Review of Socket 7 PCI Motherboards

Benchmarks: Business Winstone 97

I did not try mixing EDO and SDRAMs. It should work on many boards, but I don't recommend you to do it. You won't get more performance if you add some new SDRAM to your EDOs. If you want to use 75 or 83 MHz bus frequency, change over to the faster SDRAM, but keep your EDO memory in case you're going to stay at 66 MHz. The performance advantage of SDRAM at this bus speed is not worth talking about. Another issue is memory expansion, which has become quite elegant since DIMM modules can be installed seperately; you don't need to obtain an identical pair and you won't get trouble due to different contacts or even chip manufacturers. In some boards I tried the mixture of Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi and LGS SDRAM memory, without any problems.

The Quantum Fireball ST obviously is faster than the Fireball TM used in the former tests. But the performance difference between EIDE hard drives is only visible under Windows NT. Windows 95 does not profit that much from a faster hard drive. This is also a reason why I did without the well known performance champ Seagate Cheetah.

You might ask why I did not use the faster Millennium II. This video card is certainly faster, but not fast enough to clearly push up the Winstone results. The 2D improvements are fine, but 3D quality is, I'm sorry to say, a huge disappointment. For the same money you can get one of the new generation 3D accelerators like Diamond Viper 330 or nVIDIA RIVA128, you can get some information about the new cards at the graphics card review .

For All Overclockers

If you plan to overclock your CPU (especially K6 or M2), be aware of a good air circulation inside your case. The best cooler/fan is useless if the heat remains around the processor. Please check SDRAM timings and the item 'specultative read' in your BIOS as well. Try the slower settings if you have trouble, not all boards are optimized to the two faster bus frequencies. Furthermore there always is the possibility that your board is unstable running at 75 or 83 MHz bus clock. This could happen with the CPU as well, some just can't be overclocked too much. Another phenomenon is that all three CPUs don't get as hot running Windows NT as in Windows 95 or DOS. NT executes the CPU instruction 'HALT' whilst idle, something that's obviously asked too much from a mouse driver collection like Windows 95. To push up the CPU clock another bit, you can also try a higher voltage. For example I ran the Pentium 233 MMX at 83 MHz x 3.5 (291 MHz) to check system stability at much higher processing speed. As you already expect this, was quite a hot affair,I could have cooled the CPU with a hair drier as well. Therefore I don't recommend to do this permanently, it's amusing to see the performance of future CPUs, at least for me.