AOpen AK86-L UPDATE: Uncommonly Good

by Wesley Fink on 3/30/2004 1:00 PM EST
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  • howminn - Thursday, May 20, 2004 - link

    I've got that board and am having hell with it. No matter what agp card, no matter what memory and in which memory slot, the board won't switch the monitor back on after restart. Which means it is not possible to install an OS onto it.
    I've returned the original board and bought another one, both boards have displayed the same trouble, and have both displayed cmos checksum error, default values loaded. Batteries have been changed, still no solution.
    The vendor to whom I RMA'd the board have not given me any feedback as to what is wrong.
    Has anybody else seen this before? Please!
    Reply
  • cowdog - Sunday, April 04, 2004 - link

    Good to see the update with information that AOpen "opened" up the bios options! Good job AOpen!

    Ditto what #14 said about the AK89 Max. Come on AOpen, don't overlook your nForce3 150 board!! DDR to 3.0v, cpu to 1.8v, fsb to 300Mhz. That would make my day, esp if AOpen also put that hyper-active watchdog on a shorter leash.
    Reply
  • Ronnie - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - link

    Hey TrogdorJW, I also have the MSI K8T Neo and found that OCZ pc3200 works great for my setup, I tried some kingston hyperx pc-4000 with no luck. Reply
  • elixia - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - link

    Hey AMD4ME2, I had that problem on an old FIC motherboard. I simply pinned the power cable to the power supply and plugged it in. It will not hang in front of the CPU and block airflow this way Reply
  • Resh - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - link

    There was mention of a new board revision (as opposed to BIOS version). Could AT post the number codes for the new and old rev. to help us in purchasing?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • AMD4ME2 - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    I'm a bit confused by the wording of the location of the ATX power connectors. they look to me like they are behind the processor blocking air flow, at least in my case they would be. Reply
  • Chuckles - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    There is an error on page one (Index).

    "Adjustments for memory voltage have now been extended from 2.5V to 3.0v in 0.5v increments. This is an extremely wide and useful range for users trying to get the most from their memory."

    Should be 0.05V instead of 0.5.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    I posted my question on Feb.16(#12) and got my answer on March 30th (#13). Its never too late. Thanks for the follow-up.
    Reply
  • Venomous - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    Westley, re: the AK89MAX.. Have them do the same kind of BIOS mods they did on the AK86. If they can bring those voltages up to AK86 specs, im sure hitting 280 fsb wont be hard. The watchdog thing IS annoying. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    Pumkinierre -

    1.06Q was never a BIOS published by AOpen, so 1.08c is the first published BIOS that has multipliers. Ratios are the same as 1.06q, which is whole numbers - no option of 0.5 multipliers.

    As I discussed in the PCI lock article and comments, the AK86-L seems to float the PCI/AGP up to 233, then at 234 it drops back to 33.3. This is a ratio arrangement very similar to what we saw in the Abit K8T800 motherboard we reviewed, and is much less flexible than a true adjustable PCI/AGP lock. If you look at the new screen captures you will see PCI/AGP now reports the rising frequency in the BIOS.

    As mentioned in the update, the nForce3-150 based Gigabyte K8NNXP and the Shuttle AN50R, both nF3-150 based, are the only 2 Athlon 64 boards that I am aware of that are reported by respected writers to have AGP/PCI lock. I have not tested either with the PCI Geiger, so I can not personally confirm this. If you want fine adjustments for OC, then either of these would appear to be a better choice, at a higher price.

    The AOpen AK89 Max, which is a very late nF3-150 board, also appears to have a working PCI/AGP lock, but there are some issues with high settings prematurely invoking the watchdog feature and resetting the frequency - requiring a CMOS clear. We have asked AOpen for help in resolving this issue with the AK89 Max, and if it is fixed we will post a review on Anandtech.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Monday, February 16, 2004 - link

    In your update you say the new BIOS 1.06q includes cpu multipliers. But the old BIOS had that. So does this mean a larger range ie 0.5x divisions? Also now that you've got the Geiger, could you check the PCI lock at several clockspeeds?

    This is important to me as my interest in purchasing an a64 is to run it at high clockspeed (with only a mild o'clock) as I believe this would substanstially improve gaming performance. Of course this is also dependent on fast low latency DDR 466-500 being available- still yet to occur!.
    Reply
  • Boonesmi - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    what about agp/pci lock? have you been able to test it yet?? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    AOpen has just sent a revised BIOS 1.06Q, which adds vDimm adjustments from 2.5 to 3.0V in .05V increments. This is an outstanding upgrade from the 2.7v max vDimm in the BIOS we tested and makes the AK86-L one of the best 754 boards available for memory overclocking.

    A kind soul is hosting the 1.06q BIOS and a link has been added to the review.
    Reply
  • JTDC - Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - link

    Does anyone know where the 1.06 BIOS revision can be found? I cannot see it on the AOPEN site. Any suggestions as to where I can look? Reply
  • peonyu - Friday, February 06, 2004 - link

    I have a Aopen board [not this one though,damn] and the options on it are awesome, same with its stability and performance. The only prob though is the same that this board has - VERY low voltage settings. For reasons i dont understand Aopen is very stubbern with allowing higher voltages, it happens with every board they release. So until they get past that and release a update which increases voltage I dont think it would be worth picking one of these up if your into overclocking. Reply
  • Shinei - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    Does Athlon 64 rely on timings as much as the Athlon XP did? I didn't think it did, considering the bandwidth it can use eclipses even the Pentium 4's...
    As for the article, now I really wish I'd waited a few months to upgrade, instead of going straight for the GA-7N400P2/2800+ in December...
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    It would have been nice if you had included some benchmark results at the different multiplier o'clocks or even standardised to 2gig (ie 9x222,8x250) now that you have an A64 board that doesnt have memory, multiplier, HT or (from initial observations) AGP/PCI lock issues. Naturally memory latency settings would have to be kept the same. My pet theory with the A64 is that increasing the RAM speed and lowering memory latency (which appears difficult on many a64 mobo/memory combinations) would be as good as a standard o'clock which to date has'nt been the a64's strong point. This seems like the right board but we're still waiting for CAS2 DDR500. Reply
  • Boonesmi - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    dang i really like that board.

    when are you expecting the "PCI Geiger"??
    hehe i want an update :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    #1 - Four "3-pin" fan headers is correct, and the typo is fixed.

    #2 - We will be reviewing a few of the memory brands you mention in a few weeks. A socket 754 board will be included in the tests.
    Reply
  • bhtooefr - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    Damn, I want one! Of course, it would be even better if it were Micro ATX... (I've already got a mATX case, and it's very small) Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    Damn... makes me wish I would have bought one of these instead of the MSI K8T Neo for the system I recently built. RAM caused me some serious issues.

    Say, any chance of you doing a memory roundup on A64 motherboards? It sounds like your Mushkin RAM is working pretty well, but not all of us want to spend that much money on RAM. I would like to see how a lot of the "value" RAM like Crucial, Corsair Value, Geil, KingMax, etc. work with the various boards.
    Reply
  • mechBgon - Thursday, February 05, 2004 - link

    Wesley, do you mean four *three-pin* fan headers? 4-pin would be pretty unusual. Reply

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