM PC1600 - PC2100
FSB
100MHz to 200MHz in steps of 1MHz
Vcore adj.
1.1 to 1.85v in steps of 0.025v
Vio adj.
2.5v, 2.6v and 2.7v
Audio chipset
integrated into chipset


Configuration

One of the first things users will notice about the SL-75DRV4 is that it offers two different configuration routes. On the one hand, its possible to configure the board using the on-board arrays of Dip-switches and jumpers. On the other hand, it is equally possible to configure most of the same options from within the BIOS, and then some.

For example, Dip-arrays SW1, SW2, and SW3 allow users to respectively set the clock multiplier to between 5.5X and 14X, change the Vcore voltage, and alter the FSB frequency. Jumpers JP1/JP2, and JP18/JP19, on the other hand, can respectively be used to vary the DDR (Vio) and AGP voltages.

It is also possible to set the FSB frequency from within the SL-75DRV4's BIOS, - in this case to between 100MHz and 200MHz in 1MHz increments.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the DDR or AGP voltages; both are adjustable only through the use of jumpers.

The Vcore voltage, though, is BIOS-adjustable.

Much like its predecessor, the SL-75DRV, the SL-75DRV4 includes a series of functions that allow users to insert timing delays into a number of circuits that are critical to Overclocking. The goal of using these delays, though, is not to augment performance, but rather to improve the stability of an Overclocked system. Below, we've included a list of the affectable circuits, and the delays that can be set, as measured in picoseconds

  • CPU skew adjust: 50ps to 750ps in steps of 50ps
  • CHIP skew adjust: 50ps to 750ps in steps of 50ps
  • PCI skew adjust: 100ps to 1500ps in steps of 100ps
  • AGP skew adjust: 100ps to 300ps in steps of 100ps

    Elsewhere in the BIOS, users will also find the "RedStorm Overclocking Tech" function, which permits the system to be tested, and Overclocked to a point corresponding to a pre-selected margin of stability. Once activated, the "RedStorm" function increments the CPU's frequency step by step until it hits the sweet-spot that provides the best performance and stability. Once that setting is determined, the system is rebooted at the new frequency, and the all is well. At least, that is what is expected but we must confess that it doesn't work all the time...

    Finally, all the usual memory timing options are present and accounted for, and are found within the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu. Among the included functions are the ability to set the independent memory bus to 100MHz, 133MHz or SPD (Serial Presence Detect), the latter which allows the system to determine the proper frequency automatically.

    Index:

    Next: Technical details.