The D6VAA is equipped
with an Award BIOS, we're sure you've all seen
something that looks like this before...
The BIOS is fairly
complete, but we feel it's missing two important
settings. User's who have experience with
boards powered by the Apollo Pro 133A chipset know
the importance of 4-Way interleaving. 4-Way
interleaving is a memory tweak that usually
provides significant performance gains. The
D6VAA's BIOS does not allow users to toggle this
feature on an off. There was also no voltage
tweaks available. Earlier revisions of the
D6VAA had the ability to adjust core voltage for
each CPU individually, but for some reason this
feature was not present on our revision 1.1
D6VAA's default BIOS. A quick check of ECS's
site though revealed a service BIOS was available
that does in fact allow voltage adjustments for
each CPU independantly.
Layout and Quality
As usual, we gave the
ECS D6VAA a thorough physical inspection before
mounting it in our test system...
The D6VAA ships with a
decent heatsink mounted to the Northbridge.
During heavy load, the Northbridge can generate a
good amount of heat, so we would have liked to
have seen active cooling on the Northbridge, but
in a properly ventilated case a heatsink alone
adequate. The board is outfitted with 1 AGP
slot, 5 PCI slots and 1 CNR slot. We prefer
a 6 PCI slot configuration, but considering the
D6VAA already has on-board sound and RAID, 5 PCI
slots is plenty.
connectors are well placed and clearly labeled.
The Audio connectors are not in the way of any
slots and the headers for the case connectors are
at the edge of the board where we like them to be.
The only thing we didn't like was the inverted IDE
RAID connectors. Having these connectors
oriented this way could hinder airflow from the
intake fan in many tower cases if the cables are
not neatly bundled and tied down.
The connectors for the
on-board IDE channels and floppy controller are
placed in a much better location at the front edge
of the board. There is ample room around the
CPU sockets to mount most popular coolers (we had
two GlobalWin WBK38s installed on our system), and
the ATX power connector is in the perfect location
at the top edge of the D6VAA.
Time For Some