DFI AK74-EC motherboard review

Jasper from VIA Hardware.com has a review written about the AK74-EC mobo from manufacturer DFI (so not the AK47). The board has a KT133 chipset, 3x DIMM, 1x ISA, 5x PCI, 1x AGP and 1x AMR. The only difference with the previous version, the DFI AK74-SC, is that the southbridge has been upgraded, which now also supports ATA100. Like the previous versions, this AK74 board also does not support voltage tweaking and multiplier options. The FSB is adjustable in 1MHz steps from 100 to 133MHz. Despite the stability, this shelf is not an option for us. Fortunately, the price tag is not unattractive:

The VIA 686b southbridge will certainly be welcomed into the market. ATA100 hard drives are readily available from IBM and Maxtor and for now is the current standard. As hard drives become faster, they will make the ATA100 standard that more important, as performance gains increase. Although ATA100 is a very nice option on a chipset, I don’t read about too many BX users that are limited by the BX’s ATA33. Nevertheless ATA100 is the new standard and now has full support from VIA and Intel. Another advantage of the VIA 686b southbridge is it should add little or no cost to current motherboard prices, since it simply can replace the 686a. This is a change from the Asus A7V and Abit KT7-RAID, which both use ATA100 integrated cards, and generally cost $30-$40 more than other KT133 motherboards.

The DFI AK74-EC performed flawlessly in all of my testing. Again, like the AK74-SC, I was very impressed with its stability. The addition of the VIA 686b southbridge should make this board and excellent setup for those not overclocking and are looking for a rock-solid platform for an AMD Duron/Athlon. The price also comes nicely at a pricetag of $115 via pricewatch. The downside of course is the lack of CPU multiplier adjustments and sub-A7V memory performance.