Matsonic 8308E SiS730s Motherboard Review
Features and Layout
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As with nearly all highly integrated motherboards, the MS-8308E comes in Micro-ATX format. A smaller PCB for the boards allows it to be used in the very small cases that OEMs are notorious for using. Home upgrades that have smaller ATX cases from the end of the Socket 7 era may appreciate the size more than most.
The layout of the motherboards is fairly common to mATX motherboards. Matsonic chose to include 2 PCI slots and a single AGP slot and AMR slot. This gives it a 2/0/1/1 configuration (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR). While this may at first seem like a major drawback to the board, you must remember that with so many on-board components expansion will not be as big a problem. Even the AGP port is not needed if you use the integrated video solution. You can still use the PCI slots for the addition of perhaps a SCSI controller or an additional IDE controller.
Speaking of IDE, the MS-8308E has two channels of ATA100 EIDE and a single floppy channel. Therefore, you can support 4 IDE devices on the board without the addition of any more components. There are no IDE-RAID options on the board as has become common on high-end motherboards, but this is to be expected. In order to cater to the budget-minded market, SiS chose to stay away from any high cost components.
Directly across, you will see the DIMM slots, and only two of them. To keep the motherboard as small as possible, there are only two slots that each support 512 MB of PC100 or PC133 SDRAM. This limit of 1 GB of RAM shouldn’t be a big factor as not many home users have more than 256 MB currently. The only problem may be if you have more than 3 or more pieces of RAM already. You will have to consolidate into some larger pieces or settle for less memory.
The CPU socket is directly to the right of DIMM slots, and you may have noticed that it is a little cramped in its room for heatsinks. That is very true: don’t even think of placing a Thermaltake fan on here, or any heatsink that extends of the back clip. Even the installation of my AMD approved Tai Sol heatsink took an extra few seconds to latch on. Using a standard heatsink (as long as it is approved) should be all you need with this motherboard, as I will explain later when I discuss the overclocking of the board (or lack there of).