Motherboard: Soltek SL-75-MRN-L Review :: Conclusion

07-22-2003 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

For $94 retail off MISR's website, the Soltek SL75-MRN-L is an excellent value for the money. We hardly look at value motherboards on this site. However, Soltek has brought a heck of a lot to the table with this motherboard especially for integrated video. No other current integrated solution comes close to the performance of the nForce2. So, let's look at the SL75-MRN-L from it's target markets:

For the gamer, adding a RADEON 9800 or 9700 or NVIDIA's GEFORCE FX 5900 card will provide excellent performance in today's and tomorrow's games. No problems exist with compatibility with the motherboard that I've been able to discern. Even trying 3 different memory manufacturers' memory, I had no problem with stability or identification of the memory. Further, trying out various hardware.

For the business user that doesn't need the fastest graphics card on the planet, this is an awesome value. Simply plug in the CPU, the memory the drives and you have an excellent system for little money. Once the operating system is installed, simply install one nForce2 driver and one video card driver and you have the full range of capabilities of the system.

For the overclocker, ABSII is an excellent tool along with Soltek's Hardware monitor and Red Storm Overclocking tool. ABSII helps keep track of how warm the CPU die and external CPU gets, and in the event of high temperatures, will automatically shut down the computer once a certain threshold is met. Hardware Monitor allows you to monitor the temperatures, fan speeds, and voltages within Windows without a second party utility.

Performance of the SL75-MRN-L is excellent. In some cases it outruns a P4 2.8 GHz 533MHz FSB on a Intel 875P chipset see Doc's ASUS P4C800 Deluxe Review , which makes performance truly remarkable. Our test systems are pretty similar, with only a slight difference in hard drive (I use a WD 60GB ATA100 7200 RPM HDD) (besides the CPU, of course), so that puts the SL75-MRN-L in an excellent light, performance wise.

So what don't I like? Soltek needs to fully support all of the features that a chipset supports. I would have loved to have seen 4 USB 2.0 ports included on the back panel, or even to have the cables to allow up to 6 ports included with the package. Another feature I would have liked to have seen is the dual VGA connectors that the nForce2 supports. That would have made the MRN-L a truly exceptional product. Dual VGA on a motherboard is a feature that I would have sorely liked to have seen.

I wish Soltek included Firewire ports as well. While I don't have any Firewire devices for everyday use, they are prevalent. Also of note, the new Athlon 400MHz CPUs won't work on this motherboard or other motherboards with a integrated GEFORCE 4 MX. Therefore, if you're looking to upgrade to the 3200+ XPs, you need a nForce2 400 Ultra that's represented by Soltek's SL75-FRN2L series.

If it sounds like I'm impressed with the SL75MRN-L, you better believe it! The integrated graphics are fully the equal of the Geforce4 MX card of last year. If you use dual channel, performance with the integrated video is much greater than if you don't. Make sure you put 512MB of memory with Windows XP in 2 sticks for the best results.