Physical Features and Layout
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.If you like the layout of the Abit KT7A motherboards, you will be pleased with Iwill’s KK266 as well. Starting from the top and working your way down, you’ll first notice the ATX power connector. It is on the very top most edge of the PCB, which is in opinion an excellent spot. Here, it will not get in the way of large fans and heatsinks, nor will it interfere with SDRAM installation once the motherboard is installed in the case.
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Just south of that, is the processor socket. I wish they had turned the socket around 90° so that users were able to remove the heatsink and reapply it easier while it was installed in a case. The way it is placed now, if your power supply is directly over your motherboard, you may have to remove it the motherboard in order to change fans or upgrade processors. Also, thought Iwill left adequate room for heatsink installation, it wasn’t quite enough to install the Thermaltake Super Orb without feeling a bit nervous booting it up. I would avoid that combination if you could.
Around the CPU socket you will find a good amount of 3-pin power connectors for fans. There are four total on the motherboard: one near the bottom for the case fan, and the other three are higher up for placement on the CPU or elsewhere. Most other motherboards only come with 3 power connectors, so this is a welcome addition to the market.
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An interesting bit of information that I didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me: even though the heatsink is in the standard place, indeed the KT133A Northbridge is turned 45°. Nothing very dramatic, but it kind of stood out to me. Rumor is floating about that turning the chipset this way increases the signal strength and thus increase stability and overclocking potential.
To the right are 3 standard 168-pin DIMM slots for your PC133 (hopefully not still PC100) SDRAM. Farther right you have the IDE and floppy channels. Notice the placement settings for the optional IDE RAID channels. One little nuisance I have is with this placement for the IDE ports. Once installed in a case, the cables are hard to remove and change as they usually are hidden behind the installed hard drives and/or CDROMs.
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Though this isn’t the RAID version the motherboard that I am reviewing, the KK266-R, I have some information here for you about it that should cover its features. The KK26-R motherboard uses an AMI chipset, and not the standard HighPoint or Promise ones. Iwill claims that they did this because of the lack of support for good quality RAID mirror/stripping on the other chipsets. The AMI chipset allows for user the mirror THEN stripe, thus preserving their data and then backing it up, no vise versa.
As for expansion slots, the Iwill KK266 does not let down in this department. With a 6/1/0/1 configuration (PCI/ISA/AMR/AGP), there is plenty of room to expand in this motherboard. Even though I picked on the IDE ports for being on the upper half of the motherboard, keeping them there allows all the PCI slots to become full sized and able to accommodate the longer cards such as SCSI adapters, etc. The AGP port is not AGP Pro, but I can’t imagine this being a big problem. It is, of course, AGP 4x compliant.
On-board audio is included, though I never really even give it a second glance unless it is a Creative chipset. 🙂