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8-Way nVidia nForce 2 Motherboard Roundup

By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 3, 2003 4:00 am

Features of the Soltek SL-75MRN-L


Board and Layout



Soltek uses a similar layout design as most nForce 2 motherboards with a few slight exceptions that make it a bit more cable friendly than the first two motherboards we checked out here. First off we have to mention the PCB. Rather than using a dull green PCB, Soltek uses a gold coloured PCB measuring 300 x 225 mm. Expansion wise, one AGP slot comes standard with AGP 8x and 4x transfer protocols. While there are no added peripherals onboard, five yellowish gold tone coloured PCI slots are added to the board for add-on components such as RAID controllers and sound systems.


Placement of connectors is somewhat better than other nForce2 motherboards, like we mentioned above. The Soltek motherboard is the first in our roundup that makes use of the 12vaux 4 pin connector. This is used to give additional power to the CPU as well as power the north bridge and AGP 12v lines. Unfortunately these two connectors are located between the north bridge heatsink unit and the I/O back panel connectors, causing clutter around the CPU.


Location of the IDE connectors is better placed than most nForce2 boards. The two connectors are located behind the memory sockets, keeping the cables away from the CPU and allowing for easier installation into larger cases. The FDD connector is not as well placed, located at the bottom of the board, you will need long FDD cables making the internal system untidy.


Chipset and Memory



The Soltek 75MRN-L is equipped with the nForce2 SPP north bridge with the MCP south bridge.


It is the first motherboard in our roundup that uses this south bridge. The MCP is almost identical to the MCP-T only there is no Firewire controller, a single nVidia network controller and the APU has been removed and replaced with a standard and cheaper AC'97 audio codec.


One of the great features of this board is the use of colour coded DIMM sockets. It's not the first time we have seen this but it certainly is a great feature when setting up 128bit operations. Two DIMM sockets are coloured yellow and one black. In order to run the system in 128bit mode (or Dual Channel, as it is better known) it is only a simple task of putting identical memory modules in the same coloured DIMM sockets.


Overclocking - Bombed Out


The overclocking options of this motherboard are somewhat of a lacklustre effort on the part of Soltek. While all the adjustments were there, the end results were somewhat less than thrilling.


FSB can be adjusted from 100MHz up to 20 MHz in 1MHz increments. Voltage wise, only CPU core voltage could be changed from 1.5v up to 1.8v in 0.025v increments, in all pretty disappointing when compared to other products in this roundup.


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