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Soltek SL-86SPE-L Springdale Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 24, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.0%Manufacturer: Soltek

Features Continued


- Sound via Realtek ALC650


The ALC650 sound controller is commonly used among a lot of manufacturers due to its fairly good sound quality at a good price. While it's not the best in sound, if you are using headphones or cheaper speakers a lot of people will find this controller just fine. If you do have better speakers you would be better off purchasing a separate PCI card, such as Sound Blaster Audigy2, as the clarity will be a lot more noticeable.


- I/O Panel


Looking at the I/O panel you don't see anything spectacular. You have your normal array of PS2 and serial ports as well as the normal parallel port. We find that Soltek has chosen to include only 2 X USB 2.0 ports instead of 4 which we see on a lot of motherboards lately. The 10/100 network port powered by the Realtek controller is present as well as your audio ports and game port.



- Dual Channel Memory


As we previously stated, the Soltek S86SPE-L is powered by the new Intel Springdale chipset, which of course carries over the latest memory technology to hit the market - Dual Channel. This theoretically doubles the bandwidth of your memory when running two identical sticks in the required dimms. All dimms on the SL-86SPE-L are black which will make it slightly difficult for some people new to this technology to understand how you have to run the modules and in which dimms which is made easier on many other motherboards by color coding them.



- Overclocking Ability


The BIOS carries a host of overclocking features that you would have come to expect from a lot of motherboards these days. Moving into the BIOS we make our way to the Frequency/Voltage configuration and continue to up the Front Side Bus (FSB). On our 2.8GHz (800MHz) Pentium 4 processor we were able to achieve a stable overclock at 255MHz (1020MHz effective quad pumped) FSB. We were able to continue booting as high as 265MHz but the system became quite unstable. At this higher FSB setting we had to use a fixed AGP/PCI speed to prevent any form of instability. The fixed AGP/PCI function has been used for a while now and in the past when overclocking, the speeds of these sub-systems would rise in accordance with the FSB. Instead of the processor being your limitation, your video card, network card etc may not have liked the higher speeds and this would cause system instability which locked AGP/PCI speeds resolved.


Overclocking features are quite good. We have the ability to adjust the VCORE up to 1.850 volts (not that we would recommend going that high), memory can be adjusted up to 2.8 volts which is slightly disappointing as the ability to go up 3 volts would have been much nicer. With a 200MHz processor, you can raise the FSB as high as 350MHz in 1MHz increments - not that a lot of people will get this high with conventional cooling.


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