Iwill KK266 Review

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
August 9, 2001
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16568
The Iwill KK266 has been an overclocker's gem. I tested it and I love it.
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Page 1
<p><center><img src="../images/kk266/sideview2.jpg"></center></P><p>The Iwill KK266 has long been a favorite of the overclocking crowd due to its
number of options that range from adjustable clock multiplyer to the adjustable
core voltage. I have been using this motherboard since April of this year, 2001,
and I'm very happy to say that this motherboard lives up to its expectations.
It is based on the Via KT133a chipset.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/kt133a.jpg"></center>
<p>Since this is my first article, I'm giving a brief history of my AMD experiences.</p>
<p><big>History:</big></p>
<p>I went to a computer show for a project that I had for school. I chose to build
a computer, a very easy thing for me todo. I never had a good AMD cpu, I'm not
saying that I had bad chips, just that the performance was sub-par compared
to the Intel offerings. I wanted to try the new socketed Athlon core that I
was reading about everywhere, not only due to the overclockability, but the
performance. Finally, I would have a good computer again. I came across the
KK266 at one booth, I shrugged it off though. I wasn't looking for a great board
at all. I was looking for very cheap. Well, after searching, for $25 more I
got the KK266 than a cheap board. I bought a 750mhz Duron to use in the KK266.</p>
<p>I have never had a hiccup with this motherboard, I had that 750 AKCA Duron
up to 980 at 1.85volts stable. It was great. Then I wanted more, I tried to
use a peltier, but only ended up in crushing my new cpu, and this was before
I presented my project! I told AMD what happened, not the full truth, but they
said they'd have a look at it. Well, it was a start at least. After 2 weeks
of nothing, I went to one of my favorite websites, Ebay, to find a new CPU Someone
had put a buy it now for $25 on a 800Mhz Duron, retail. I bought that. Then,
AMD sent me another CPU to replace the broken 750. I had 2 cpus, so I bought
another board. I'll be reviewing the other one soon.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><big>First impressions:</big></p>
<p>The KK266 came in a nice package with the usual cables and such, the manual
is very helpful. Well thoughtout in my opinion. But, the board is basically
plug and play. I'm also glad that sound came with the board. It is the version
1.2 motherboard.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/kk266and686B.jpg"></center>
<p>This was my first Socket A board. I didn't know what to expect. I liked the
green PCB (I was used to brown) and the northbridge had a heatsink that reminded
me of the BX heatsink on my BP6. The board was all around neat, as in the layout.
There are 6 PCI slots, an AGP slot and an ISA slot. The KK266 and the KK266-R
have the same PCB if you didn't know so you are buying the same board basically
with 2 more IDE channels if you have the RAID board.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/pcislots.jpg"></center>
<p>The area around the CPU socket is clear of any objects, unlike some other boards
I've had. I'm using the AMD standard cooler now, but I was using a Taisol (Original
version). </p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/socketarea.jpg"></center><p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/socketarea2.jpg"></center>
<p>The ATX power connector is right at the top of the board. It is in a perfect
place too, my power connector didn't interfere with anything else on the board.</p>
<p>The three DIMM sockets (PC133) are clear of most things. There is one problem,
if you have a lengthy AGP graphics card, you'll have a tough time removing the
RAM from the board as the release clips will be snug on the video card. And
if you video card has heatsinks on the ram, forget it, you'll have a really
hard time if the heatsink is at the end of the board and protrudes into the
DIMM sockets. Other than that, the DIMM placement is fine.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/frontview.jpg"><p>
Wow, my video card almost touched them.<br>
<img src="../images/kk266/closecallmem.jpg"></center><p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/closecallmem2.jpg"></center><p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/closecallmem3.jpg"></center>
<p>The 2 ATA100 connectors and the Floppy connector are at the top right of the
board. This is normally where they are located and don't pose a problem at all.
If you have the KK266-R there will be 4 IDE connectors, a mess of wires may
occur if you need all the connectors. Just a heads up for you overclockers that
with all those wires, airflow may be cut drastically.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/memarea.jpg"></center>
<p>A Heatsink of the Northbridge (KT133a) was a fine addition, but most boards
do this now anyway. A fan would be nice, but you can just add your own if needed.
The 686B southbridge is bare. But I haven't seen a board that has a southbridge
heatsink anyway.</p>
<p>There are 3 fan headers on the board. 2 Case fans and 1 CPU fan. This should
be fine for most people except the overclocker crowd. But with the types of
fans they use, a 4 pin connector would be better suited anyway.</p>
<p>One last thing, the few jumpers that need to be set are a breeze due to Iwill's
long jumper caps. Iwill has paid attention to detail.</p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/cooljumper.jpg"></center>

<p>The sound is provided by an on board CMI8738 Cmedia 4.1 channel sound. The
sound is quite good for an integrated piece of hardware and OEMs will love it.
You can easily use another sound card of your choosing by disabling the sound
by a simple jumper.</p>
<center>
<p><img src="../images/kk266/audio.jpg"></p></center>
Page 2

<p>BIOS, Stability, Features</p>
<p><big>KK266 features</big> (Off of Iwill's site) Some information was cut to shorten the
length. </p>
<p>
Processor <br>
Supports Socket A for AMD&reg; AthlonTM & DuronTM Processors<br>
Supports CPU Speed From 600 MHz up to 1.2GHz and Higher<br>
Supports adjustable Vcore & VIO </p>
<p>
Chipset <br>
VIA&reg; ApolloTM KT133A chipset<br>
VIA&reg; VT82C686B chipset<br>
C-media CMI8738 4.1 channel hardware sound </p>
<p>
Bus Frequency <br>
Supports DDR266/200 MHz FSB<br>
MicroStepping&#153; Iwill CPU Frequency Setting</p>
<p>
System Memory <br>
3 x 168-pin DIMM Sockets Support up to 1.5 GB of PC133 Memory<br>
Supports 3.3V Unbuffered/Registered DIMM </p>
<p>
On Board IDE <br>
Dual ATA 100/66/33 IDE Channels</p>
<p>
Audio <br>
C-Media&reg; CMI-87383D Sound Chip<br>
4.1 Channel Hardware Sound<br>
32-voice HRTF-base 3D Positional Audio</p>
<p>
I/O Interface <br>
1 x FDD (Floppy Port)<br>
2 x ATA/100 IDE Ports<br>
1 x PS/2 Mouse (supports auto swapping)<br>
1 x PS/2 Keyboard (supports auto swapping)<br>
1 x Parallel Port<br>
2 x Serial Ports<br>
4 x USB Ports (2 x optional)<br>
3 x Audio Ports (Line-IN/Line-OUT/MIC)<br>
1 x Game/MIDI Port<br>
1 x Chassis Intrusion Header<br>
1 x Internal IR Header<br>
1 x SMBus Header </p>
<p>
Expansion Slots <br>
1 x AGP Slot (AGP 4X/2X Mode; 32-bit/66 MHz AGP Protocol)<br>
6 x PCI 2.2 Bus Master Slots<br>
1 x ISA Slot </p>
<p>
BIOS <br>
2 Mb EEPROM with Flash Protection<br>
"Bye-Bye Jumper" Iwill Smart Setting<br>
PC99 Compliant<br>
Supports Plug and Play (PnP)<br>
Supports ACPI 1.0<br>
Supports APM 1.2<br>
Supports DMI 2.1 </p>
<p>
Power Management <br>
RTC Alarm<br>
Wake ON LAN (WOL)<br>
Wake ON Modem (WOM)<br>
Windows 2000/98/95 Power Off </p>
<p>
Board Size <br>
ATX Form Factor - 305mm x 240mm</p>

<p>The latest BIOS of the KK266 has loads of features that are easily tweakable.
My Micron memory is running fine at the fastest setting of course.<p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/biosandbattery.jpg"></center>
<p> For testing, I'm using an 800mhz Duron running at 6x133mhz. I only have the
standard CPU fan. Well, to tell you the truth, I was using the standard Intel
fan. Well, the Intel fan wouldn't cut it even at default speed. But both suck
equally for overclocking so I won't be doing it. I will say this though, I had
my 750mhz Duron AKCA up to 980Mhz at 140mhz FSB, that was the highest it would
go on a restart. It warm booted fine at 1 GHZ into windows and ran fine, then
wouldn't boot properly the second time. I know I should be testing overclockability,
but I don't have the tools right not Wink. Don't sweat, I'll get them.
<p>

For Stability, I ran SETI for a day. It didn't crash once at all. None of the benchmarks crashed it either. This board is a very stable board.
Test system config.
<ul>
<li>KK266 Motherboard
<li>AMD Duron 800 (6x133)
<li>128MB PC133 Micron CAS2
<li>15GB Maxtor ATA100 5400RPM
<li>Geforce2 GTS 32MB
<li>24x CDrom
<li>On board sound
<li>Via 4in1 Version 4.32
<li>Nvidia 12.41 Drivers
<li>Win2k SP2
</ul>
<p>On to the benchmarks and the conclusion...
Page 3

<p>Benchmarks, Conclusion</p><p>
Well, there isn't much for me to say here. I ran the Q3A timedemo 1 at the lowest possible settings, then at the highest possible settings at 4 different resolutions each. Since this is my
first review, I can't compare it with another board. When I start to get more boards, I'll be sure to update this. You can go check out these boards at <a href="http://www.socketa.com">SocketA</a>.
<br>Anyway, on to the numbers... <p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/cpuscore.gif"><br>
The Sandra CPU benchmarks show that the CPU is perfectly fine on the board.
<p>
<img src="../images/kk266/cpumscore.gif"><br>The Multimedia Score was a bit low, I still don't know why.<p>
<img src="../images/kk266/memscore.gif"><br>These are great memory scores for a KT133a board. This was at 133MHZ FSB.</center><p>

I feel very bad that I don't have a graphic program, and I don't even know if I'm doing the benchmarks correctly. Hey, I'm new, give me a break!! Wink.
Anyway, I won't bother you with any more ranting for now.<p>

<big>Quake 3 MAX settings (Demo1)<br>
640x480 106.6FPS<br>
800x600 103.6FPS<br>
1024x768 88.3FPS<br>
1280x1024 52.9FPS<p>


Quake 3 MIN settings (Demo1)<br>
640x480 117.8FPS<br>
800x600 116.6FPS<br>
1024x768 114.1FPS<br>
1280x1024 94.0FPS</big><p>

Now, on my main machine, I've got a Radeon 64DDR. Let me just say that the Win2k Drivers for the Radeon are really, really bad.<p>
Anyway, I ran 3Dmark 2001 3 times cause I was stunned at the results I got.<p>
<center><img src="../images/kk266/3dmark.gif"></center>
<p>Again, I am new at this. Please give me some feedback <a href="mailto:aronschatz@aselabs.com?Subject=KK266 Review">here</a>.
<p> <big>Conclusion.</big><br>
What more is there to say? This is the best SDram board based on the KT133a
chipset. If you have one of these, there is very little reason to upgrade to
DDR right now. If you don't have one, I do suggest to check out the KK266Plus
and the DDR solutions from VIA, AMD and SiS. I think it is wrong to go with
a SDram board right now as the price of DDR ram is so cheap and the DDR chipset
are maturing nicely.
<table width="100%" border="0">
<tr>
<td>Pros</td>
<td>Cons</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Extremely Fast and Stably</td>
<td>No jumpers for multiplyer</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Great overclockability</td>
<td>Mem sockets could be farther away from the video card</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Good Layout</td>
<td>&nbsp;</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>&nbsp;
The Iwill KK266 motherboard gets a score of 97%. This is my all time favorite board for SDram.
<p><center><img src="../images/recommended.gif"></center>

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