In House Abit BX6-2.0 Review - Part 4

Installation
Like I mentioned before, I did not have an ‘evaluation PC’ to work with. So much of the pain came from dismantling my system, which had an Asus P2B I endeared myself to.

Test System

  • Intel Pentium PII-333Mhz (SL2QF Malay)
  • Abit BX6-2.0 rev2.01 with KH BIOS
  • Asus P2B with v1009 BIOS

  • 128Mb LGS PC100 SDRAM

  • IBM Deskstar 8 8.4Gb HDD

  • IBM Deskstar 16 10.1Gb HDD

  • Asus 40X CDROM drive

  • 1.44Mb FDD

  • Gainward Cardex Savage3D 8Mb (AGP)

  • Creative Voodoo 2 12Mb (PCI)

  • Creative Sound Blaster Live! (PCI)

  • Efficient Networks ENI-25P ATM card (PCI)

  • RealMagic Netstream-1 MPEG-1 decoder (ISA)

  • Alcatel 1000 ADSL modem

  • Motorola Power 28.8 external modem

  • Epson Stylus Pro

  • Generic 4-Port USB hub

  • HP Scanjet 4200C (USB)

  • Creative Webcam II (USB)

  • Creative Cobra gamepad (USB)

  • CH F-16 Combatstick (Gameport)

  • Microsoft Natural Keyboard

  • Microsoft Intellimouse 2

Removing the wormy mess of cables from behind and taking apart my Elan Vital T-10AB casing was an arduous task I grew familiar with. Out came the fans, cards, memory DIMMs, IDE cables and power cables from within. Tearing things apart were usually this mindless.

Subsequently, I unscrewed and removed the P2B from my case. The Abit BX6-2.0 is a good 1” wider than my trusty P2B. The extra DIMM, PCI slot and 6-chip data buffer are the obvious newcomers to the neighbourhood.

At this point, I removed the PII-333mhz cartridge from the retention mechanism on the Asus and transferred it onto the BX6-2.0. This did not turn out as simple as it should be. I could not get the CPU to slip in easily using Abit’s foldable retention mechanism. Just millimeters from a firm attachment, it refused to budge. Disbelieving and puzzled, I took out the CPU cartridge and re-examined the two ‘stands’ and  re-read the instructions. I was still clueless. The cartridge would rock back and forth if I did not use the stands. So after quite a bit of sweat, I finally got the awkward things in place. Problem could be just me… Whew!

With ample place to work within the T-10AB, the supposedly large board was easily slotted snugly in place. However, the mainboard’s location of the power socket was quite a distance away from my PSU and the power cable had to be stretched to its limit, pressing really tightly over the CPU to reach it.

Connecting up my fans was next and Abit included three 3-pin fan headers on the mainboard (one more than the BH6) thus allowing me to power 2 more chasis fans in addition to the active heatsink found on the CPU.

Everything else went back in the same way they came out. I crossed my finger and powered up the system. It POSTed as expected but the floppy drive search failed. It did not occur to me that it could be a wrongly inserted IDE cable (since the key on the cable would prevent me from plugging it inversely).

It was just a pain… and after checking up the Abit mobo newsgroup, I read about advices to check for defective/incompatible cables, which had the keys that did not fit (presumably older non-standardized floppy drive designs). The solution is simple as you just have to ‘saw’ off the little stubby plastic key with a penknife before attempting to put them together.

Why?! This is ingenious and obvious, I should have paid more attention to the alignment of the cable’s ‘red line’ with Pin 1, instead of trusting the cable alone. Is this an issue with old floppy drives (mine is 2 months old) or defective cables? Whichever it may be, much frustration could have been averted.

Other than the above quirks, the board seems to be working well and my 333Mhz CPU POSTed normally.

I did a fresh install of Windows 98 SE into my freshly partitioned and formatted drives and allowed plug-&-play to do MOST of the magic. Everything, but my ATM card installed flawlessly… a problem I’ve gotten used to as it is a problem with Windows installing the wrong driver. This was quickly corrected simply by using the drivers that came with my ATM card. The rest of the devices were configured with their own supplied drivers and in about 45 mins, I was up and running.

Taking the rest of the day to pour back my usual software and utilities. It seemed like an eternity before I got the system back into my ‘pristine’ state.

 

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