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Soltek SL-75MRN-L "Golden Flame" Motherboard Review

By: Mike Wright | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 27, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Soltek

The Board



All right then, the numbers look fine and dandy, but what do we really get?


As you can see above, everything has a pretty neat appearance. And it takes only a quick glance to figure out where the "Golden Flame" moniker came from. The yellow coloring is there to get away from the normal ho-hum green color that nearly all motherboards had in the not so distant past. With more folks enjoying side windows in their enclosures, there is a need for something that isn't just another mainboard.



If you'll take note of the area around the socket, you'll see that there are no capacitors seated close by. This will give you nearly full reign over what type of heatsink to install into your rig. While this is certainly a good thing, the fact that Soltek went away from the four holes around the socket isn't so good. While this won't affect the majority, it will certainly cause those with coolers such as the Swiftech or Alpha models to have to look elsewhere for their motherboard needs. That is truly a shame.


Also of note is the active cooling in place over the Northbridge. While I haven't heard of any heat issues with the nForce2 chipset, it never hurts to have some solid cooling firmly in place, especially when it comes down to overclocking.


Finally, we see that the primary power connection is pretty close to the socket. If you happen to have a PSU with a braided wiring harness, then this won't be an issue. But if you happen to have the older varieties with the loose wiring, then take care to watch that the wires don't get caught up in the fan on the HSF. Oh, and did you notice the added 4-pin socket beside the 20-pin one? The added voltage is for stability. We'll see later on if this works or not.



Moving on to the memory department, we'll point out the quick fact that the nForce2 based motherboards have what is known as Dual Channel Memory support. What this means in simple terms is that the chipset allows you to effectively double the memory bandwidth by running a matched pair of memory modules in parallel. In even simpler terms yet, just put to of the same memory modules in the yellow slots.


Also shown above are the IDE connectors for the board. Using standard 80-wire/40-pin cables, you can install drives rated at up to ATA133 speeds. While this particular model of motherboard does not have RAID on board, this feature is available on the SL-75MRN-RL is you're so inclined.



Audio is provided courtesy of the Realtek ACL650 module pictured above. This provides 6-channel sound support using the AC'97 CODEC. While you will certainly get better quality sound from a high-end sound card, the sound quality built into this board is far better than I have heard in the past. It used to be said that onboard sound was always something to turn off without a second thought, but this is a concept of the past. With the ability to hook up speakers and a separate subwoofer, the sound output of this motherboard isn't too bad at all.


So if you've been looking for a way to empty out those PCI slots, then this is a very possible choice with the built-in audio available on this board.


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