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21 Slot-1 Motherboards using VIA Chipsets

Tyan S1854 Trinity 400

Board Revision: D

BIOS Version: 1.06 (February 11, 2000)

The last but not least board in this comparison comes from Tyan, who are based in California, although the motherboards are actually manufactured in Taiwan. You may have already noticed the two striking features: Six PCI slots (all masters) and an additional Socket 370. Earlier board versions had been equipped with a jumper to select either Slot-1 or the socket. Our test sample (rev. D) does not have this jumper any more and is able to detect the used interface.

This slot monster doesn't require the FSB to be set manually, since it will be detected automatically. Afterwards, you can still alter this clock speed in the BIOS. Only the multiplier has to be set via some jumpers - which seems to be a tradition at Tyan. This board supports clock speeds up to 140 MHz and along with the widespread option to increase or decrease the memory clock by 33 MHz. This gives the best flexibility if you want to keep using some hardware or a processor. As with the Transcend motherboard, you will have to close the DIMM locks before installing an AGP card. Cooling seems to be an important issue for the people who designed this board, since it features four fan headers. There's also some free place left on the board: It can be equipped it with a Creative sound chip for multimedia purposes.

According to the amount of slots I would have expected to see four DIMM sockets. I can think of two reasons why Tyan is content with three: First there's hardly enough free space to place a fourth socket and second, it's not possible to use four double-sided DIMMs anyway. Most chipsets cannot handle such large amounts of memory chips.

It is good to see that Tyan did not only do great work regarding the software but also with the manual. Everything is distinctly described even with photos showing the installation process. Maybe most of you are expecting the Tyan board to be super fast, as its features are extremely interesting. The board scores fine, but it's not really fast. Most other 694X perform better. I really hope that future board and BIOS versions will bring along some performance increases, since this board could have easily been the winner.