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AOpen AX4C Max II

Review by Harry Lam on 12.16.03
Motherboard provided by AOpen

 

Layout:

The AX4C Max II is a perfect example of AOpen's fusion of style and usability.  The AX4C Max II features AOpen's usual black PCB, which looks almost as nice as the "platinum" PCBs out there.  The Northbridge heatsink is rotated 45 degrees as to allow the use of larger, oversized CPU coolers (which was one of the problems with the first AX4C Max).  The motherboard features AOpen's signature vertical CMOS battery clip, which allows for easy removal and replacement of the motherboard battery.  This also comes in handy for when the BIOS needed to be reset, as it is much easier to pull the battery than use the reset jumper.

Die Hard BIOS II:

AOpen's Die-Hard BIOS II technology is one of my favorite motherboard features.  The AX4C Max II has two BIOS chips on the motherboard, eliminating the need for a BIOS Savior.  This allows for a backup BIOS just in case the primary BIOS chip gets corrupted.  Failed BIOS flashes and BIOS viruses are easily remedied with this feature.


Hercules PCI:

The Hercules PCI slot (color coded blue) is a specially designed PCI slot with independent 3.3V circuitry.  This allows for less variance in the voltage signal of the PCI slot, which can translate to increased stability/precision for the card that occupies this slot.  This PCI slot is touted to provide 50% more voltage stability (680mV peak to peak compared to 1.32V peak to peak), and can be useful in certain environments (especially for data acquisition and audio editing).  This slot potentially can improve the stability of certain intolerant PCI cards during overclocking operations.  This definitely is a nice feature, however, most users will not have a need for the special features of this slot.

Connectors:

The front panel connectors on the AX4C Max II are color coded and polarity marked, allowing for easy connection of the various case LEDs and switches (just match up the positive sign with the arrow on the connectors, and you're set to go).  The back panel is loaded full of connectors, with 6 external USB 2.0 ports and Gigabit LAN.  This has always been a selling point for AOpen motherboards, with its immense number of extra connectors and ports.

 

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