Why did they do
design of the DFI AK76-SN is clean and efficient, but there
are some concerns when it comes to the layout. It was
nice to find the Socket A placement close to the edge of the
board, maximizing the available space. 6
large capacitors are mounted adjacent to the socket,
insuring that good clean current is provided to the
processor, certainly playing a major role in DFI's quest for
placement of these
capacitors are a slight concern though.
Although we had no
difficulty mounting our cooling
package, if we attempted to use a larger heatsink and fan, there may
an issue of clearance. As seen with our cooler, a
Global WIn WBK38, there
is very little room for "expansion," if we were to consider
a larger heatsink.
inspection of the AK76-SN, several other placement issues
became evident. The first is the placement of the
power connector in relation to the Socket A.
it can be seen that when the power connector
is attached, there is a strong potential for the wires
draping over the CPU fan, restricting air flow.
The second is the unusual layout of the IDE and Floppy
connections. Instead of placing the IDE connections parallel with the edge of the board, DFI
opted for a perpendicular layout. As we began working
with the board, we found the cabling a little awkward to
the design issues just kept coming.
As seen in the
picture to the left, on the left end of the PCI slots, the
BIOS chip can be seen, placed right up against the slots.
At first it seemed that they have found a nice little piece
of real estate to place the chip, freeing up valuable board
space for other things. However, there is the
potential for PCI board designs that could infringe on that space and possibly create
an issue with proper seating. I think the idea is
well intentioned, but question whether it may
be regretted in the future.
connectors are neatly placed on the outer most edge of the
board, clearly labeled for easy connections.
jumper less motherboard seems to be the most sought-after these
days, the DFI AK76-SN has decided to implement a DIP-Switch design. Off
one side of the Socket A is two rows of DIP-Switches that
allow for both multiplier and voltage settings.
Personally, I found this to be a more desirable set up.
Included with the AK76-SN is a case sticker that clearly
outlines the various DIP-Switch settings. This comes
in handy with the hard core overclocker trying to eke out
every ounce of power from their AMD processor. The way
I see it, you have two choices when it comes to overclocking.
You can make some changes to the BIOS, have the system become unbootable and clear the BIOS, requiring that all of
the previous settings be reset manually. The other
option is configuring the BIOS to your optimal settings,
then use the DIP-Switches to start your quest for higher
MHz. If the system has problems booting, all it takes
is a flip of a switch and you are back up and running.
In this reviewers opinion, the later is far more convenient
of the AK76-SN was as simple as could be. Although we
were concerned about some placement of key components on
this boards, with some diligence, we were able to organize
it in a manner that allows for neat wiring and efficient
airflow. With the use of some velcro straps and
plastic hook mounts, we were able to get this board
installed in a neat and clean manner.
Ok, now that
we're done showing off our handy work, lets take a look at
the brains behind the brawn and see what make the AK76-SN
Quake 3 Time Demo, and