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Reviewed: Aopen AK72
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: November 1st, 2000
Page: 2

The AK-72 gives its users a decent amount of expansion options. The full system contains an AGP slot capable of 4X performance, 3 slots for your PC133 DIMMs, 4 dedicated PCI slots, one PCI/ISA hybrid (either-or) slot, and a bottom slot taken up by one of those ridiculous looking and largely useless AMR things. It also has AC '97 onboard sound, an ATA66 connection for primary IDE, and a secondary IDE interface. The motherboard also supports the now-traditional input fun options like wake-on-lan. USB users will be happy to know there are 4 USB slots, two right off the back and two requiring a separate mounting (the empty spot on my case where an all-in-one motherboard would put its joystick connector turned out to be a perfect spot).

To take stock, let's look first at the expansion slots. The internals of the board allow users to hook up their hard drive, floppy drive, CD-ROM, and two other devices. In my case, I was fully covered already: I run 17 GB of H/D space in a 13GB and 4GB drive, one CD-ROM for normal use, an HP CDRW, and of course the floppy drive. The AGP slot went immediately to my Elsa Gladiac, a PCI slot to my LAN card and SB Live each, the ISA slot to my modem, and the AMR slot to my SB Live daughtercard (finally, a use for those silly AMR slots!). That left me with two PCI slots left; if I ever get a DVD decoder card or something else, I'll have the space.

The next step was to plug in my RAM and processor; I dropped in my RAM with no problem, then slid in my Athlon and hit a snag. The power connection for the Athlon's cooling fan is located a bit too close to the CPU slot, and so I had to do some fast work since my heatsink was of the tall variety. While AOpen claims that no cooling fan should be necessary for the Athlon, I thought differently (especially being located in Texas) and so definitely wanted that thing to stay put and keep my CPU cool. For those who like monster cooling solutions, this isn't the motherboard for you. Thankfully however, this turned out to be the ONLY misplaced item on the motherboard: everything else is at least well placed.

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Added:  Wednesday, November 01, 2000
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/5

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