FIC continues to offer clock multiplier and bus speed adjustment with the AZ11EA. This feature alone will appeal to hardware enthusiasts and gamers, a market FIC has recently boosted their efforts to appeal to. In the case of the clock multiplier, this is provided via jumpers, just like the AZ11E and AD11. Ratios from 5.0-12.5x are provided, with the 12.5x setting using the multiplier of the CPU itself if necessary (for full support of 200MHz Athlon 1.3GHz processors).
Nestled near the clock multiplier dipswitches are additional dipswitches for adjusting CPU voltage. In particular, settings from 1.475V-1.85V are provided. For tweaking system bus speed, the AZ11EA BIOS is your only option.
While this is a pretty robust feature set for end users looking for a motherboard with overclocking potential, it does come short in a few areas. For instance, bus speed adjustments in 1MHz increments aren't available with the AZ11EA. This is a feature that an increasing number of motherboard manufacturers have adopted in their products.
Another omission is the method of adjusting CPU parameters themselves - your sole option is dipswitches. While dipswitches are better than jumpers, an ideal implementation would be a jumperless/dipswitch combination, wherein the end user could toggle between jumperless and dipswitch mode via a jumper or BIOS setting on the motherboard. This would please FIC's OEM customers, as they could simply leave the system in dipswitch-only mode by default. Enthusiasts who wish to tweak their system performance could select from either combination, as both options have their own positives and negatives.
The AZ11EA is one of the smaller
KT133A boards we've tested
The layout of the AZ11EA is fairly clean
once you forget about the cable
The final oversight we noticed was the lack of I/O voltage adjustment on the AZ11EA. This is a feature that separates many of the overclockers' boards from the rest of the pack.
One feature FIC added to the AZ11EA is a fan on the North Bridge of the KT133A chipset. If you're familiar with the KT133A chipset, you'll know that this isn't a cosmetic feature - the chip can get uncomfortably hot at bus speeds above 133MHz. By adding a fan on the North Bridge, temperatures are considerably cooler than the use of a heatsink alone, ensuring the longevity of the motherboard.
Like the AZ11E, the AZ11EA also features NOVUS, FIC's suite of software utilities designed to make the motherboard easier to use. Our favorite feature is overclock partner. With it, if your overclock attempt is unsuccessful and you're unable to get a video signal, simply press the insert key while booting up the system. Voila, your system will boot up with default settings, allowing you to enter BIOS and attempt safer settings!
You can read more about the NOVUS features implemented in the AZ11EA in our original AZ11E review by clicking here.