Quite a lot of new boards found their way to my lab since my last Socket 7 review and quite a few of them are using chipsets which are not from market leader Intel. It seems as if the other chipset manufacturers as well as the board designers have done their homework, so that for the first time a board with a non-Intel chipset is now the fastest Socket 7 motherboard on the market. All motherboards support 75 MHz bus speed, so that by definition all of them should be able to run the 6x86MX PR233. Only six boards give you the chance of running at 83 MHz bus speed.
Please have a look at the results first.
Abit IT5H Rev. 1.5
The IT5H rev. 1.5 has already been tested before and you can find it on my motherboard page as well as on a special IT5H reviews page . I was using this board as reference so that you can compare the result to previous ones.
Unfortunately I’ve recently heard quite a bit of complaints about this board. Probably most of you know that the IT5H is not able to take advantage of ECC RAM, but this is not a really big issue, however now I was informed that the latest shipments of IT5H boards have serious overheating problems if used with K6 CPUs, which in some cases even lead to the destruction of the board’s voltage regulator. Abit is pushing the release of the revision 2.0, which will take care of the ECC RAM issue and will finally be equipped with a switching voltage regulator to solve this overheating problem.
Abit PX5 Rev. 1.14
Abit has been a little bit unlucky with the first revisions of the PX5 which have been giving lots of people quite a bit of trouble. Now the new revision 1.14 is supposed to solve all those problems. Indeed the board ran quite nicely and I didn’t come across any problems, but only after I picked the right SDRAM. Don’t even think of using Corsair SDRAM with this board, it imply doesn’t like it. I was using Toshiba 10ns SDRAM successfully on it. The performance of the PX5 is still not much more than average, but it supports 75 and 83 MHz bus speed. TX Board.
The test with the 6x86MX PR233 didn’t really run as smoothly as I would expect this. The instability problems of the PX5 obviously get worse when increasing the bus speed. I managed to run the tests often enough for getting results, but under Windows 95 I occured 3 crashes.
AOpen AP5T Rev. 3
The latest revsion of the AP5T is now coming with a switching voltge regulator. It also has been revised to run even more stable particularly at higher bus speeds. The perfromance of the board is also kinda avrage, but if stability is a big issue for you this board may be the way to go. This TX board runs at 75 and 83 MHz bus speed. It has the very interesting option of ’suspend to disk’ in case you are into power management. This board can now also monitor the CPU temperature.
The most amazing feature of this board is its stability. If you are into overclocking this board should be your no. 1 choice. No other board gave me the ability to overclock the new 6x86MX I got to even 225 MHz and run all my tests. From the stability point of view this board is unfortunately a complete exception. I wish all boards would run as stable as the AP5T.
As the inductivities easily show, the new AP5T includes a switching voltage regulator.
AOpen AX5T Rev. 3
Finally the AX5T goes 83 MHzas its Baby-AT form factor brother AP5T. The board is not only running very stable, it also was the best performer of the Intel chipset boards in this test. This board is a nice one, in fact my favorite TX board. It comes also with the ’suspend to disk feature’ and you can also monitor CPU temp., board temp., fan, ... in case you fancy that. It also comes with a switching voltage regulator.
This board showed also in the 6x86MX test that it’s the no.1 of the TX boards. Although without a linear burst option and only 512kB cache it got fairly close to the winning PA-2007.