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FIC AU31 nForce2 Review

Let’s take a look at the AU31 and see if it keeps up with two of the most recognized and awarded nForce 2 motherboards on the market, the ASUS A7N8X and the ABIT NF7-S rev 1.2.

Introduction:

Small Form Factor PC’s, or SFF’s
have been in demand at a constant increasing volume
the last few years, with the trend in the SFF
industry to sacrifice performance for space saving
size. SFF PC’s are used as Home Theatre PC’s (HTPC’s)
and Lan Party rigs among others, but have often
lacked powerful onboard graphics and yes, even
AGP slots.

The advent of the Crush18G chipset
by NVIDIA has provided motherboard manufacturers
to change what was fundamentally wrong with SFF
chipsets, even though the Crush18G was introduced
in the standard ATX form factor. We’ve seen companies
like Shuttle shrink down the Crush18G chipset
to one PCI and one AGP slot with their Shuttle
SFF Barebone SN41G2, with much acclaim and success.
With that noted, FIC has recently introduced their
Crush18G (Nvidia nForce 2 IGP motherboard) in
the SFF, named the AU31.

The AU31 is designed for the OEM
markets and not particularly toward the enthusiast
community, but has been dubbed an ideal HTPC motherboard
and one that provides all the power the fastest
nForce 2 motherboards yield, at a much smaller
footprint.

So let’s take a look at the AU31
and see if it keeps up with two of the most recognized
and awarded nForce 2 motherboards on the market,
the ASUS A7N8X and the ABIT NF7-S rev 1.2.

Specifications:



CPU
AMD Athlon XP (Socket A)

Northbridge

Nvidia nForce 2 IGP

Southbridge
MCP-T

Form Factor
9.6" x 9", micro ATX
Form Factor

Memory
Two 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets
(Un-buffered Non-ECC DIMM)
Supports DDR 400 (PC 3200)

Expansion Slots
1 AGP Slot
3 PCI Slots

Onboard IDE

Dual channel bus master IDE
supporting up to 4 IDE devices

Integrated Components
Realtek 8100BL

FSB
100-166 Mhz

Bus Speeds

100 – 250MHz

 

Package Contents:



  • Instruction Manual

  • Drivers Disk

  • IDE ribbon

  • Floppy IDE ribbon

  • USB 2.0 back
    panel add-on

  • Back I/O panel

 

TeamVR
http://vrzone.com
VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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