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ABIT Unveils Newest Board, the WB6

Reviews

ABIT Unveils Newest Board, the WB6
Page 1 of 1
Author: kan
Date of review: 12-November-1999
Type Of Review: Press

Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. November 10th, 1999—Introducing a Micro ATX slot 1 board with PC99 color-coded connectors and double-decked I/O designed for the fastest Slot 1CPUs (Pentium® III processors 100/133MHz FSB) and re-aligning Value PC standards, ABIT brings to the market the WB6. “Based on Intel's new 810e chipset the WB6 is poised to bring our greatest price to performance ratio yet” touts ABIT PR Manager Jeremy Smith.

With the 810e chipset, the WB6 supports: 66/100/133 MHz Front Side Bus speeds, Ultra DMA33/66, Two 168-pin DIMM sockets support SDRAM modules for up to 512MB with stand-by voltage to support the STR (Suspend to RAM) function and integrated AGP 2X 3D graphics accelerator with 100MHz Dynamic Display Memory Interface and On board AC Link '97 video with 4MB SDRAM Graphics Memory, Micro ATX form factor, 3 PCI slots and One AMR slot.

A New Design with Big Benefits
ABIT's latest All-in-One model, the WB6, is designed with the Intel's value-oriented but performance-enhanced 810e chipset. Based on the new 810e chipset from Intel, what does the new WB6 give you? “Fuller, richer, more integrated performance” says ABIT's Smith. The FW82801 of the 810e chipset, is also called the ICH chipset, the I/O Controller Hub. The ICH is a highly integrated multifunctional component supporting the following functions and capabilities:


  • PCI Rev. 2.2 compliant with support for 33MHz PCI operations
  • Supports up to 6 Req/Gnt pairs (PCI Slots)
  • Integrated IDE controller with Ultra DMA/66 support
  • USB host interface with support for 2 USB ports
  • AC '97 2.1 compliant link for audio and telephony CODECs
  • Firmware Hub (FWH) interface support
  • According to the Intel website for information about the chipset, “At the core of the 810e chipset is a memory controller with built-in graphics technology. The 82810e chip optimizes system memory arbitration, similar to AGP technology, resulting in a more responsive and cost-effective system.”

The 82810e Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH)
The WB6 features native Intel® graphics technology and software drivers, using Direct AGP to render stunning 2D and 3D effects and images supporting resolutions of up to 1280 x 1024 x 16-bit colors at a 75 Hz refresh rate or 1024 x 768 x 24-bit true colors at an 85 Hz refresh rate. Additionally, with the 82810e chip the WB6 features Intel's integrated Hardware Motion Compensation to improve soft DVD video quality. The WB6 also utilizes Intel's Dynamic Video Memory Technology (D.V.M.T.), an architecture of the Intel software drivers and intelligent memory arbiter that the system OS uses to support richer graphics applications with efficient memory utilization and Direct AGP bringing potentially breakthrough performance for the Value PC segment. ABIT also includes enhanced Audio and VGA drivers applications to support DOS, Windows 95/98/NT/2000 and are added in the ABIT CD-ROM that comes with the package.

The 82801 I/O Controller Hub (ICH)
The WB6 employs the Intel® Accelerated Hub Architecture to make direct connections between the graphics and memory to the integrated AC97 controller, the IDE controllers, dual USB ports, and PCI add-in cards. According to Intel, “The Accelerated Hub Architecture provides twice the bandwidth of the PCI bus at 266 MB per second. This allows a wider flow of rich information from the I/O controller to the memory controller, with optimized arbitration rules allowing more functions to run concurrently, enabling more life-like audio and video.”

Integrated Audio and AMR
The WB6 has one AMR slot on board, it is called the Audio/Modem Riser (AMR) slot. The Audio/Modem Riser is an open industry-standard specification that defines a hardware scalable interface, which supports both audio and modem functions. “In accordance with PC user's demands for feature-rich PCs, combined with the industry's current trend towards lower cost PCs, all of theses functions are built into the motherboard. In the future, AMR cards will be on the market and you can make a choice in buying different cards according to your budget. The WB6 insures this expandability for the AMR platform. There is no need for a graphics card, or a sound card, by reusing existing system resources, this feature adds flexibility, improves sound quality, and lowers the system cost by eliminating components, reducing the cost of Inventory for integrators and reducing the total cost of ownership dramatically. That coupled with the ability to support industry coming standard of 133MHz FSB without the penalty of the RAMBUS price premium is why we think that the WB6 will offer the best price to performance ratio,” explains ABIT's Smith.

The 82802 Firmware Hub (FWH)
The Firmware Hub (FWH) component is part of several integrated Intel® chipsets. The FWH is designed to enabling future security and manageability infrastructures for the PC platform. The hardware features of this device include a Random Number Generator (RNG), five General Purpose Inputs (GPIs), register-based block locking, and hardware-based locking. An integrated combination of logic features and non-volatile memory is designed to enable better protection for the storage and or update of platform code or data, “This will add platform flexibility through additional GPIs and allows for quicker introduction of new security/manageability features into the current and future Intel® architecture platform” says Smith. To eliminate a redundant nonvolatile memory component the WB6 uses the Firmware Hub (FWH) to store the system BIOS and video BIOS. Additionally, to allow for the changing landscape of ecommerce and Internet privacy issues, the Firmware Hub on the WB6 contains a hardware Random Number Generator (RNG). The Intel® RNG provides random numbers to enable fundamental security building blocks supporting encryption, digital signing, and security protocols.

ATA/66 and PC99
The WB6 is also has the now standard PC99 compliant connectors specification. Connectors are color coded to be identified and hooked up easily. The WB6 also has support for the new Ultra DMA66 IDE devices. With Ultra ATA/66 (Also known as Ultra DMA/66) specification, the WB6 enhances existing Ultra ATA/33 technology by increasing both performance and data integrity. This high-speed interface doubles the Ultra ATA/33 burst data transfer rate to 66.6 Mbytes/sec. The result is an increase in disc performance using the current PCI local bus environment. Ultra ATA/66 hard drives are 100 percent backward compatible with both Ultra ATA/33 and DMA and with existing ATA (IDE) hard drives, CD-ROM drives, and host systems and the Ultra ATA/66 protocol and commands are designed to be compatible with existing ATA (IDE) devices and systems.

Hardware Monitoring
To monitor the hardware of the system, the WB6 has integrated the Winbond Hardware Monitoring chipset. With the Hardware Doctor, a self-diagnostic software program for the PC, the user can monitor the following hardware configurations under Microsoft Windows 95/98:

  • Power Supply Voltage
  • Provide voltages for different devices such as CPU, Chipset, ISA Bus, and PCI Bus
  • Fan Speed
  • Includes CPU and System fan speeds
  • Temperature
  • Includes System temperature and a Thermal header for CPU or other hardware temperature monitoring.

In order to provide accurate hardware temperature monitoring with the Hardware Doctor, the WB6 has two built-in thermal sensors to detect both CPU and system environment temperatures. The WB6 is also equipped with an additional thermal header, so the user can buy a 10KW thermistor to detect any hardware component's temperature in the system.

SoftMenu™ II
The WB6 also uses ABIT's famous advanced Jumperless technology, SoftMenu™ II which provides ABIT's customers an easy and safe environment to tweak maximum performance out of their components. ABIT's SoftMenu™ II increases future compatibility and gives users a convenient way to adjust CPU settings. In addition there is a new clock generator that allows for a ¼ PCI divider for bus speeds higher than 100MHz as well as an AGP divider of 1/1 or 2/3 to keep the AGP as close to 66MHz as possible when above 100+MHz. Finally, included in the WB6's SoftMenu™ II features, is the ability to manually specify IRQ placement. This has been a much sought after feature that greatly helps in keeping IRQ conflicts to a minimum.

About ABIT
ABIT Computer Corporation designs, and sells a complete family of award-winning mainboards and video cards that support industry-leading technology and provide leading quality and performance for system integration of computer components supporting a broad range of PC applications, for use in ecommerce, entertainment, education and the internet. Corporate headquarters are located in Taiwan. For more information visit the Company's web site at http://www.abit.com.tw

Note: All brand names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Specifications and information contained in this press release are subject to change without notice.


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