Some rough edges could have
been refined. The floppy IDE cable problem as well as a less
than well thought out positioning of the mainboard power
socket, and the clumsy CPU retention mechanisms can be further
polished. It is safe to say that these are minor gripes and
should not post a problem at all to your finished system.
There are plenty to like
about this board since I migrated from my P2B. The splendid
manual was the first thing that impressed me. Next was the provision of
a thermistor for measuring CPU temperature and the presence of
5 PCI and 4 DIMM slots, as opposed to 4 and 3 on my P2B.
How often does one have 1Gb RAM on his system to use
the 4 DIMM slots? That is a valid question, but it is a godsend for people who
already have 2 x 64Mb DIMMs or 2 x 32Mb DIMMS, since it gives them more
physical room for expansion.
The 5 PCI slots are the most
welcomed addition for me, definitely an essential criterion if
you are buying boards today. More is better!
Of course the
upgrade from a jumper-based motherboard to a Abitís SoftMenu
II system which allowed me to toy with the settings like
never before (NOT necessarily always a good thing), is one of
the most compelling reasons for an Abit. Chief
'overclockersí features such as the wide selection of FSB
bus speeds (up to crazeee 153Mhz), clock multipliers
(2.0-8.0), PCI bus dividers and CPU core voltage adjustments,
are all readily accessible through an intuitive, menu-driven BIOS.
Since the values are adjusted
steppings, you can tailor the settings to suit different peripheral tolerances,
reducing the chance of causing any damage to the hardware. Your ultimate overclocking
success will be determined by how closely you can stay below
that safe level.
The benefits of the SoftMenu
II will be best appreciated by someone who had been through the
suicide-inducing procedure of -- taking apart casing -- moving
tiny jumpers with gigantic fingers -- over and over again till
you got your perfect setting.
Minor rough edges aside, it is
hard not to recommend an Abit BX6-2.0 to anyone looking for a
BX board. The only other board capturing my attention is the new AOpen AX6BC
Pro which comes almost on par with the BX6-2.0. While I have never used an AOpen board and have been a
loyal fan Asusís high quality boards, itís difficult not
to be won over by the comprehensive range features found on
the BX6-2.0. Until I am convinced otherwise, the Abit BX6-2.0
will remain at the top of my 'A' list of Slot-1 boards. At S$215,
for a near perfect choice altogether.