Good and Bad
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.FIC’s attention to detail and their respect for their customers is shown in their included items in their retail AZ11 motherboards. The users manual is very information and has step by step instructions for installation and explanations of every setting in the bios menus. The CD Plus that is included features 9 software titles, the most prominent of which are from Symantec: Ghost, Antivirus and Virtual Drive.
Also in the box are a single floppy cable and two IDE cables, one ATA66 and one standard. It’s nice to see motherboard manufacturers including more than a single cable in the box making installations simpler and keeping you from running to the local PC shop once you’ve realized you forgot the extra IDE cable. Finally, there is a faceplate for the back of the case to fit the oddly configured AC’99 setup.
Physically, the AZ11 is just as odd as other FIC motherboards. The design is larger than needed, measuring 24.5 cm X 30.5 cm. Just by looking at the pictures of the board, you can see that much of this extra space is empty, which frankly puzzles me. From the fourth PCI slot and down, the PCB is basically empty. There is plenty of room for a sixth PCI slot, which is compatible with the South Bridge hardware, but was left out. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, most think that by shrinking the depth of the motherboard and moving some of the components farther down on the board would make the board more attractive to retail purchasers.
The connectors on the back are not a standard AC’99 configuration as mentioned previously. There are two PS2 ports, two USB, one LPT and only a single serial port. The on-board sound adaptor is also missing the game port. Though the serial port shouldn’t cause too many problems with the increase in popularity of USB, the lack of the game port may turn a few people off who would normally rely on the onboard sound for their gaming needs.
The ATX power connector is placed far enough away from the horizontally-mounted 462-pin Socket A that it won’t affect the cooling device placed on the CPU, but the capacitors and voltage regulators could become a nuisance if the heatsink extends past the edge of the socket entirely. In the realm of overclocking, the man with multiplier settings is king. Unfortunately, the AZ11 does not have these available to change (without heavy modification) nor does it have the ability to change the voltage settings. What we are left to play with is simply the FSB settings. There is a wide variety of settings ranging from 100 MHz to 133 MHz. During my testing, I was able to get my system up to 106 MHz FSB while the memory was set to HOSTCLOCK+33 and up to 109 MHz FSB while the memory was set HOSTCLOCK speed. This simply shows that my memory was unable to run at speeds greater than 143 MHz. The FIC AZ11 is not very overclocker friendly, with it only allowing you to change one of the three necessary settings for successful overclocking.
|(Click for Larger Image [pcb])|
|(Click for Larger Image [connectors])|