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+
Shuttle AK31 Ver.3.1
The Epox 8KHA+
Supports AMD K7 Socket
Supports AMD Athlon CPU up to 1.8G+
Supports AMD Duron CPU 950Mhz+
Supports AMD Mogan CPU 1.1GHz
(North bridge) VIA VT8366A
(South bridge) VIA VT8233
Size: 305mm x 245mm
1 x AGP (4x AGP)
6 x PCI
1 x CNR
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
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
Socket A Processors.
AMD Athlon & Duron.
VIA Apollo KT266A AGPset.
1 Floppy drive controller,
1 Parallel port (EPP, ECP),
2 Serial ports.
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
200/266MHz Front Side Bus.
3x DDR-SDRAM Slots for PC2100.
1.5GB max. supported.
1 PS/2 mouse,
1 PS/2 keyboard.
6 (32-bit) PCI,
AGP supports 1x, 2x and 4x modes.
we've seen what these two motherboards bring to the
show, let us take a look at the whole package...
Shuttle AK31 Ver.3.1
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+
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.
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...