Page 12: Aopen
AOpen has been making motherboards since I can remember, but their popularity and presence have been quite odd. They have gone from the top 3 manufacturers, to a point where I thought they went out of business. During these times, their other products which aren't so cutting edge has kept them alive, from NICs to CD drives.
AOpen used to be one of the better performers in the pentium days, but since they have dropped out and came back, their performance isn't as great as it used to be. Their last few releases are getting better and better, who knows what level they'll return to. Their emphasis on quality still stands, which is very refreshing.
Aopen used to make an extremely good product, and they still do. I've heard of no stability complaints from current boards from both reviews and from users. Although the AK77 Plus has a lower CPU voltage then normal it didn't seem to cause problems. This might just be a sign of good design, or luck.
The days of overclocking have come a long way from when Aopen was last a major competitor, and they are not up to par anymore. They never were the greatest at it in the first place, but lack of multiplier adjusts, voltage tweaks, and jumpers that remain on board show how much work they have to do here.
Unfortunately Aopen has decided that they should keep their prices in the range that they were before. They remain quite high for boards with much to be desired. They no longer hold their brand name, and should lower their prices to reflect it.
Onboard sound and RAID are not a problem to get on their boards. They are obviously pushing to become a major player again, and including everything the big boys have in theirs. Bringing a nice black PCB to the arena is also a nice feature for some, the boards look really nice too.
Aopen, in my opinion, made some major mistakes. They went from the top of the industry to out of sight. When the original Slot A Athlon was introduced, Intel tried to use their power and convince many manufacturers that they should make Intel only boards. Fortunately most people didn't listen and cave in, although a few did, which you no longer see around. Aopen was one of the few that also seemed to follow Intel, and their loyalty did not pay off, thankfully they have returned and are making AMD boards now. Their boards in the past have never had major problems of any type, and yet to have any.
Aopen's web support is not bad, they give you access to drivers, bios updates, etc. There is no help forum, and they pretty much tell you that e-mailing them is useless. They should really give their support page a face lift.
Products worth mentioning:
With the new generation of boards, they really have no worthy products. Back in the day though, they had a few really good boards, and like MSI, even released special edition boards.
Overall Rating: 5.6/10 Their current boards are decent, but cost a little much. They are show stoppers, but they'll give you a solid computer, maybe in a few months, they'll be back on top, hard to tell.
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