Articles: Mainboards

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The processor voltage regulator is designed according to a three-channel circuitry and uses pretty powerful (compared to what we saw on other mainboards) MOSFET and inductances. The processor Vcore on the board is not any higher than the nominal. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL supports Cool’n’Quiet technology, although they didn’t mention this fact anywhere. Even in the BIOS Setup there is not a single work about this technology or about the disabling option. Nevertheless, as soon as I installed the AMD driver and enabled the power saving option in the Windows settings page, Cool’n’Quiet started working perfectly well.

The hardware monitoring algorithms implemented on this mainboard do not boast any outstanding peculiarities. However, Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL uses the thermal diode built into the CPU that is why you can be certain about high temperature measuring accuracy.

In fact SL-K8AV2-RL lost not only the third DIMM slot, but also a number of settings for advanced memory configuring, which disappeared from the BIOS Setup. For example the mainboard doesn’t allow enabling ECC. The worst thing is that you cannot manually adjust the timings, which are anyway automatically set depending on what the module SPD says. In fact, the only memory related parameter in the BIOS Setup of SL-K8AV2-RL is the memory frequency. The choice is pretty standard though: DDR200/DDR266/DDR333/DDR400.

I would like to say a few words about the overclocking friendly features of the Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL mainboard, of course. No, unfortunately, you will not be able to change the CPU clock frequency multiplier. However, this is the only VIA K8T800 based mainboard in our today’s roundup, which can theoretically allow adjusting the frequency dividers for AGP, HyperTransport and PCI buses. The mainboard is equipped with a special jumper set, which allow changing the corresponding dividers so that these buses frequency could be automatically set to the nominal value once the system bus frequency is set to 200MHz, 233MHz, 266MHz and 270MHz.

All this means that Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL can be theoretically better at overclocking than the other solutions on VIA K8T800 considered today. Especially since this chipset doesn’t know to lock the AGP, HyperTransport and PCI bus frequencies. But this is still only in theory. In reality the situation appeared not that exciting at all. Unfortunately, the mainboard refused to start with the jumper set at any other position than “the settings for 200MHz system bus”. In other words, Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL appeared to have all the same problems as the other VIA K8T800 based mainboards do: overclocking is very often limited not by the CPU, but by the top working frequencies of the AGP/PCI buses.

Since the above described jumper didn’t work, we had to resort to the option available in the BIOS Setup, which allows changing the bus frequency from 200MHz to 233MHz with 1MHz increment. Moreover, you cannot actually set this parameter to 233MHz, so in reality the maximum you can make Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL work at is 232MHz. The available voltage settings are impressively rich. The processor Vcore can be set to 0.8V-1.7V with 0.025V increment (I have to admit that even though 1.7V is not much higher than the nominal 1.5V of AMD Athlon 64 processor, many mainboards do not offer even this option). The memory voltage can be set from 2.6V to 2.9V with 0.1V increment. And the AGP voltage can be set to 1.5V, 1.6V, 1.7V or 1.8V. Besides that, the BIOS Setup of Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL allows increasing the V-Link bus voltage from 2.5V to 2.8V with 0.1V increment.

The mainboard proved very stable during overclocking and in regular working conditions. In case of over-overclocking you can always reset the BIOS Setup settings to default values by pressing the INS key.

This way, Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL is a very good Socket754 mainboard targeted for a Low-End market. This product doesn’t have a rich accessories set (you will get an almost empty box) and minimal additional features. However, it doesn’t at all mean that the product is not good enough to consider for your system. We do not have any complaints about Soltek SL-K8AV2-RL design and quality, and strongly believe that it perfectly fits into that market niche where the manufacturer actually targets it.

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