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Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Intro, Specs
i815x Chipset
ABIT SE6
AOpen AX34PRO
Bundle, Testbench, Overclocking
SiSoft Sandra, Any hope?
Winbench
3DMark, Q3A
Verdict

Reviews

ABIT SE6 & AOpen AX34 PRO
Page 1 of 10
Author: kptan
Date of review: 15-October-2000
Type Of Review: Mainboards

Executive Summary


ABIT SE6



Features
This is an i815E solution from ABIT which features:

  • 66/100/133MHz FSB support
  • ATA33/66/100 support
  • AGP4x
  • 1AGP/1AIMM/6PCI/1CNR layout
  • 4 USB ports
  • 3 DIMM slots (512MB max)
  • integrated AGP video and sound

Physical
The board has largely good basic layout and a good number of PCI slots. The 512MB memory max limit imposed by the i815 chipset is annoying, but not something too restrictive. The built in VGA and sound makes it attractive OEM material, but adds cost to the high performance enthusiants DIYers where it is not welcomed.

Overclocking
The SE6 did not overclock as well as expected -- while it managed to maintain 150MHz FSB with the 550E test CPU, CAS latency had to be increased to CAS3 instead of CAS2, and CPU core voltage set to 1.75V

Performance
SiSoft Sandra:
Good performance on par with the reference BX system except (1) poor memory performance compared with even the VIA 133A PRO chipset, (2) high disk access latency despite the ATA100 interface.

Winbench 99:
Good 2D graphics and disk performance. CPU and FPU benchmarks are on par with the reference BX system. However, the price to pay for the higher disk performance is higher CPU utilisation.

3DMark 2000 and Quake 3 Arena timedemo:
Decent 640x480 performance -- albeit below the BX system. Performance at higher resolutions assisted by the AGP4x capability.

Verdict
The SE6 is an average buy. It has a few annoyances originating from the i815x chipset itself -- nothing particularly major. But nothing particularly outstanding either. It does not yet take the BX cake, but it comes close enough such that if you want official 133MHz support, it is a decent enough buy. Overclocked to FSB above 133MHz does give it the little snarling edge to make it worth a look.


AOpen AX34PRO



Features
This is a VIA Apollo 133A Pro solution from AOpen which features:

  • 66/100/133MHz FSB support
  • ATA33/66 support
  • AGP4x
  • 1AGP/1AMR/4PCI/1ISA(shared) layout
  • 4 USB ports
  • 3 DIMM slots (1.5GB max)
  • integrated sound

Physical
AOpen excels in good basic layout. Unique features include: a backup "Die-Hard BIOS" feature, 24K gold plated heatsink over the Northbridge, high quality ESR capacitor wall design.

The major layout issue is the limited number of PCI slots -- essentially an OEM friendly layout.

Overclocking
The AX34PRO overclocked well -- it maintained 150MHz FSB with the 550E test CPU at CAS2 with 4-way memory interleaving.

Performance
SiSoft Sandra:
Good performance on par with the reference BX system except -- especially notable is pretty decent memory benchmarks in interleaving mode. However, this does not seem to help in the other tests.

Winbench 99:
2D performance came behind the BX and SE6. CPU and FPU benchmarks are on par with the reference BX system. Disk performance was commendable although lower than the higher speced i815E SE6.

3DMark 2000 and Quake 3 Arena timedemo:
Generally poor 3D performance compared with the BX and i815 boards.

Verdict
For the AOpen AX34PRO, the introduction of the i815x chipset puts the spoilers on its VIA133A Pro chipset. It seems more an OEM-friendly board.



Click here for the full review

Click here to download a pdf version of the Executive Summary





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