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Socket 7 Board Review July 1998

Superpower SP-A586B

Baby AT motherboard; ALi Aladdin V chipset; 512 kB L2 cache; 3 PCI, 2 ISA slots, AGP slot; Voltages: 3.5 - 2.0 Volts.

The south bridge of the ALi chipset has been placed behind the PCI slots. This is possible since the keyboard controller is integrated into this chip and doesn't require extra space any more. But it also reduces the distance between the PCI slots and the CPU socket. So you will have problems with all PCI cards which are more than two inches longer than the slot itself.

The Winstone performance is quite good, but for some reason this board is the slowest in Incoming using an AGP video card. The Forsaken and Quake II benchmarks are better again. Overclockers won't be content with this board: 100 MHz is maximum; but at least also 95 MHz are supported and you can freely chose the CPU core voltage.

The Superpower board is also the only new socket 7 board I reviewed which does not merely use switching voltage regulators. The secondary on board connectors (IDE2 and COM2) habe yellow instead of white frames. I made the experience that this is very helpful if you have to run several different motherboards with different drives. If you quickly want to plug in a flat cable, you don't have to waste time searching for the right connector. Take the white and your device will use the primary IDE controller, for example.

The jumper settings can be done relatively fast, but what applies to many other boards can also be said here: Why does the user not get dip switches or a software setup? This would even save some costs for the manufacturer.