Soltek SL-K890Pro-939 Motherboard - HotHardware

Soltek SL-K890Pro-939 Motherboard

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Once the dominant player for chipsets compatible with AMD's Athlon, VIA has fallen out of favor lately, it seems. The company introduced its K8T890 chipset with PCI Express support way back in November of last year. Yet, we've heard very little about retail products centering on the platform until recently. The PT-series, destined for an epic battle against Intel's Pentium 4 chipset family, is still missing in action, with NVIDIA's competing core logic approaching at breakneck speed.

And then there's the VT8251 south bridge, an integral component in the grand scheme of things responsible for establishing parity with the latest crop of I/O controllers. It was originally slated to add Serial ATA 2 compliance, more PCI Express connectivity, and high-quality audio. No Gigabit Ethernet, but PCI Express controllers are better in that department, anyway.

Despite significant tardiness, a number of manufacturers have adopted VIA's K8T890 chipset and are selling motherboards designed to go up against NVIDIA's nForce4 lineup, specifically the nForce4 and nForce4 Ultra models. Soltek is one of the adventurous few; its K890Pro is actually well-equipped and it's affordable, too.

Specifications of the Soltek SL-K890Pro-939
Powered by VIA

Chipset
_VIA K8T890 + VT8237

Processor
_CPU Socket 939 on board

Front Side Bus
_Hyper Transport 1GHz

Memory
_4 x 184-pin DDR DIMM Sockets
_Supporting unregistered non-ECC DDR 400/333/266 DRAM up to 4GB
_Supporting Dual-Channel

Expansion Slots
_1 x PCI Express*16 Slot
_3 x PCI Express*1 Slots
_2 x PCI Slots

RAID
_2 x Serial ATA connectors supported by VT8237. (RAID0, 1)
_2 x Serial ATA connectors and 1 x ATA133/RAID IDE Port supported by Promise PDC20579. (RAID0, 1, 0+1)

On-Board
_EIDE 2 x ATA133/100/66 IDE connectors supporting up to 4 IDE devices
_1 x ATA 133/100 IDE connector supporting up to 2 IDE devices by Promise PDC20579
_On-Board SATA 2 x Serial ATA connectors supporting 2 Serial ATA HDDs by VT8237
_2 x Serial ATA connectors supporting 2 Serial ATA HDDs by Promise PDC20579

LAN
_Gigabit 10/100/1000 LAN Function

Integrated Super I/O
_1 x Floppy Port
_1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
_1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
_1 x Gigabit LAN Port
_1 x Parallel Port (via optional cable)
_1 x Serial Port
_8 x USB 2.0/1.1 Ports. (4 integrated, 4 via optional cables)
_Audio Ports
_2 x IEEE1394 Ports. (1 integrated, 1 via optional cable)
_1 x S/PDIF In Port
_1 x S/PDIF Out Port

IEEE1394
_2 x IEEE1394 Ports. (1 integrated, 1 via optional cable)

Audio
_8-Channel AC'97 Audio

BIOS
_Award BIOS
_Flash Memory for easy upgrade

Form Factor
_ATX Form Factor (245mm x 305mm)

Other Features
_BIOS FSB Setting
_BIOS DIMM, Vcore Voltage Setting
_BIOS Multiplier Setting
_RedStorm2 Overclocking Technology (optional)
_Soltek H/M Monitor
_STR Function
_Debug LED onboard


Given its aggressive price point, Soltek is light on value-added extras, as we might expect. You do get an extra USB back-panel header, a couple of power adapters for SATA hard drives, four SATA data cables, IDE cables, a floppy cable, driver discs, and documentation.

The included quick installation guide wasn't very helpful. Stick with the 104-page user manual for guidance installing the board instead. And, interestingly, Soltek's Red Storm 2 overclocking utility is part of the K890Pro's software bundle as well, yet it's incompatible at this time. A rough start, to be sure, but the board's feature set is much more compelling.

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