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Tyan Trinity KT (S2390) socket A Motherboard

Founded in 1989, Tyan Corporation has always been best known for their quality server and workstations mainboards. Stability is a word that describes best their latest offerings. Tyan is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA. Their motherboards are manufactured in Taiwan, in an ISO 9002 approved facility. We look at Tyanís latest AMD socket A offering, the Trinity KT (S2390). AMD's low cost Duron CPU is today's best bang for the buck. Surpassing the Intel Celeron in virtually all tasks running at same speed. The biggest problem that is lying around this type of products is the high priced motherboards. Today, a good branded Socket A motherboard can cost three to four times more than a Duron Processor. Something that we would have never imagined could happen a few years ago is becoming a reality to face. Motherboards are picking more and more weight and CPUís are loosing increasingly.

Features
The Board
  • Four -layer board
  • One 20-pin ATX power connector
  • Stacked Mouse / Keyboard ports
  • Stacked two USB ports
  • One Serial & one Parallel ports
  • One 1x / 2x / 4x mode AGP v.2.0 slot
  • Six 32-bit PCI v.2.1 compliant slots
  • One 16-bit ISA slot (shared w/ a PCI slot)
  • Total seven usable slots

http://www.tyan.com

(+,-) $130USD

12345678.5910
8.5/10

Technical Impressions

When I first time saw the Trinity KT, I immediately got the impression that this board was not designed for the low cost OEM market. The four layer PCB measures 12" x 8.2" which can be considered larger than average. The expansion of the Trinity KT can be considered maximal. It features six PCI slots and one 16-bit shared ISA slot for your older peripherals. Three well-positioned DIMM slots are located near the upper IDE connectors. Each can house up to 512MB of standard 168-pin 3.3 unbuffered modules, resulting in up to 1.5GB of memory. ECC memory is not supported, except for registered PC100 512MB Modules.

The positioning of the HDD/FDD connector ports is very comfortable, as they are out of the way of all other components on the motherboard. The ATX power supply connector is conveniently located between the CPU socket and the first DIMM slot. The layout itself is very well suited. The board features a total of two fan connectors, while not considered maximal; it should be enough for the majority.

The Trinity KT 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.

A total of nine 1500Uf 10 volts capacitors are spreaded around the CPU socket. Sixteen 1000Uf 6.3v capacitors are spreaded around the DIMM and PCI slots and several smaller are spreaded all over the PCB to maintain full operating stability.

Thanks to its advanced south bridge, the KT offers an optional USB HUB, resulting in four USB ports. I was a bit disappointed that Tyan did not include the optional cable that features the extra two ports. This will have to be purchased as an option on tyanís online store. This also applies for the serial (COMM) port. The Trinity KT features a single serial port and no cable is included to take advantage of the second one. I guess we could let this go through, as this Trinity KT is somehow priced lower than its competition.

Maybe this is less important, but definitely worth mentioning, is the placement of the CMOS reset jumper. Itís situated at the very bottom of the board and is very easy to access when compared to other motherboards, which in some cases, require removing the cards in order to access it.

Similar to most mainboard manufacturers, Tyan included two data cables, one ATA/66 ribbon cable and a Floppy ribbon cable. A well-detailed userís guide is packed with the board. It covers some installation processes, jumper settings and an overview of the BIOS setup. Tyan also included a CD including the VIA 4 IN 1 Drivers and the Bios flashing utility.

The Chipset

The Nortbridge of the KT133 platform is the VT8363. This specific platform supports the latest in mainboard technologies. This including AGP 4X support and an asynchronous memory clock. The Asynchronous memory clock is featured in most VIA Apollo 133A and Intel i815 platforms and allows to run the memory speed higher or lower compared to the CPU clock. For example, your AMD or PENTIUM III ( E) runs at 100MHz Front Side Bus as default, in most older mainboards, the memory could only run at the same speed as the CPU Bus. While not very efficient for PC-133 users that couldn't take advantage of 133MHz memory speeds, the Asynchronous option in the Bios setup gives you the choice to choose different memory options to fully benefit of the highest memory bandwidth possible. The South Bridge used on the KT133 is the VT82C686A, the very same solution used on most Apollo PRO 133A and 133 motherboards. While not the most advanced, The VT82C686A should still satisfy the majority, mostly because of its optional USB HUB (four ports in total). A newer VT82C686 (REV-B) south bridge should be soon used on most VIA based motherboards. As VIA stated earlier this month, this improved south bridge will be featuring some newer features. This of course including ATA/100 support, let's cross our fingers and hope that the ATA/100 will be real and not simply a marketing gag that ended being Via's ATA/66 support.

Summation


Tyanís Trinity KT motherboard is a great performer. Its also without doubts a solid choice for anyone planning to build an AMD machine based on the Duron or Athlon (Thunderbird) processor. I have always admired Tyanís trinity product line for its maximum expansion and logic layout; the Trinity KT, without questions, is making it to the list. The Trinity KT, like almost all of Trinity's line, mostly suffers of its poor overclocking capability; Tyan has not included any options to change the core voltage of the CPU, making it somewhat of a bad choice for the overclockers at hart. While not impossible, the KT can still manage to higher the bus speed and run fine as long as the CPU will not require any extra voltage. If you are the non-overclocking type of person and are looking for a solid and rock stable solution for your new Duron or Athlon "Thunderbird" processor, then the Trinity KT would be something to consider.

Oleg Mitskaniouk

00.10.06


 





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