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ASUS A7N266-VM

Revised on

Originally posted on August 12th, 2002

[ You can enlarge any pic by double-clicking on it ]

Rock and Roll Motherboard on a Budget!

ASUS and nVidia have come together to produce quite a nice little combo. The A7N266-VM. This little Micro-ATX board spouts quite an array of goodies for the techno-nic.

I first noticed this board on the net back in August 2002 but didn't have time to look into it. But the other day my friend John Tankeh who works for Encon [Engineering firm based in Menlo Park CA] needed an upgrade to his dated FIC SD11 system.

I picked up this baby up for 89$ got a Athlon Duron 1.2GHz for 59$ and a Crucial 128mb DDR PC2100 for 36$ and I'm in business. The whole reason my buddy John wanted to upgrade was I bought him a Yamaha CDRW for his birthday and he got a Western Digital 80GB IDE hard drive with 8mb buffer from Fry's when they were onsale a month ago. So this little home system should really rock.

Here's what you get for your hard earned 89 smacks:

Onboard LAN, Dolby Sound, USB [4 ports], SPDIF, Game/Midi port, Printer port, 2 Comm Ports, Speaker/Line-in/Line-Out, GeForce2 level 3D graphics, comes with 3 PCI slots, AGP 4X slot, and up to 6 USB ports. Users can also connect the new ASUS iPanel for convenient connectivity and system monitoring from the front panel.

Da Goodies:

Supports Socket A AMD Duron, Athlon, and Athlon XP up to 2400+.
NVIDIA nForce 220-D: NVIDIA IGP-64 north bridge and NVIDIA MCP-D south bridge.
200/266MHz front side bus.
Integrated NVIDIA GeForce2 graphics core.
Realtek® ALC650 audio module.
2 DIMMs up to 1.0GB of PC2100/1600 non ECC DDR memory support.
3 PCI slots, and 1 AGP 4X slot
MicroATX form factor
 
Da Baddies:
 
Overclockers won't like it. Doesn't OC as good as other boards in the class.
 
Computer tests:
 
Power Button / Bootup Time = 21.5 sec.
Shutdown = less than 2 secs
Reboot from desktop [Start/Shutdown/Restart] = 24.1 secs
Passmark Score = 182.8 / 568.1 [detailed report]

Wrong jumper setting...

When I booted up for the first time, my screen was blank... Nice... [I thought]. No beeps or anything.

When I looked in the manual it stated that the default jumper settings for BSEL0 and BSEL1 were pins 1-2 and 1-2 to give you 133MHz DRAM and 133MHz CPU settings. My jumpers were set wrong from the factory with BSEL0 pins 2-3 and BSEL1 1-2 giving me DRAM of 100MHz and CPU of 133MHz. This made my board not boot because like most people I bought 133MHz memory and CPU. After I reset the jumpers to the default settings for my 133MHz CPU and 133MHz memory it worked just fine. I had to go through all my other boxes and set those to the correct settings as well.

Asus shipped my boards with jumpers wrong that's all. Asus may be fixing this in future shipments hopefully... and by the way, pins 1 and 2 are on the left, not on the right as published in earlier manuals. See the scanned page on the right colume for the correct jumper settings.

05.31.03 - Want to use a faster CPU? How about a 2400+? Well all you need to do is download ASUS's latest BIOs v1006 from my site and flash yourself up. You'll also have to check your rev of this board. You must have rev. 1.03 or higher to use the faster CPUs and if you don't then you're out of luck.

My download has the AFLASH.EXE utility included with the 1006 BIOs update to perform the flash procedure and always always remember to SAVE THE OLD BIOS FIRST kids....

02.17.03 - Asus fixed it. I just got a new order of these boards and the manual is now correct.

Morel of the story? Check all your jumper settings on your mobo or you'll live a life of peril, and you just might screw yourself out of that 89$ bucks.

Yeah Yeah, ASUS should've double-checked but what do you want out'a this world anyway? No taxes too?

Onward...

When the system does bootup, you see something quite interesting... HEY! Where's my MEMORY!!! Well kids, welcome to budget computing. This board uses Shared Video Memory. Meaning, the memory chip you install will be utilized by the system and "Share" part of the memory for video operations. Which brings up my next point. The minimal memory you should use with this system is 128MB. Bare minimum. Click on the DOS screen on the right to check out the poop. Yup, that's a Western Digital 80GB ATA100 8MB Cache hard drive you see there. Nice isn't it.

 

Conclusion

This is going to be my main secretary upgrade board. Meaning for the most part, every client / buddy / friend or fam member will get this board when they cry about their system being too slow. I think it's a great board, easy setup, and just downright nifty!

I have read several reviews fro other sites like Hardwareanalysis.com and Tomshardware.com and have seen many users having problems with this board. All I have to say is if you are having any problems then read the manual AGAIN and go to Asus's website and review all the technical specs about the board. From what I've read on the other sites most people with problems are hardly experienced in the art of building a computer and haven't done their homework.I myself have done the same thing. Just when I finished building a system it wouldn't bootup... after re-checking my hardware setting, jumpers etc. I always find one little thing that is not correct. Once that is set properly then blue skys appear...

One review I saw, the guy was going off on others in the forum because he couldn't understand why his K6-2 550 wouldn't work with this board...

I have built and shipped well over 200 of these boards and have not had 1 single board returned. 

So all you have to do is write Asus an email. Give them your parts list and jumper settings. Make sure to tell them your power supply rating etc. What's the wattage? What's the 5vsb setting on the power supply? Is the memory the same memory that Asus tested with this board? If the power supply tested by Asus or AD for that matter? If you still can't get the board work (or any board for that matter) then return it.

Most of the people who have come into my shop with systems they've built and have problems didn't read or do the background work or even bother asking the

I give this board . I would've gave ASUS a 5 star rating but their RMA policy sucks.

 

 

Michael Chukov

 

Wrong jumper setting...

Shared Video Memory...

ASUS Manual / Page 19...
page 19

Resources

ASUS.com
HQ Website

A7N266-VM
ASUS Website

iPanel & Stuff...
ASUS Website

A7N266 Manual (PDF)
Public Downloads

Asus's Tech Support email address:
tsd@support.asus.com

A7N266-VM Latest BIOs Page
ASUS Site page

A7N266-VM Downloads and Drivers
ASUS Site page

 

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