Currently, the KT133 motherboard market can be grouped into two different categories - those that allow clock multiplier adjustment, and those that don't.
For AMD enthusiasts who wish to get the most out of their processor, these motherboards with built-in multiplier adjustment have been the preferred solution. Why, you ask? Because with more traditional KT133 motherboards, only the system bus can be used to overclock the CPU. With most KT133 chips only overclocking up to 110MHz (10MHz above default), this leaves little room for overclocking. With clock multiplier adjustment, end users have another tool they can use to overclock their processor.
To illustrate this situation, lets use our Duron 600
as an example. With clock multiplier adjustment, we can easily adjust the multiplier from 6.0x to 9.5x. By keeping the system bus (and, as a result KT133) at 100MHz, we've just successfully overclocked our processor to 950MHz! (9.5x100=950MHz, where 9.5 is the clock multiplier and 100 is the system bus)
When we only use the system bus to overclock the processor, the maximum speed we've achieved with stability is 660MHz. Quite a difference in performance!
For maximum flexibility, you can even adjust the system bus speed and clock multiplier, allowing you to eke every ounce of performance out of your processor. A perfect example of this was our Duron 700 and the ASUS A7V. With both components in hand, we couldn't quite achieve 1GHz (10.0x100) with complete stability. So what did we do? We cranked the multiplier up to 9.5x and dialed in 105MHz for the system bus. The end result was 998MHz of pure high-speed bliss!
Initially this elite group of KT133 motherboards with multiplier adjustment could be counted on one hand: ABIT, ASUS, and Legend QDI.
Now other motherboard manufacturers are joining the party. Today we're here to look at the offering from FIC, the AZ11 Enhanced. (AZ11E)
First International Computer
Looking through the FiringSquad archives, the AZ11E isn't the first motherboard we've reviewed from FIC, but it has been awhile since we last took a look at them.
As the reference platform for AMD's 1GHz "Thunderbird" Athlon however, the company has certainly been busy. Looking to build on their success with OEMs and large system manufacturers such as Compaq Computer Corporation, FIC now aims to design products targeted for the hardcore gamer and PC enthusiast. The AZ11E is the first of their new wave of products. But how does it stack up against proven KT133 designs such as the ASUS A7V and ABIT KT7/KT7-RAID? Read on to find out!