Shuttle AK31 vs. The Epox 8KHA+ - HotHardware

Shuttle AK31 vs. The Epox 8KHA+

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Shuttle's AK31 Ver.3.1-vs- Epox's 8KHA+
Dueling KT266A Motherboard Action!

By, Jeff Bouton
November 26, 2001


If you are an avid PC enthusiast or even a knowledgeable investor, then you probably know that Intel has some serious competition these days.  With the latest reports of Athlon XP's "flying off the shelves" and VIA continuing to develop impressive chipsets, giving them an ever increasing share in the motherboard chipset markets, Intel is getting dings in its armor each and every day.  Although not the only combination of Chipsets and Processors in town, the teaming of both AMD and VIA has proven to be an impressive combination. Yielding ever increasing, and impressive performance, the two often dominate certain Intel based platforms.

Another nice by-product of the two is that it costs less to develop AMD/VIA based motherboards, which gives them the ability to focus on increased features and quality while maintaining a competitive price structure.   So it really is no surprise why the two have become so popular in recent years, continuing to win users over day after day.  Today we'll be taking a look at the latest offerings from Shuttle and Epox who have developed what look to be another impressive addition to each of their collections.  Both the Shuttle AK31 and the Epox 8KHA+ are two new motherboards from the two companies that incorporate the VIA KT266A chipset into their design.  Our question today is...are all KT266A motherboards created equal?  We thought we would take these two motherboards and run their tests side-by-side to see what we would get.  First, let's take a look at what each of these boards has to offer.

Specifications / Features of the Shuttle AK31 Ver.3.1 and Epox 8KHA+
KT266/A Lovin'...
The Shuttle AK31 Ver.3.1 The Epox 8KHA+



 



 

Supports AMD K7 Socket A processors
Socket A
Supports AMD Athlon CPU up to 1.8G+
Supports AMD Duron CPU 950Mhz+
Supports AMD Mogan CPU 1.1GHz


Chipset
(North bridge) VIA VT8366A
(South bridge) VIA VT8233


ATX
Form Factor
Size: 305mm x 245mm

Expansion Slot
1 x AGP (4x AGP)
6 x PCI
1 x CNR

Memory
4 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
CMTL Certified Memory

On board IDE Controller
Supoort Ultra ATA 33/66/100
Transfer rate up to 100 MBytes/sec

Sound
Onboard VIA AC97 Sound Card

Onboard I/O Controller
1 x Floppy port
2 x Serial port
1 x Parallel port (SPP, EPP, ECP port)
2 x USB port
2 X additional onboard USB port(Optional)
1 x Game port
Li/Lo/Mic
IrDA Header(Optional)

 Supported Socket A Processors.
AMD Athlon & Duron.

VIA Apollo KT266A AGPset.

I/O Controller.
1 Floppy drive controller,
1 Parallel port (EPP, ECP),
2 Serial ports.

USB.
4 supported onboard.
 2 additional as option.

Award PnP BIOS. Flash upgradeable.
120MB ATAPI floppy drive
 and ZIP support!

Standard ATX form factor.
305mm x 245mm ATX.
 
UltraDMA-100 EIDE Controllers.
 (Up to 4 IDE devices).

Backwards compatible with PIO mode 3/4
& UltraDMA-66.

200/266MHz Front Side Bus.

3x DDR-SDRAM Slots for PC2100.
1.5GB max. supported.
Non-ECC.

PS/2 connectors.
1 PS/2 mouse,
1 PS/2 keyboard.

6 (32-bit) PCI,
1 AGP.

AGP supports 1x, 2x and 4x modes.



Now that we've seen what these two motherboards bring to the show, let us take a look at the whole package...
 

The Shuttle AK31 Ver.3.1

Along with the AK31 Ver.3.1 motherboard, the package we received for review included:
1 - Printed Manual, Drivers CD, 1 - Floppy Cable, 1 - 80-pin ATA100 IDE cable and 1 USB D - bracket.

The Epox 8KHA+

The 8KHA+ package we received for review included:
1 - Printed Manual, 1 - Quick Start Guide, 1 - Drivers CD that included a copy of Norton Ghost and PC-cillin,
1 - Floppy Cable, 1 - 80-pin ATA100 IDE cable and 1 USB D - bracket.

 

Before we go any further, we just wanted to say a quick word on the installation of these two motherboards.  First off, we have very little to report since both of these boards were installed without any problems whatsoever.  Each installation went smoothly, as they should, and we were up and running in no time at all.  We loaded a fresh copy of Windows 2000 SP-2, updated to the latest drivers for each component and then began our testing.  Before we get to that though, let's take a look at the BIOS for each motherboard and see how the two compare...

 

  The BIOS Comparison

 

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