iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Soltek K8AV2-RL (VIA K8T800) Mainboard

For the Athlon 64 Soltek offers a series of budget mainboards. Modern chipsets provide proper functionality even without external controllers, but taking into account the current prices for the 64bit AMD CPUs they should make even better boards. Compared to the other boards the K8AV2-RL has pleasant colors, the socket is turned at 90° and the memory slots are respectively disposed.

The layout looks traditional: it might be only difficult to hook up cables to the connectors near the left edge. Also, it's not easy to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their description is provided on the PCB. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 6 capacitors of 3300 uF and 3 of 1500 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2 capacitors of 1000 uF) and of the memory (3 of 1500 uF and several less capacious ones; reinforced with L elements).

COM3, WOM and Audio1 connectors are also provided space for, though they are not installed; the COM3 seems to be meant for VIA's chipset with integrated graphics. At the moment Soltek offers three models on the K8T800: K8AV2-R has no network controller, and the K8AV-R has a bit different design with an older south bridge (VT8235), it also lacks for a network controller and supports SATA/RAID at the expense of the Promise PDC20378 integrated controller. The board measures 305x220 mm (narrow ATX, 6 fastening screws, the front edge might hang loose). System monitoring is supported by the ITE IT8705F chip which controls:

    • processor, memory, AGP, battery voltages, +3.3, +5, +/-12 V, and +5 V Standby 
    • rotation speed of 2 fans; 
    • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor). 

Ports & connectors onboard

  • CPU socket (Socket 754); 
  • 2 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (up to 2 GB of DDR200/266/333/400);
  • AGP slot (with a rentention clip);
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz); 
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, 4pin for 12V); 
  • FDD; 
  • 2 IDE (Parallel ATA) - on chipset; 
  • 2 SATA (Serial ATA) - on chipset; 
  • 3 Connectors for brackets of 2 USB 2.0 ports; 
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
  • Wake-On-LAN connector;
  • Smart Card Reader connector;
  • Connectors for a bracket with additional audio-outs;
  • 3 connectors for fans (2 with rotation control).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
  • 2 USB (2.0) & RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • 1 LPT & 2 COM ports;
  • 3 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front) and Game port.


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual and software guide in English;
  • Cables: 2 Serial ATA (with a power supply adapter), 1 ATA66/100/133 (in purple cambric and FDD (purple);
  • Diskette with drivers for integrated SATA RAID controller;
  • 2 CDs with:
    • drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • DirectX 8.1a;
    • PC-cillin 2002;
    • VirtualDrive 7;
    • RestoreIT! 3 Lite;
    • PartitionMagic 6.0 SE;
    • DriveImage 4.0.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the VIA VT1616 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/Os provided; 
  • network controller based on the chipset and VIA VT6103 PHY controller, 10/100 Mbit/s Fast Ethernet supported.

The integrated audio quality was estimated at 16 bits, 44 kHz with the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.1 and Terratec DMX 6fire audio card:

Frequency response (40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -85.1 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A): 84.7 Good
THD, %: 0.0094 Very good
Intermodulation distortions, %: 0.020 Good
Channel crosstalk, dB: -84.0 Very good

General performance: Very good (in detail). 

Among all direct competitors (VIA K8T800 based boards, though the chipset has no effect on it), the Soltek K8AV2-RL has the best audio quality. 


jumpers and switches CMOS clear jumper  
CPU clock jumpers 200/233/266/270 MHz with default HT/PCI clocks
Jumper for starting up PC from PS/2 keyboard  
BIOS based on Award 6.00PG Setup of memory timings -  
Setup of memory frequency + 100, 133, 166, 200 MHz
HT bus adjustment + Upstream LDT Bus Width, Downstream LDT Bus Width, LDT Bus Frequency
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus +  
AGP/PCI frequency setup -  
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 200-233 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio -  
CPU voltage control + 0.8-1.7 V in 0.025 V steps up to 1.55 V and then in 0.05 V steps
DIMM voltage control + 2.6-2.9 V in 0.1V steps
NB voltage control + 2.5-2.8 V in 0.1V steps
AGP voltage control + 1.5-1.8 V in 0.1V steps

We used the BIOS 1.0 as the latest available version. 


According to the preliminary tests this model is an outsider. In some tests it falls behind the leader by 15%. Probably, it's because its timings can't be adjusted in the BIOS Setup and the default ones look much worse than those of the other boards (2.5-3-3-8 against 2-2-2-5).

Benchmark Albatron K8X800 Pro II MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R Soltek K8AV2-RL
Memory read latency (CacheBurst32), clocks 92 92 104
7-Zip archiving, min:sec 6:53 6:54 8:03
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Normal@1024x768x32), fps 217 219 211

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

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