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  • Soltek SL-865-GR 'Black Thunder' Motherboard Review
  • Soltek SL-865-GR 'Black Thunder' Motherboard Review



    Soltek has been known to produce some rather high quality motherboards that are for the most part, feature-less. If you browse through the Ninjalane Archives you will see quite a few Soltek boards each having a very limited feature set that usually encompassed whatever came with that particular chipset. Building boards in this manner is very cost effective but doesn't get you very far in the eyes of the hardware enthusiast or feature nut that wants to get the most bang for their buck. This is where the Black Thunder series comes into play.
    For those of you familiar with how Soltek markets their products you will know that a series of motherboards will be given a name that roughly corresponds to the PCB color, target market, and chipset. For instance "Violet Eyes" was the name of the SL-86SPE-L (Springdale) board that came with a Violet PCB. Glacier Silver featured a metallic silver PCB and was used on Pentium 4 boards and video cards before that. I really like this style of marketing; the products get their own special status and unique color scheme instead of always having a dull golden PCB or rainbow of highly incompatible colors.
    I was a little skeptical of the Black Thunder series at first since the series wasn't limited to a single chipset manufacturer but rather included a wide range of motherboards. As it would turn out Black Thunder is what Soltek is calling their High-End series aimed at giving the overclocker and hardware enthusiast what they demand. The boards will feature a jet black PCB, purple expansion slots, with more onboard features and plenty of included cables.
    The layout of the SL-865-GR is typical of any Springdale enabled motherboard; processor and power supply are located at the top with the ddr memory banks located to the right. The Northbridge is located directly below the CPU socket followed by AGP and 6 PCI slots. The lower right of the board contains the south bridge chip with other important chips are scattered about in various locations.