The Athlon has been "out" for over three months now, but only recently has it become available to those who have been dreaming of it for the past year. Online merchants and vendors are finally carrying the chips and they aren’t just carrying the 500MHz and 550MHz parts but all of the released chips, including the newly released 700MHz monsters. For the first time since before the K5, AMD has been able to deliver on the market’s demand for their chip, but, as we’ve come to learn the hard way with this amazing processor, there is much more to a system than just having a fast CPU.

You need to be able to pick the right memory, the best motherboard, the fastest video card, and the most reliable power supply. And when dealing with the Athlon, picking the best of the best can be even more difficult than usual, simply because of the obstacles that AMD has faced with getting this CPU into the hands of you, the consumer. In the next few articles we will be focusing on choosing the best components with which you can build your supreme Athlon system. This section of the guide will concentrate on choosing the perfect Athlon motherboard from among the boards that are currently available, with an eye on those that are soon to be out.

The first time we took a look at Athlon motherboards was in the first part our Next Generation Motherboard Platform article. We spent most of the time comparing the initial motherboard offerings and commented on what to look for in an Athlon motherboard. The holiday buying season is quickly approaching and for many individuals, it is time to make that motherboard/CPU purchase, so how have the options grown to fit what we discussed an ideal Athlon motherboard would feature?

Unfortunately, the options have not grown much at all. The biggest change has been in the quiet release of the ASUS K7M, the Athlon motherboard that was thought to be the savior of the Athlon platform. Other changes have occurred as well: more Athlon motherboards have been announced (although most of them are coming from the same companies that released the first boards), BIOS revisions are being made, and bugs are being sorted out.

In spite of all of this, it is too often that a potential buyer is turned off by the number of complaints users have been expressing towards the Athlon in general because of their personal experiences. The Athlon is a very delicate platform, much like the Super7 platform was when it was AMD’s reigning flagship. It can offer a tremendous amount of performance at a fairly reasonable cost if and only if the power is harnessed by the proper components, more specifically, a well made motherboard.

The Boards
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