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The Transcend TS-AVE3 Motherboard

Features
The Board
  • VIA Apollo Pro 133A Chipset (694X+ 686A)
  • Up to 1,5 GB SDRAM(PC-100/PC-133) or VCM
  • Built-in AC97 CODEC
  • 66~150MHz(66/100/133 MHz guaranteed)
  • Award BIOS with Green, ACPI, APM, Plug and Play, DMI functions
  • 2 x Bus master IDE channels support up to 4 x IDE devices
  • Support PIO mode 3/4, DMA mode 2, and Ultra DMA 33/66

http://www.transcend.com.tw

(+,-) $110USD

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8/10

Transcend has been around since 1988. They were best known for their quality memory products. Their memory products cover the entire digital spectrum, including high-end workstations, servers, desktops, notebooks and PDAís, printers, digital cameras, fax machines and even Game Consoles. With over 12 years of experience in research and design, transcend is a company ready to challenge todayís tight technology competition. We are taking a look at transcends TS-AVE3 motherboard, itís our very first and not last Transcend product being reviewed in the lab.

The TS-AVE3 is transcends FC-PGA 370 motherboard based on the latest VIA 694X/686A AGP set. The AVE3 board features a jumperless control panel for front side bus adjustments. The JP4 jumper allows you to set the FSB speed in three different options: 66, 100, 133MHz. When you go for the 66Mhz option, you would have the choice of going from 66MHz to 95MHz through the frequency/Voltage BIOS Control. When the jumper is set to 100MHz, you have the choice of selecting a system bus frequency from 100-124MHz. At last, when itís set at 133MHz you can select a frequency from 124 to 150MHz.

A total of nine 1500Uf Sanyo 6.3 volts capacitors are available around the CPU socket. Twelve 1000Uf 6.3v Sanyo capacitors are spreaded around the DIMM and PCI slots and several smaller are spreaded all over the PCB to maintain full operating stability.

The AVE3 features a standard expansion interface for an Appollo133A board (PCI/ISA/AMR/AGP). It features one ISA slot; for the folks using older peripherals, followed by an AMR slot and continuing with five PCI slots. I would personally prefer this board come with six PCI slots. This could have been easily done by eliminating the AMR slot as the AMR interface didnít see any use with retail customers and I would be ready to bet that it wonít see anything promising for at least another few months. Of course, an AGP slot is available, featuring AGP4X support.

This product features three DIMM slots, considered as a standard for this particular chip-set. You can go as high as 1.5GB of memory. Supported memory includes synchronous DRAM, Virtual Channel Memory and ECC memory. The ECC feature can be used to check the memory sub system and make sure there are no errors during the memory read and write phases. Before enabling this option, you need to make sure your memory modules are compatible with the ECC feature.

The DIMM slots donít interfere with the AGP slot when the video card is inserted. This little problem has been noticed on several of todayís motherboards and it generally results in unpleasant experiences. The Layout it self is very well suited for a FC-PGA motherboard and offers what we would expect of that quality product.

As you may already saw, the positioning of the HDD/FDD connector ports are very comfortable, as they are out of the way of all components. This board features two 40-pin IDE connectors marked as IDE1 and IDE2. Each connector supports two IDE devices. The Blue IDE connector marked as IDE1 is the one supporting the UDMA/66 standard.

The AVE3 boards features a built in 3D Audio Chip also known as the AC 97 codec. This particular chip-set is very similar to the sound-blaster 16 card, and should satisfy most of the users. However if you are playing a lot of games or use a multi-channel sound system, you would be better with a normal high end audio card as the SBLIVE or MX400. The implanted audio card features five different video connectors on the PCB. These connectors allow you to receive stereo audio input from sound sources such as CD-ROM drives and TV Tuners.

One of my favorites features on this board is the support for four USB ports. Transcend included an external USB connector featuring two optional USB inputs. However, itís not perfect when touching the expansion scene. This External connector must be plugged in an 8-pin male port on the motherboard, and this male port is situated right in front of the fifth PCI slot. This results in an interfering problem. I tried to insert a standard 3COM Ethernet Adapter and two different sound-cards (SBLIVE, MX400) and didnít have any luck as the cable of the USB adapter was blocking the way. I canít confirm that this problem will persist with all PCI cards, but from my test, it seemed like it will with most.

Transcend included one IDE cable, an 80-pin cable for newer hard-drives based on the UDMA/66 Standard, and one FDD cable is also bundled to use with your floppy drive. A good manual covering all the features and specification is included, and last a Transcend branded CD-ROM including the sound drivers, utilities and some troubleshooting information.

Summation

Transcend has done a great job on the TS-AVE3 motherboard. Stability and good documentation are two of the biggest qualities we could sort out on that specific product.

One of the biggest negative points is touching the design of the motherboard. Everything is well positioned, if talking about the DIMM slots and the IDE connectors. This board suffer mostly in the not logic construction, an example is the poor placement of the male connection for the external USB expansion. Itís simply not positioned in the right place. Taking another look at the PCB, there were several other places where that specific interface could have been installed without causing any expansion problems. A second negative of the construction aspect is the placement of the on-board sound connectors: they too can cause interfering problems with some PCI cards.

Our third criticism deals with the fan connectors. Transcend included only two connectors on the PCB, compared to todayís standard which is three. The TS-AVE3 could be considered as an interesting product for people looking to spend a small amount of money for a quality motherboard. The AVE3 board is priced somewhat less than some of Transcendís competition. The product performed very well, but because of some poor layout and a lack of a third fan connector, the AVE3 canít touch an 8.5/10 rating, we award it a 8.0.

Oleg Mitskaniouk
00/06/14

 





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