iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






AOpen AX4GE FM (Intel 845GE) Mainboard

Quality and speed of modern mainboards from the industry heavyweights have been on the same level for a long time already. That is why the only way to attract users is to offer something exclusive. This board is a very good example of that. 


  • Package of the standard design; 
  • Documentation: poster with brief installation steps in English; 
  • Cables: 1 ATA66/100/133 and FDD ; 
  • FM tuner module with antenna; 

  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • 2 CDs containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • user guides for a number of company's boards in PDF; 
    • system monitoring utilities; 
    • DirectX 8.1; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.05; 
    • AOConfig; 
    • AOModify; 
    • AOpen EzSkin; 
    • Pro Magic 6.0; 
    • DocuCom Reader (for reading PDF files); 
    • E-Color; 
    • Norton Antivirus 2002. 

Standard downsides don't make this board handy in assembling: audio-ins and connectors along the left side of the board make it difficult to plug in cables. IDE and FDD connectors placed behind PCI slots worsen ventilation and prevent installation of full-sized PCI cards. A video card inserted may lock memory modules. It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are shown on the textolite. 

The 3-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 8 capacitors of 3300 uF and 2 of 2200 uF. 

Controllers integrated: 

  • audio controller based on the chipset and Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio inputs/outputs and SPDIF connectors provided; 
  • Realtek RTL8100BL based network controller with 10BaseT/100BaseTX support. 

Technologies supported: 

  • AOpen JukeBox FM (CD playback and FM tuner without the OS booted); 

  • Die Hard BIOS (a connector for a back-up BIOS chip provided); 
  • Dr.Voice III (voice messages on problems during the OS booting). 

+5 V supplied in the StandBy mode is indicated with the onboard LED. One more LED blinks while the POST procedure is running and gives steady light on its completion.

On the back you can see a plate that prevents twisting of the textolite in case of powerful CPU coolers. 

Non-unsoldered connectors: none. 

System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. It controls: 

  • processor voltage, +3.3, +5 and +12 V; 
  • speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (two built-in sensors). 

There are 2 connectors for adjustable and 1 for unadjustable connection of fans. 

Brief board's characteristics: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 6 PCI/ CNR; I/O ports - 2 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0; dimensions - 305x220 mm. 


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear up the CMOS  
Jumper turning PC Speaker on/off  
Jumper selecting a mode of Die Hard BIOS function Rescue/Normal
Jumper turning on/off the network controller  
Jumper selecting a language mode of Dr.Voice III 4 Chinese dialects :)
BIOS based on Phoenix AwardBIOS 6.00PG Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge, Active to Precharge Delay
Setup of memory frequency + DRAM/CPU=Auto, 2, 2.5
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses -  
Manual assignment of interrupts -  
Changeable FSB frequency + 100-247 MHz in 1MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier -  
Changeable core voltage -  
Changeable memory voltage -  
Changeable chipset voltage -  
Changeable AGP bus voltage -  

We used the BIOS R1.03 as the latest available version. 

This is the only board I know which carries an FM tuner. In all other respects, this is ordinary good solution with some rudimentary settings and overclocking capabilities, and a modest accessory pack (to retain a low price with the FM tuner). 

Test results: 


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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