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AOpen AK79G MAX nForce2-GT Motherboard Review

AOpen AK79G MAX nForce2-GT Motherboard Review  - PCSTATS
Abstract: Aiming for the mass markets generally means you get good value with AOpen products, and one such example of this is the AK79G Max nForce2-GT (Crush 18G) motherboard.
 86% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Aopen Apr 07 2003   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Aopen AK79G Max

Offering a lot in one package

While I have never had any problems flashing the BIOS on a motherboards, I have heard quite a few horror stories from readers about bad flashes, power outages at the wrong moment and the resulting dead motherboard. Thankfully, by including two BIOS's on the AK79G Max, AOpen take all these worries and brush them aside. With dual BIOS if one is damaged during a flash operation it can be restored from the backup.

It's nice to see that AOpen is one of the few manufacturers out there that actively cools the nForce2 Northbridge too. The heatsink uses a thermal pad to bridge the interface instead of thermal paste. There is also a small passive heatsink stuck on to the MCP-T Southbridge; a good move considering the Southbridge can reach elevated temperatures after a while.

I really wish AOpen would scrap the ACR slot and replace it with a sixth PCI slot - the PCI slot would be much more useful to most consumers. One other point that makes me wary is the way AOpen have oriented the CMOS battery. With it standing up vertically it does save boardspace, but it is also could potentially be snapped off the motherboard altogether.

AOpen includes an audio CD player built into the firmware of the motherboard which is kind of neat. The application can be launched right when the computer POSTs. While this is a unique feature, I think it'll most likely go unused by most users. After all why would you use that if you can just load windows and use the CD player from the Operating System?

I like it when manufacturers try to be innovative but I really dislike AOpen's Silent BIOS HW options. When I first booted up the system using the AOpen AK79G MAX motherboard, I didn't really hear the CPU fan (and I'm using a Delta screemer!) so you can guess I freaked out. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the CPU fan and the Northbridge fan did not run at full speed until the OS started to load.

Personally I would have liked AOpen to try and help you quiet down the system another way, perhaps by including some way to thermally throttle case fans instead of slowing down my CPU fan.

The AMD AthlonXP is a toasty chip, so many of our readers like to know what is the largest heatsink that they can slap on, or in some cases bolt on to the motherboard.

Since AMD doesn't currently use any standardized heatsink retention mechanism there is a lot more freedom in terms of the overall size an Athlon heatsink can take. Throw in the mixed layouts of many different mainboards and you have a problem on your hand. Not all AMD heatsinks will fit cleanly on all AMD motherboards, especially if the heatsink is large, or requires the use of now obsolete mounting holes.

PCStats Heatsink Clearance Measurements
Top Clearance: 9 mm
Bottom (cam) Clearance: 8 mm
Left Side (arm) Clearance: 32 mm
Right Side Clearance 28 mm
Socket Mounting Holes: 4mm Ă˜dia
Max. Heatsink Base Dimensions: ~78x116 mm

Note: Approx. measurements are made from the edge of the socket (not the clips) to the closest obstacle taller than the ZIF socket itself.
The socket is 51mm across, and 62mm from top to bottom.

AOpen has done a fair job keeping the socket area clear of capacitors and other objects. Installation of wider heatsinks like the Thermalright SLK-800 is just fine, but heatsinks like the Alpha PAL 8045 may have a hard time because they're too long. Even though they're no longer required, we see the AOpen AK79G MAX has the four mounting holes around the socket 462.


The AOpen AK79G MAX is using a new revised version of the nForce2-IGP chipset. According to The Inquirer the nForce2 GT is nVIDIA's mainstream integrated chipset which is to compete head to head with VIA's upcoming KM400A. Something to consider is if you're thinking of purchasing a nForce2 based motherboard in the near future, the nForce2 GT chipset apparently does not support 400 MHz based Athlon processors! As we saw in our AMD Move to a 400 MHz Bus Speed article, the faster FSB can really increase overall system performance.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the AOpen AK79G MAX motherboard in terms of overclocking because our previous attempts at overclocking AOpen motherboards had been met with mixed results. Without multiplier control we could only increase the FSB (and raise the CPU speed at the same time).

We began to raise the FSB slowly, and at 175 MHz we had to increase the CPU voltage to 1.75V to maintain stabiliy. In the end the highest we were able to push the motherboard was 185 MHz FSB, I believe the CPU was maxing out in terms of overall speed. If AOpen were to relelase a BIOS with multiplier adjustments I'm sure the motherboard could have gone higher. Up next, a look around the BIOS.

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Contents of Article: Aopen AK79G Max
 Pg 1.  AOpen AK79G MAX nForce2-GT Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Offering a lot in one package
 Pg 3.  The AOpen AK79G Max BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SysMark2002, Winstone 2002
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winbench 99, SiSoft Sandra 2003 Pro
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: PCMark2002, 3DMark2001SE
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena, UT2003
 Pg 8.  Final thoughts on the Aopen AK79G Max

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   12 / 11 / 2018 | 11:51AM
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