For those of you who must get an Athlon now (and I mean now, not 'in-a-week' now), we'd wholeheartedly recommend the GA-7IX. It's a brilliantly engineered board, with much more BIOS features that the Fester boards (never seen one in Hong Kong, doubt I ever will...) and Gigabyte's trademark stability. Gigabyte has taken extra steps in improving the board's usability by shifting the ATX power supply to the front of the Slot-A slot, a great improvement given the Athlon's girth (how the hell are we supposed to string the wires BEHIND the Athlon when it's so frickin' big?). It's a breeze to install, just like another other mobo (save the need for the AGP miniport). Just make sure you know how to deal with that stray capacitor, unless you get a smaller custom fan eliminating the need for the additional support.
So what's holding us back from giving it a better score? The lack of overclocking functions. Anyone who invests over HK$3000 into an Athlon platform will want to be able to push it beyond the rated speed. Right now, there are no boards featuring any true overclocking abilities - the FIC SD-11 is rumored to have FSB settings in its BIOS for 120Mhz and 133Mhz, but sources have indicated that few Athlons can take such a large boost in speed without reducing the multiplier, thus calling for dangerous modifications like our customized Athlon powerhouse. Asus's slot A board, K7M, should reach the market by the 19th Oct, and will feature a full selection of FSB speeds from 90Mhz up to a mindblowing 150Mhz, making it ‘the’ overclocker's Slot A board and becoming what Abit BH6 was to the Slot 1 market. And even then, the K7M will be limited to AGP2X as VIA's PX133 is still far off in the distant horizons. But until then, it goes without saying; the Gigabyte GA-7IX offers the best combination of usability, price, performance and stability available today.
Feeling rich? Get one of these mobos, slap on a nice Athlon 600, and enjoy steroid-jammed performance. You won't regret it.