DFI AK76 AMD 760 Mainboard

DFI AK76 AMD 760 Mainboard - Page 2

The DFI AK76 AMD 760 Mainboard
Via and AMD...What a Combination!

By Jeff Bouton

Why did they do that?

The overall 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 "stability."  The 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 have been 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.

Upon further 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. Clearly 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 work with.

Unfortunately, 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.

The case connectors are neatly placed on the outer most edge of the board, clearly labeled for easy connections.

Although a 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 and advantageous.

Setup and Installation

The installation 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 tick....

Quake 3 Time Demo, and Business Winstone

Tags:  AMD, mainboard, board, 760, AI, AR, AM, K

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