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.The layout of the 75DRV5 motherboard is very similar to the 75DRV4. The ATX power connector has moved down to behind the AC’97 sound port and game port. This position is a little low for my tastes and could cause a problem if you have a very tall case with the power supply seated high on it. ATX power extenders are available but only in a few inches so as to prevent stability problems.
The CPU socket has a good amount of room surrounding it so you can install just about any heatsink on it. The capacitors lining the bottom of the socket are off center enough that I didn’t have conflicts getting the heatsink clip into place. The DIMM slots are well spaced and didn’t give me any problems when I used the Corsair XMS2700 memory with heat spreaders on them. The north bridge of the chipset has a sturdy heatsink on it with a generic fan to provide an active cooling solution.
The expansion configuration includes one 4x AGP slot, five PCI slots and a CNR slot. The CNR slot is an attempt to lure in some of the smaller OEMs to Soltek’s motherboards for their PC sales. There are only 2 IDE channels, each though with support for the ATA133 specifications.
The on-board sound on the 75DRV5 is not something I would recommend for a music lover or gamer, but should suffice for most other people. Soltek has included a total of 4 3-pin fan connectors. That will leave you with 3 for extra fan use after you plug in your processor fan. If you really wanted, you could have a fifth as well if you unplugged the KT333 chipset fan.
In our past review of the KT266A based 75DRV4 motherboard, you will find that the one category Soltek seemed to fall behind in was the features category. The Soltek 75DRV5 has, unfortunately, not swayed from this characteristic. You will not find any of the extended features that are available on many other manufacturer’s board. An optional IDE RAID version of the motherboard would have been a nice thing to see. And while they are not needed, it’s the features like USB 2.0 and an upgraded on-board audio system that will attract many consumers that are not after a plain, performance driven motherboard.
Don’t let that concern you too much. As a PC enthusiast, you may find that the simple design and feature set to be in your advantage. The performance will probably impress you more than enough to overcome it, but we’ll get to that soon.