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Test Configuration And Compatibility
Before embarking on the benchmarks per se, let’s acclimatize ourselves with my test environment setup:
- 01 x PIII700 at 960MHz (7 x 137MHz) + Alpha PFH6035MUC Heatsink cum Cooler
- 02 x 64MB Hyundai PC133 SDRAM (DIMM 1/2) + 01 x 64MB TwinMos PC133 SDRAM (DIMM 0)
- 01 x Iwill WOR-2 motherboard (I815E chipset)
- 01 x MSI 816 GeForce 2 GTS video card; Official Nvidia 6.31 Win2K drivers
- Attached to RAID ATA-100 IDE slots (IDE 2/3): 02 x 30.5GB IBM 75GXP ATA-100 drives; AMI HyperDisk 100 v2.4.1024.0 drivers;
- Attached to standard ATA-100 IDE slots (IDE 0/1): 01 x 30.5GB Maxtor Diamond Max 45 ATA-100 drive (Primary Master) + 01 x 28.5GB Seagate Barracuda II ATA-66 drive (Primary Slave) + 01 x AOpen 48X IDE CD-ROM drive (Secondary Master); Intel Ultra-ATA Storage 6.1.8 drivers;
- 01 x 19” Sony G400 monitor
- 01 x 10/100 INTEL Pro Express NIC
- 01 x Edimax Ethernet 10/100 NIC (using Realtek’s chipset)
- 01 x Mitsumi 1.44MB FDD
- 01 x Enermax 450W ATX PSU
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional OS
- Microsoft DirectX 8
I took the liberty to focus my testing and benchmarking solely in Win2K, despite acknowledging that some present-day benchmark programs are not fully Win2K compliant. I remained adamant after considering how Win2K stands as the most likely OS to be adopted by most users today, or in the near future. For drive benchmarks, I also set up two partitions for test - one FAT32 and another NTFS, to ascertain if a significant difference in speed is noticed under Win2K.
In terms of compatibility, I encountered no prevalent problems with the WO2-R. The only glitch was that I couldn’t get DirectX8 and the CM8373 chipset to work together and enable 4 channel speakers in Win2K. I believe a patch is in the works, but for existing DX8 / Win2K users who intend to utilize the onboard audio, be forewarned. Still, the stereo and EAX functionality worked perfectly, without any problems.
For my configuration, I had no difficulties getting all 3 DIMM slots to work at the 133 MHz BIOS setting. Strangely, this contradicts the findings from other websites’ review of the board, where only 100 MHz was manageable when all DIMM slots were populated.
Also, be sure to install the INF update for Intel chipsets, especially on Win98 systems. Similarly, the installation of Ultra-ATA Storage drivers on the CD-ROM disc is mandatory for uncompromised / optimal HDD performance on the standard I815E ATA-100 controller.
After several weeks of testing, the WO2-R probably represents the most stable board I've come across in my years of reviewing. I did not encounter even a single crash at the highest overclockable setting for the few weeks I had with the board. Perhaps this is testament of the full compatibility of using both an Intel chipset-based motherboard and processor, coupled with Win2K's mature offering. Still, Iwill has implemented it extremely well, considering the additional frills.