past couple of days I’ve had a chance to get
familiar with Shuttle’s
new AV61 motherboard based on the VIA
I hit a few speed bumps along the way,
but ended up pleased.
This board has a strong list of
features, at a fantastic price point, so if
your itching to replace your BX mobo, and the
i820/RAMBUS combo is too pricey; this is
definitely worth a look.
Specifications / Features
Apollo Pro133 vintage
Support (Slot 1)
Pentium III/II processors: 266 – 733+mhz
Celeron processors: 266 – 533mhz
3 SDRAM DIMMs
(3.3v, 768mb Max - PC66, PC100 and
Jumperless or Jumpered CPU Configuration
Auto-detects CPU Multiplier, FSB and CPU
Multipliers - 2-8 in .5 increments
FSB’s - 66,
75, 83, 100, 103, 105, 110, 112, 115, 120,
124, 133, 140, 150
Voltage Adjustments - +0.15%, +0.5%, +1.5%,
1/5/2 AGP (2x), PCI, ISA slot configuration (1
2 UltraDMA 33/66 Bus Master Dual-channel IDE
ports (4 drives max)
ATX Form Factor
Dimensions: 305mm × 170mm
1 Floppy Interface
1 PS/2 Keyboard connector
1 PS/2 Mouse connector
2 USB connectors
2 DB9 Serial connectors (16550)
1 DB25 Parallel port supporting (SPP, EPP and
Dual Function Power Button - (Suspend mode
and Soft-Off mode)
Keyboard/Mouse Power On
Wake on LAN (WOL)
Modem Ring Power On
Flash System BIOS
Award V4.51PGM Plug and Play BIOS (2MB Flash
APM 1.2 / ACPI 1.0 / PC99 compliant
Supports Green PC and DMI
IDE Drive Auto detection
Soft Power Down
Hardware Monitoring of CPU Voltage,
temperature and fan status
That is a very complete
In my opinion, a 6 PCI configuration
would have been a better choice, as ISA will
soon be dead, but even with my SCSI
controller, TV-Card, Modem and Sound Card
installed there is still room for expansion.
Quality, Installation and Setup
Like most people, the fist thing I did when I got
this motherboard, was open the box and give it a
good “once over”.
Not having much experience with Shuttle
products, I was very thorough, and really looked
closely at the board.
Gladly, everything seemed very well made.
All solder connections were clean and the
layout and placement of all the connectors is
excellent. There was a general feeling of quality….until…
One thing I want to point out is the placement of
the ATX, floppy and IDE connectors. I REALLY like
their positions. Take a look at the picture, and
you’ll notice they are all at the upper right
(if mounted in a tower) of the board. This positioning leaves all the cables out of the way of your
processor and ram, and allows you to route your
IDE cables neatly, not having them draped over any
part of the board allowing for very good air
Another great feature, that seems to be gaining
more popularity lately, is the ability to adjust
CPU settings through both jumpers or the system
“old-timers” like me are partial to the
stability of a jumpered setup (P3B-F owners know
what I’m talking about) and having the option to
choose is excellent.
With the great placement of all the
connectors, adjusting the jumpers is a breeze,
should you choose to do so.
Now comes the time to install this board and put
it through it’s paces.
I think I take a different approach then
most when it comes to installing motherboards.
I don’t just mount the board and install
the video card alone, then follow up with all my
I like to know what I'm dealing with right
away. As soon as this board was
mounted, I slapped a DDR GeForce in the AGP slot
and in the PCI slots a SCSI Controller, TV-Card,
Modem and Sound Card.
Everything seemed ok, so I let
Windows 98 SE boot and find all the hardware.
Once Windows was finished detecting
everything, and all the most recent drivers were
installed for the components, some annoying
problems popped up.
Components would randomly “disappear”
First the sound card would vanish…then it
would come back, but the SCSI card would be gone
figured it was a simple IRQ conflict with the PCI
slots, but no matter which slots the cards were
placed in, the same thing would happen, and
occasionally Windows would not even completely
decided to remove all the unnecessary cards
(modem, TV, sound) and with just video and SCSI
everything was fine.
There was definitely some sort of resource
Initially I was just going to review the board
this way, but the “techie” in me would not let
had this same configuration working flawlessly on
another motherboard, I was sure they were capable
of being in the same system.
I NEEDED to get this working to fully “trust”
this board. I’m
glad to report I did.
I cleared the CMOS, removed the SCSI card,
re-fdisked and formatted the hard drive and then
installed Windows, the latest VIA drivers and the
Then one by one installed each PCI card
along with it’s drivers, and VIOLA!
It worked fine.
Once up and running, this board was very stable.
I had heard many horror stories from Super
7 users with compatibility problems on non-Intel
chipsets, but the VIA 133 had NO problems
whatsoever. Throughout all the testing, I did not have one lock-up.
to come this way....