440BX Motherboard Review - Fall 1998

EPoX EP-61 BXA-M

  • BIOS Version: dated August 7, 1998
  • Board Revision: 0.4
  • External clock speeds: 66, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112
  • Slots: 4x full size PCI, 3x full size ISA, full size AGP
  • Memory: 3x DIMM

You will notice that the rail which fixes the Pentium II is installed permanently on the board. You just have to raise them and the CPU will be locked right after inserting it into the slot. The CPU configuration has to be done via easy jumpers which actually only determine the multiplier, the FSB is either detected automatically or set fixed at 100 MHz. If you want to use special frequencies (e.g. 75, 83, 103 or 112 MHz) you can chose this afterwards in the BIOS. Also the important setting "assign IRQ to USB" can be disabled if you want.

The memory tests were successful except with the XXL module once again (PC-66, 32 chips). If you already took a look at the benchmark charts you may have noticed that the EPoX is one of the very fastest. Fast for games, even faster for business and high end applications. A CPU menu in the BIOS would be great; nevertheless this board discerns from others by excellent labeled connectors, the possibility to use two chassis fans, the pre-installed CPU rails and lock, easy CPU setup in spite of old fashioned jumpers and great performance. That's why this in not only a good choice but also one of my favourites which made it into the recommendations list.

FIC VB601

  • BIOS Version: 1.15MC10 (June 11, 1998)
  • Board Revision: 1.3
  • External clock speeds: 66, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112, 133 MHz
  • Slots: 5x full size PCI, 2x full size ISA, full size AGP
  • Memory: 4x DIMM

FIC equips their BX board with integrated rails for the Pentium II, two fan connectors and four DIMM sockets. The performance is average, but you get the chance to freely select your bus clock between 66 and 133 MHz. Only the multiplier has to be set by some dip dwitches. The function to release the interrupt which is normally used by the USB works properly as well. The keyboard power on function can be disabled via a jumper on the board to make the system only accessible with e.g. a key power on solution. The memory test was successful except with the 32 chip PC-66 module at 100 MHz once again.

There's not much to add, thanks to the stability, memory compatibility and large features list the VB601 is a very good choice and can be recommended for all users who don't insist on the very best possible performance. A CPU soft menu is still missing; this would complete the good impression of this board.

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