The MX3W features an on-board AD1881 audio codec that powers the audio input/output jacks towards the rear of the motherboard.   The AD1881 audio codec is what is known as "soft audio" meaning that it does require both software driver support and your CPU power to operate.  This does translate into a higher level of CPU utilization when using audio in any way, if the CPU utilization issue grows to be a problem, the MX3W does allow you to disable the on-board audio codec, at which point you can install your own PCI sound card.  

As with all 810 boards, the MX3W shows the first hints of being PC'99 compliant with the colored ATX I/O ports on the back of the motherboard.  Because of the integrated video, one of the two spaces for a 9-pin serial port is occupied by a 15-pin VGA connector, this is necessary to allow the MX3W to be used in all ATX cases.  The absence of any ISA slots, although supported by the chipset, isn't a radical move by AOpen, as most 810 motherboard manufacturers will be choosing to walk down the same path. 

The MX3W continues AOpen's tradition of leaving overclocking avenues as open as possible with the supported, most unofficially, FSB frequencies of the board.  The 66/72/100/107/112/117/121/125/127/130/133/136/140/145/155MHz FSB settings can come quite in handy if your Celeron can't seem to handle one or more of the higher FSB frequencies.   Specifically, the 72MHz FSB setting can be considered a faster version of the 68MHz "turbo" setting that found its way onto most motherboards, the same goes for the 107MHz setting and the 121/125MHz settings as well.  The board is jumperless, and the revision AnandTech tested supported clock multipliers in the 3.0x - 8.0x range however clock multiplier support isn't a big issue anymore with Intel processors now that all Intel CPUs are multiplier locked. 

The jumperless setup is a function of the Award BIOS utility that is part of the board's 802AB FWH (Firmware Hub).  The BIOS used on the motherboard is the updated revision 4.60PG of Award's popular BIOS setup utility, the latest revision does provide a cleaner operating interface as well as expanded options for configuration and system tweaking, definitely a plus for hardcore hardware enthusiasts.  The board does allow the user to power on the system using a keystroke combination, or a click of either mouse button depending on the setting you specify in the BIOS. 

Bundled with the MX3W is the now commonplace anti-virus program bundle.  With the MX3W, along with most AOpen boards, Norton Anti-Virus is the choice that is made for you.   The bundled CD includes the latest drivers for the Intel 810-DC100 GMCH as well as the ICH.  The board's written documentation comes in the form of a Quick Installation Guide that documents the bare essentials of the MX3W and essentially gives you a recap of the spec sheet.  The Quick Installation Guide does contain a few helpful pointers and a brief description of what to connect to the motherboard first, etc.. for those users that aren't too experienced with building systems. 

Even more of an AOpen trademark than the green labeled heatsink on the GMCH is the stability of the MX3W.  With the exception of one motherboard AnandTech reviewed, the MX3L, AOpen has has an excellent stability track record.  The MX3W does not break that tradition one bit as it rivaled the Microstar's 6182 in terms of reliability and strengthens the unity between the words AOpen and quality.  A bond that has lasted for quite some time.

Index The Bad
POST A COMMENT

2 Comments

View All Comments

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now