by June 17, 2001 0 comments

The Kranion KP2A693A is a motherboard based on one of the older chipsets from VIA, the VIA 693A. In our motherboard shootout in February (see PCQuest February 2001) only two motherboards out of 27 used this chipset, which indicates that this chipset is not very common now. The board is actually a dual slot motherboard having a Slot 1 as well as socket 370 interface. Of course, you can use only one slot at a time. One small issue here is that the type of processor you will be using has to be set by setting the jumpers on the motherboard. The CPU clock ratio can be set using the DIP switches or through the BIOS itself. The motherboard’s manual explains these procedures with the help of diagrams. Installing the board is also simple. The board has five PCI slots, and also has an ISA slot if you have an older card lying around. An AMR slot is also present. 

The board has only two DIMM slots with a total capacity to house 256 MB of RAM. This is fine for routine work, but not if you specialize in graphics and need more RAM. Being based on an older chipset means that it supports only ATA/66 and not ATA/100, while motherboards now have started coming with ATA/100 support. This will work with the latest UltraATA 100 hard drives, but you’ll not be able to squeeze that extra bit of performance out of them. One good thing with the board is that it has an AGP slot. It also has onboard sound. So feature wise the board has pretty much everything, the only cribs being the maximum RAM of 256 MB and support for only ATA/66. 


Price: Rs 3,100 + tax 
Features: Supports Slot 1, Socket 370 and Via Cyrix III processors, 5 PCI slots, AMR, 256 MB maximum RAM, AGP slot, onboard sound
Pros: Good feature set and price point
Cons: Performance
Contact: Cerebra Integrated Technologies. Tel/Fax: 080-3474934/9816. 
Address: No 26/4, ‘A’ Block
Industrial Suburb
Near Govt Soap factory
Bangalore 560055. 

On the performance front, the board didn’t do as well as some of the other boards we tested in our shootout in February. We fitted it with a PIII/800 MHz, 128 MB RAM, and an ASUS V7700 GeForce2 graphics card having 32 MB VRAM. First, we ran 3D Winbench 2000, which tests the overall graphics capabilities. It got a score of 77.6, which was only comparable to the other Via 693A chipset based boards, and lower than the remaining boards. The story was exactly the same in Video 2000. We then ran Business Winstone 2001, which runs common productivity apps such as Office suites and Web browser. It got a score of 28.3, which is an average score for such a configuration. Finally, we ran Content Creation Winstone 2001, which runs high-end graphics apps like DreamWeaver and Adobe Photoshop. Here also, its score was nothing special getting 24.6, which is an average figure. 

One of the main attractions of this motherboard is its very attractive price tag of just over Rs 3,000. So, although this is not one of the best performing boards, it is still attractive for the budget conscious, with its host of features and its great price. 

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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