As the Athlon 64 becomes more affordable, now is the perfect time to check out Chaintech's Socket 754 Zenith ZNF3-150. Like Chaintech's early Zenith boards, the ZNF3-150 is loaded with integrated peripherals, bundled extras, and a decent array of overclocking options. However, this latest Zenith is quite a bit cheaper than Chaintech's previous high-end offerings, making the ZNF3-150 especially tempting for anyone looking for an AMD64 bargain.
Has Chaintech kept the peripheral and bundle gravy train flowing, despite the ZNF3-150's more affordable price tag? Can the board's nForce3 chipset, with a little help from NVIDIA's latest Forceware drivers, keep up with VIA's K8T800 chipset? Read on; you might be surprised.
Before we take a look at the ZNF3-150's layout, let's have a quick peek at the board's specs.
|CPU support||Socket 754-based Athlon 64 processors|
|Chipset||NVIDIA nForce3 150|
|PCI slots||5 32-bit/33MHz|
|AGP slots||1 4x/8x (1.5V only)|
|Memory||3 184-pin DIMM sockets|
Maximum of 2GB of DDR266/333/400 SDRAM
|Storage I/O||Floppy disk|
3 channels ATA/133
|Serial ATA||4 Serial ATA channels via Sil3114 SATA RAID controller|
|RAID||RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support via Sil3114 SATA RAID controller|
|Legacy ports||1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, and 1 Serial port|
|USB||2 USB 2.0/1.1 ports|
Additional 2 USB ports via CBOX3 drive bay insert
|Firewire||1 IEEE 1394 Firewire port via VT6306 Firewire controller|
|Audio||7.1-channel audio via VIA Envy24PT audio controller|
analog front, rear, surround, and center outputs
analog line and microphone inputs
digital S/PDIF output
CBOX3 front-mounted headphone and microphone ports
|Ethernet||10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via Broadcom BCM5788|
|Bus speeds||CPU: 200-400MHz in 1MHz increments|
AGP: 66-100MHz in 1MHz increments
|Voltages||CPU: default, 1.45-1.7 in 0.025V increments|
AGP: default, 1.6-2.2 in 0.1V increments
DIMM: default, 2.7-2.9 in 0.1V increments
Chipset: default, 1.7-1.9 in 0.1V increments
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring|
Chaintech loads the ZNF3-150 with a veritable cornucopia of integrated peripherals, features, and even a few extras. There's a lot to cover, and we'll get things rolling with a look at the board's layout.