SOLTEK SL-KT400A-L: BIOS
They use AMIBIOS. The Advanced Chipset Features section with the memory timings and AGP settings cannot blow your brains out. Among memory timings, you can only change CAS Latency and Command Rate. You can also enable/disable Bank Interleave. That’s all. Compared to the ABIT mainboard, that’s simply nothing. Well, if Soltek doesn’t want to give the user access to fine memory settings, it is OK. But why do they offer full AGP settings then?
Next goes the Frequency/Voltage section with those “strange” settings I mentioned above. In fact, the general idea behind them is quite clear, but it is really hard to think of a situation when you could use them efficiently. For example, you can set DDR Stability to Auto, 00, 04, 08 and 0C. What’s the highest stability – 00 or 0C? Yeah, let’s read the manual: “this item allows you to configure the register for DDR stability enhancement”. Hm, no answer to my question, actually. One more: the “Rank Interleaver and Timer Control” can be set to 10, 11, 00 or 01. The user manual says this setting is somehow connected with the performance, but doesn’t say explicitly what we shall do to increase this performance. They are quite mysterious at Soltek, you know.
Maybe the company wanted to fend off a casual user with the fearful names and parameters, so that he didn’t have the mood to go and change them. But why did they add these parameters and their ridiculous descriptions to the user’s manual then? People who are into experimenting or who are experts in memory fine-tuning won’t buy this mainboard anyway: it is evidently not for them.
Among good things about the BIOS, I would single out the CPU temperature monitoring by the external and integrated thermal diodes, like in the ABIT board. However, Soltek also invented a few really outstanding names for these functions. The temperature taken from the built-in thermal diode is called “ABS II Current Temperature”. ABS II is the second version of the CPU overheating protection system aka ABS (Anti-Burn Shield). The system follows the AMD recommendations and uses the temperature measurements taken from the thermal diode integrated into the processor core, that is, ABS II Temperature is the true CPU temperature. So why did they give the setting this name? Maybe to advertise their ABS II once again.
Summing it up, I would say that if it were not for the mess with the names, the BIOS would be quite all right, although devoid of fine-tuning options.
So, this was the last mainboard we wanted to review today. Now we are going to present the results our testing participants showed during overclocking and in performance tests in regular mode.