Heir To The BX: 18 Pentium III Motherboards Using The 815 Chipset

Gigabyte GA-6OXM7E

Board Revision: 1.0
BIOS Version:

Gigabyte's 815E motherboard comes with a strange name and a cool turquoise PCB. And it is a feature monster: 6 PCI, 4 DIMMs, CNR, UltraATA/100 controller, Creative sound chip, 2+2 USB ports (adapter not included), piezo speaker on-board, DualBIOS, Wake on Everything and basically a good layout. On the second look, I could not install one of our CPU coolers when a DIMM was installed in the first slot, because the latch would require the space where the DIMM is placed. I also doubt that it is really necessary to equip a Solano board with 4 DIMM slots. Two reasons speak against it: Solano does not support more than 512 MB RAM. Furthermore, if you really want to install four DIMMs, you may only use single-sided ones. Two double sided, one double and two single sided, or four single sided DIMMs can be used on i815 boards.

The DualBIOS feature is well known and very useful in order to improve system availability. Lots of jumpers can be found on this motherboard, even though the processor setup is done entirely in the BIOS. One jumper seems to be quite useful: If you put JP15 to 2-3, the system will boot up in safe mode. This can be a real advantage if you over-tuned the computer. On the other hands, e.g. the Asus board automatically determines whether the system is workable or not and goes directly to the BIOS if the answer is "no". Still setting this jumper is at least better than erasing all CMOS settings.

The 6OXM7E failed the memory tests when equipped with Mushkin's HSDRAM, PQI or the Viking memory. All other DIMMs worked properly. I had the problem that I could not get my 3COM 905TX network card running if it was plugged into PCI slot 5 or 6. In slot 1, 2, 3 or 4, everything worked fine. I tried to get some information about this at Gigabyte's website, but the only stuff I found is that you cannot download any sound drivers for the Creative chip from the Gigabyte homepage. I had to go to the Creative homepage and download the drivers for their Vibra 128 PCI card.

Performance and stability was quite well with the Gigabyte board. Even though the four DIMM sockets might not be very meaningful, the 6OXM7E is still one of the best featured Solano motherboard available.