Soltek SL-915GPro-FGR - Page 8

..:: SL-915GPro-FGR Conclusion ::..

Well, weíve seen what Soltek has brought to the table with their SL-915GPro-FGR offering. This motherboard offered up a decent selection of features and performance that we expected, but at the same time it was featured solid stability. We had a few stability problems during our overclocking tests, which led us to avoid putting out a solid overclocking result. We also had some problems early on with running more of the up-to-date gaming benchmarks, but that turned out to be a graphics card related issue. I love when that sort of thing happens. We experienced two full system crashes during our overclocking tests at differing frequencies. The most stable performance was, of course, seen at default levels.

Iíd have to say this is one of the better packages Iíve dealt with on an i915G offering. Given that these boards are meant more for budgeted users looking to upgrade to the latest processor, it isnít too surprising to see less hardware or cabling inclusions with the package, but Soltek has chosen to supply everything the end user would need. I was more than happy with both the quality and quantity of documentation that has been included with the SL-915GPro-FGR, and really, there isnít much more you could ask for given the feature set of the board.

I feel Soltek has done an excellent job with the design of the SL-915GPro-FGR, though there are a few minor issues that pop up. The location of the front panel audio header is, as always, one of my main issues with the board. This is a common gripe that I have with several boards, so this isnít uncommon at all. Another is the location of the floppy connector. As flash devices become more common, cheaper, and more useful, the floppy connector location wonít be nearly as important as it was a few years ago. Iíd still prefer to see this located high up on the PCB for cable routing and reach purposes. The main proís of the board are the Debug LED, as well as the excellent layout of the various Serial ATA and IDE connectors. The power supply headers have also been placed in optimal positions for cable routing, and should allow for a very clean interior.

As far as the system BIOS goes for the SL-915GPro-FGR, it brought everything that I was looking for to the table, though it suffered one problem. Even though Soltek has done an excellent job with the overall layout and organization of the BIOS, clearly the most organized BIOS Iíve seen in a long time, it is a little too picky about where settings go. Now, if youíre one of those people who prefer simplicity over neatness, like I do at times, youíll wish all of the overclocking, voltage, and frequency settings could be found in one place. I donít much like having to hunt through a BIOS for all of these settings if I want to overclock. Sure, thereís software overclocking, but Iím a hardware kind of guy. Thatís my main gripe about the SL-915GPro-FGRís BIOS. Feature wise, itís excellent, but itís a little too organized for my tastes.

In the end, the Soltek has offered up a good i915G option with the SL-915GPro-FGR. This board offers some features that are typically reserved for the high performance and high price crowds such as the Debug LED. Soltek has offered up a nicer product package than we have typically seen from manufacturers of the i915P / i915P. Performance was quite lackluster under synthetic testing situations, but when it came down to real world gaming performance, the SL-915GPro-FGR was able to leap ahead of other competing Grantsdale motherboards to take the lead. The main area where we found the SL-915GPro-FGR a little lacking was with overclocking. We had some problems with overclocking the board, and reached a peak overclock of +16% on the FSB, or about 928MHz. On our way past 10%, we started to have one or two random crashes during our stress tests, so certainly this doesnít look to be an overclocking friendly board. It is able to offer the standard level of overclocking for these i915x chipsets, given the OC lock implemented by Intel, but it seems Soltek hasnít done enough to allow for additional speed. Even with this, I still found myself enjoying my time with this motherboard. Iíve come to enjoy the color schemes that Soltek offers, and the layout allows for a clean system setup, something that few think about, yet it has a large effect on operating temps. With the board coming in at around a $125.50 price point, itís right in the range of the competing motherboards, with a better package. If you donít need heavy overclocking, are looking for more items for your money, and like the color combinations used, this is a board to look at.