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Shuttle AK35GTR Motherboard Review - AK35GTR - Page 6

With so many KT266A based motherboards to choose from, how are you supposed to come up with a winner? To help clear up some of the confusion, Mike "Darthtanion" Wright has taken a look at the Shuttle AK35GTR Motherboard. It has some features that will make your jaw drop, and performance levels that are at the top of the class. Come see for yourself why this little gem earned an Editors Choice Award.

By: | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 6, 2002 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Shuttle



There are many ways to gain a successful overclocking of the processor, so let's take a look at what the Shuttle AK35GTR has to make it an enthusiast board.


First off, all of the major settings for speed and voltage are done from within the BIOS. Most hardcore users have complained in the past about a multitude of jumpers when trying to overclock. Any change that had to be made required you to dig back into the case to move a couple of jumpers so that you could try to get a faster speed. Manufacturers listened and have, for the most part, put all of the major adjustments used for these type settings into the BIOS. Now all that is required to make the adjustments is a quick reboot so that you can get into the BIOS to start tweaking.


That said, the AK35GTR allows you to adjust the Front Side Bus (FSB) speeds, the Clock Multiplier, the VCORE and the DDR Voltage without a single jumper. And some of these settings are enough to make your face split from the smile that it will cause.


The FSB can be adjusted from 100MHz - 200MHz in 1MHz increments. This will give you a great deal of flexibility when it comes time to see just how far you can push your system. And isn't that the goal behind overclocking anyway?


If you happen to have a Thunderbird, Duron or Athlon XP processor that has been unlocked, then you'll have some more room to play with. The clock multipliers available within BIOS range from 5.5x - 14x. Future BIOS revisions may expand this limit, but this will get you well on your way down the O/C path since even the new XP 2000+ processors are only using a 12.5x multiplier.


Voltage settings can make a huge difference when it comes to not only how far you can push the system, but the stability of it as well. The two main adjustments you'll make are for the memory and the processor core. Memory voltages available include default (2.5v), 2.55v, 2.6v and 2.7v, so you'll be able to get as much as possible from the memory settings. Of course, if you go any higher than 2.6v, you'll want to make sure that you have some active cooling added to the memory modules themselves. Otherwise, you'll probably want to put in an order for some replacement modules.


One of the most impressive features of this motherboard is the ability to adjust the voltage of the processor core. Considering that default voltage of both the T-Bird and the Athlon XP is 1.75v, the standard settings include 1.10v - 1.85v. For those who want to go for broke, there is another option listed for this setting; "Above 1.85V". Looks like the folks at Shuttle have already added a voltage mod for the hardcore among us. After you set the voltage value to Above 1.85V, you can access another voltage setting with ranges available from 1.85v - 2.30v! WOW! How far do you want to go today?


As to actual overclocking prowess, I was able to take the FSB to a full 150MHz at CAS2 and run with 100% stability. I ran several benchmarking tests and stress tests under SiSoft Sandra successfully without a single lock-up or glitch. When setting the CAS rating back to 2.5, I was able to max out my memory at 160MHz. With the ease that it ran at these speeds, I'm very confident that the board will go even higher, but that was the limit that my memory would run at.


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