Transcend AKT4 KT133
Its been a roller coaster ride the past few months.
AMD is totally at the top of their game while Intel has seemed to falter along
the way. With AMD being such a threat to Intel, it is no wonder that nearly
every mainboard manufacturer out there provides a platform for AMD's
ever popular Socket A platform. An AMD processor which performs on par
(and sometimes faster) with an Intel counterpart costs significantly less, hence
we are witnessing a tremendous acceptance to the previously "harmless to Intel"
AMD CPU. And when CPU demand is at a high, it isn't long before mainboard
manufacturers start to roll out a motherboard that supports it.
Transcend has introduced their own solution for the Socket A processor, the
TS AKT4 motherboard. From humble beginnings with only two employees, Transcend
has become a force to reckon with. Interestingly enough, Transcend's history
began with the development of its JetMate laser printer driver along with
"KeyPro" their software protection system. Subsequently, Transcend's focus
shifted towards the making of memory products and motherboards thereafter.
Today, Transcend currently offers over 2000 memory products and dozen of
We had the opportunity of reviewing their TS AVE3
motherboard which nearly missed winning our Editor's Choice award. Naturally, we
were extremely curious as to how their Socket A platform would perform up
against some pretty stiff competition. So without further ado, let's get on with
Based upon the VIA KT133 chipset
Support for Socket A CPU's
(Duron and Athlon)
3 x 168 pin DIMM sockets support up to 1.5GB SDRAM or
VC SDRAM at 100MHz and 133MHz
5 PCI / 1 AGP / 1 ISA / 1 AMR slot(s)
Support for ATA/100 (only on boards equipped with 686B Southbridge)
layers, 8.5" x 12" (21.5cm x 30.5cm)
4 x USB Ports
Hardware Monitoring Capabilities
The board received for
testing came equipped with the VIA 686A Southbridge which provides support for
ATA/66 as opposed to ATA/100 support which the 686B provides. However, you can
certainly expect to see TS AKT4 boards to come with the newer revision in the
retail market. Along with the TS AKT4 motherboard, one will receive a
comprehensive printed manual and a driver CD. Not much of a software bundle is
included. Whether this fact is bad or good depends on what you are looking for.
Normally, we do not pay much attention to added software but the inclusion of
such is definitely an added bonus.
The AKT4 comes
equipped with 5 PCI slots, 1 ISA slot for "legacy" devices and 1 AMR slot.
Though AMR products are quite a rarity, Transcend went ahead and included a slot
to ensure maximum expandability. 5 PCI slots are certainly more than most people
need but do keep in mind that one of the PCI slots and the lone ISA slot are
Layout wise, the AKT4 is very clean and uncluttered. There are 12
1500uF capacitors around the processor's socket area to insure the a clean
current to the processor which aids in stability of the TS AKT4 and the rest of
the system. We were quite amazed to see the amount of free space around the
Socket A interface. Unfortunately, the actual position of the socket makes
adding a larger sized heatsink somewhat of a problem. We were not able to add a
Thermaltake Chrome Orb to this motherboard but were able to add another heatsink
similar in size. The Chrome Orb would have fit if the socket itself was rotated
by 90 degrees in either direction. Heatsink installation seems to depend on how
far out the actual heatsink protrudes from the socket area. However, there is no
need for worry. There are a number of AMD certified heatsinks out there which
will easily be accommodated by the TS AKT4.
Similar to the AVE3, the AKT4
sports a number of audio connectors (CD1, CD2, Video and Aux) which are wisely
situated between PCI slots which aids in reducing the risk of hindrance
from PCI add in cards.
The Northbridge chip comes equipped with a green
heatsink which lessens the chance of the chipset overheating. Though it would be
quite rare for Northbridge heat related issues to occur, Transcend went ahead
and included the heatsink purely as a safeguard.
Two fan headers are
present on the AKT4. The cabinet fan header is located on the far rear left of
the board making the actual distance of the header to the fan quite
All in all, we were very pleased with the overall layout and
position of various components on the motherboard. HDD/FDD headers are
positioned behind the PCI slots which reduce the chances of cable clutter in the
Because of the wonderful layout as described in the previous
section, physical installation was quite simple. In fact, users with
smaller sized cabinets will have no problems in installing the AKT4. Even with
the HDD/FDD cables installed, access to DIMM slots is quite free. This ensures
proper airflow to the various components situated on the
Test Bed Setup
In order to put the
TS AKT4 to the test, the following hardware was used...
AMD Duron 600
128MB PC100 SDRAM (CAS2)
8.4GB Quantum Fireball CR ATA/66 HDD
MSI Starforce 815 GeForce 2 GTS graphics card