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Asus A7M266

Ronald Hanaki
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AKIBA is reporting that the Asus A7M266 has made its appearance in the Japanese retail market. This AMD 760 board featuring the AMD 761 North Bridge and the VIA VT82C686B South Bridge is a hot commodity; many stores have already sold out and are awaiting their next shipment. Unlike the recently released Gigabyte GA-7DXC, it has native support for the 266MHz DDR FSB. The motherboard is marked as revision 1.03 which is significant because it looks very much like a work in progress. The current iteration of the A7M266 features onboard sound (C-Media chip w/4 speaker support) but no onboard LAN. More conspicuously, it only has support for two DDR memory slots (two more slots are silk-screened). While there are DIP switches to adjust the FSB speeds, there are none to adjust the clock speed multiplier (silk-screened signaling future support?) despite a DSFID list on board. More on this later.

First impressions of the A7M266 can be found on this home page. Although the text is in Japanese, it is mostly filled with pictures. Benchmark comparisons using a TBird 1GHz on the Iwill KA266-R and Gigabyte GA-7DXC can be found on the next page. Both implemenations of the AMD 760 beat the ALi MAGiK 1 at 200MHz DDR FSB.

Another user has posted his comments on this page. While the manual clearly says that the user can change the clock speed multiplier within the BIOS, as you can see from the BIOS screenshots, the CPU Clock Multiplier entry has been grayed out. This effectively means that the clock speed multiplier CANNOT be changed either through the BIOS or via onboard DIP switches at least until another BIOS revision (the 1002 final BIOS can be found here). The FSB speeds can be changed in 1MHz increments through the BIOS. This user also reports that mixing two different brands of memory (in this case Micron and Apacer) resulted in BSODs and instability in both Win2k and WinMe. Without further tweaking and refinement, Asus’ first date with the AMD 760 looks to be somewhat disappointing.