Intel's 440LX chipset is now available for almost 2 weeks and one motherboard manufacturer after the other is presenting their 440LX board to the market. The most well known new feature of this new Intel chipset is the AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) support, which is supposed to revolutionize the graphic accelerator market. There are a few other important new features as well however, which are supposed to increase the performance of a Pentium II system over the performance of systems with the old 440FX chipset, which so far was the only available chipset for Pentium II processors. The most important feature besides AGP is the new memory manager, which now supports SDRAM as well. SDRAM doesn't necessarily have to increase overall system performance considerably, but particularly the AGP needs as much memory bandwidth as it can get. The current maximal peak bandwidth of SDRAM at 66 MHz system bus is about 528 MB/s, EDO RAM only offers 264 MB/s and good old FPM even only 176 MB/s peak bandwidth. This shows that it really requires SDRAM if AGP wants at least to use x1 mode (264 MB/s). The 440LX chipset is including the PIIX4 'south bridge', well known from the 430TX chipset, enabling UltraDMA mode for EIDE disks and LDCM for all the (few) people who fancy that.
In most of the LX-boards that are currently sold you'll still find the 'secret' on the chipset.
For comparison reasons I ran the PCI tests on an AOpen AX6F as well, acting for all 440FX boards. You may remember that the AX6F is one of the fastest 440FX boards available.
Finally Abit's back!!! It seems long ago that I wrote a particular good review about a newly released Abit board. Since the release of the first and most excellent IT5H Socket 7 HX board the expectations in Abit were pretty high, leaving Abit under huge stress trying to live up to the standards of the IT5H. It took almost exactly a year, but now Abit's done it again. The LX6 was a pleasure to do testing with and it performed excellent in every test. It holds the lead in most of the benchmarks and is worth a big recommendation. The board is not a cheap and tiny little thing, it's only using high quality components, comes with the well known SoftMenu feature, which leaves you the bus speed options of 50 to 100 (!!) MHz. However, before you are jumping out of your seat, let me tell you that the 100 MHz setting produced 66 MHz bus speed. This can change with a BIOS update though. Anyway this LX board is my number one choice, don't go for less !
Features: 1 AGP, 4 PCI, 3 ISA slots, 4 DIMM sockets,SoftMenu , ATX form factor.