AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review :: Setup and Bundle

11-22-2004 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

Normally setup is a breeze with any motherboard I review. In this case, however, AOpen's drivers were problematic at best. The installation of the board itself provided no problems, with clear words where every connector is supposed to attach to. One thing I do have to take AOpen to task for is the amount of jumpers on the board. Normally on a motherboard, I like to see as few jumpers as possible. On the n250a there are 8 jumpers, which is excessive.


AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Bundled Hardware

Bundled Hardware

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Bundled Software

Bundled Software


The bundle is well appointed for this chipset with the exception of the SATA cables. With the 6 included SATA connectors, one would expect to see more than the one included cable and one power cable. Most motherboard manufacturers would have included at least 2 cables. One nice touch is the inclusion of two IDE cables and one floppy cable. Many motherboards come with only one IDE cable, making it hard to attach more than one HDD and one CDROM to the system at the same time. Also included is a 2 port USB 2.0 and Game Port cable, bringing the total included with the board to the six maximum that the chipset support. AOpen includes a SPDIF cable, which is great for digital sound.

The software bundle includes Norton's Anti Virus 2004, which is the latest version available. Also included are driver floppies for NVIDIA's SATA controller and the Silicon Image controller. This is a very nice touch, as many manufacturers only include the drivers on the driver CD and force you to purchase your own floppy disks.

WinBIOS is a Windows based BIOS update utility. Simply click the button and it'll update your BIOS very fast and easily without rebooting the computer and using a floppy disk. One nice thing about the n250a, AOpen includes two BIOSes, the standard Phoenix Award BIOS and the AOpen DieHard BIOS. The board overclocked well, with a 15% overclock stable.


AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review WinBIOS

WinBIOS

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review WinBIOS

WinBIOS

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review WinBIOS

WinBIOS

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review WinBIOS

WinBIOS


AOpen includes a utility called Silent Tek with the a250-FR and their other motherboards. This utility has the functions of System specifications (including total memory, type of CPU, board name, operating system version, BIOS version, BIOS Date, language), About, Temp/Fan/Chassis (system temperature, CPU temperature, CPU and Sys fan2 fan speeds), Voltage (Vcore, +3.3V, +5V, +12V, 5Vsb, Vbat), and Setting (Run when Window starts, Shutdown, Sampling Period).


AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek

AOpen n250a-FR Motherboard Review Silentek

Silentek


AOpen includes a utility called EzClock. This utility gives the end-user the ability to overclock their CPU FSB, and the voltage of the VGA, DRAM, AGP, and PCI from Windows as well as from the BIOS setup. Further you can get CPU information such as fan speed, temperature and voltage from this utility. WatchDog ABS watches over your system at boot, allowing you to overclock easily. If the system fails to POST, Watch Dog will reset to the default settings without intervention by the user. This is handy, as you don't need to Clear CMOS with this board.

The n250a-FR includes a thermal overheat protection program called Over Heat Protection (OHP). This is a hardware based overheating detection program that detects if the CPU is over 97 degrees C. Of course, I think that the temperature should be set lower, but if it reaches that temperature, the system will automatically shut off the computer.

Dr Voice II will tell you if there's a particular problem with a component on the motherboard at boot. So if your CPU is the likely cause of a POST failure Dr Voice II will say “Your CPU may have problem”. It's available in English, German, Japanese and Chinese languages, which you can set by jumper. It will warn of problems with CPU, PCI add-in card, FDD, HDD, or keyboard.