Soltek SL-75DRV VIA KT266 socket A DDR

Friday, September 07, 2001


Introduction

Like all of Soltek's boards, the SL-75DRV makes a great first impression. The SL-75DRV is based on the VIA KT266 chipset, but isn't content to simply copy other, similar motherboards that have made it to market. Instead, Soltek has packed it with a number of compelling Overclocking functions that users won't find anywhere else. Soltek has also displayed their usual generosity in the software department, by including a bundle that puts many competitors to shame.

Well then, now that we've piqued you're curiosity, lets say we get down to the nuts & bolts of the review, shall we?

Characterisitics of the Soltek SL-75DRV
CPU
AMD Athlon (266/200MHz FSB) & Duron
Chipset
VIA KT266 VT8366 + VT8233
Form factor
ATX - 30.5cm X 22cm
Expansion
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP Pro - 6 USB
Memory
3X 184-pin DIMM 3GB DDR SDRAM PC600 - PC2100
FSB
100Mhz to 200Mhz in steps of 1Mhz
Vcore adj.
1.1v to 1.850v in steps of 0.025v
Vio adj.
NA
Audio chipset
embeded into the VIA VT8233 Southbridge


As you can see, the SL-75DRV is quite simply bristling with features. Except perhaps for Asus and Abit, Soltek seems to be in a separate league - over-and-above most of the industry - in terms of their sheer drive to squeeze out every last drop of performance from their system's.



Configuration

Configuration of the SL-75DRV is accomplished through the use of both its on-board DIP switches, and integrated BIOS functions.

Among the switches users will find on its surface, we can include SW1 through SW3.

SW1 permits the CPU's clock multiplier to be set to between 5X and 12.5X. Note that this feature is not duplicated in the BIOS.

SW2 permits users to alter the Vcore frequency - something that can be done from within the BIOS system.

SW3 can be used to set the FSB frequency to 100Mhz, 110Mhz, 120Mhz, 133Mhz, 140Mhz or 150Mhz. The FSB can also be adjusted - with considerably more latitude - from within the BIOS.

Lastly, we have jumpers JP1/JP2, which can be used to set the DRAM voltage setting to 2.5v, 2.6v, or 2.7v.

All other adjustments can be performed from within the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu.

Once there, users can increments the FSB from between 100MHz and 200MHz in 1MHz steps.

Next in the menu is the option to set the Vcore voltage. Unfortunately, the Vio voltage cannot be changed.

Another interesting feature of the SL-75DRV worth mentioning is a set of functions that allow users to introduce clock delays into certain circuits that are critical to successful Overclocking. The goal in this case isn't to augment performance, but rather to increase an Overclocked system's stability. Below is a list of the various circuits that can be adjusted in this way, as well as the values (in picoseconds) that can be applied:

  • CPU skew adjust: 50ps to 750ps in steps of 50ps
  • CHIP skew adjust: 50ps to 750ps in steps of 50ps
  • PCI skew adjust: 100ps to 1500ps in steps of 100ps
  • AGP skew adjust: 100ps to 300ps in steps of 100ps

    Finally, a function called "RedStorm Overclocking Tech" is included, and allows the system to be tested and Overclocked to its maximum according to a set of pre-selected stability criteria. Once activated, "RedStorm Overclocking Tech" tweaks the CPU a little at a time in order to determine the highest frequency it can support. Once that frequency is determined, the system is rebooted at said frequency, and your done. We'll be taking a closer look at this function later-on in this article.

    And, as you might expect, the SL-75DRV comes with the standard abilities to adjust memory timings - though the requisite functions are located in the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu in this case. Features include the ability to set the independent memory bus to 100MHz, 133MHz, or SPD (Serial Presence Detect).

    Index:

    Next: Technical details.