Abit BE6-II Motherboard - Page 4

Ultra DMA-66
The BE6-II supports Ultra DMA-66 through the HighPoint Tech HPT366 IDE controller, which is integrated into the board.

The HPT366 provides two Ultra DMA-66/33 ports, which can support up to four Ultra DMA-66/33 devices. This means that together with the usual two DMA-33 ports, this board is able to support up to eight IDE devices.

Now comes the bad news the DMA-66 support does not come free. PCI slot 3 shares IRQ signals with the HPT366 controller. In addition, PCI slot 5 shares the same bus master control signals with the HPT366. What this means is that if you stick a card that is not particularly happy working with the HPT366 in either slot 3 or slot 5, weirdness happens.  

In addition, PCI slot 1 shares interrupt with the AGP port, and PCI slot 2 shares IRQ with slot 5. This leaves only PCI slot 4 with an independent IRQ and DMA.

At this point, let me digress a little to talk about the Abit Hot Rod 66 it is a separate PCI IDE controller card that provides Ultra DMA-66 capabilities for motherboards without such abilities. I got the card on Saturday with the intention of benchmarking the BX-R2 with the Hot Rod against the BE6-II, so as to provide you with another option for Ultra DMA-66 support if you already have a BX board. The Hot Rod uses the same HPT366 controller in fact it even uses the same BIOS and the same drivers.

The result can be summarised in a single word disaster. The Hot Rod reacted very badly in the BX6-R2 initially to my SCSI card, and after I got that sorted out, it had my Soundblaster Live Value retail card for dinner. To date, I have not managed to get the Hot Rod to work with the SB Live (even after 3 sleepless nights).

Returning to the BE6-II, the HPT366 controller has been better integrated with the BIOS I did not experience any problems with neither the SCSI card nor the SB Live.

Ultra DMA-66 Benchmark
What is the performance gain with Ultra DMA-66? Here is my test system:

  • Intel Pentium III overclocked to 558 MHz @ 2.2V
  • Spectek (Micron) 64MB x2 SDRAM (tested to operate at 133MHz)
  • 300W PowerMan ATX power supply
  • Creative 5x DVD-ROM (connected to Secondary IDE UDMA-33 port as Master)
  • Yamaha CD-RW 4416S
  • Seagate 10.1GB UDMA-66 (connected to UDMA66 port where available)
  • Seagate 4.3 GB UDMA-33 + Seagate 3.4 GB UDMA-33 (connected to Primary IDE UDMA-33 port in Master/Slave configuration)
  • Win98 SE
  • Creative 3D Blaster TNT2 Ultra 32MB
  • Adaptec AVA-2902 PCI SCSI card
  • Creative Encore Dxr2 DVD Decoder
  • Creative Soundblaster Live! Value
  • Motherboard: Abit BE6-II vs. Abit BX6-R2
  Abit BE6-II Abit BX6-II
WinBench 99/Business Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/s) 4210 3050
WinBench 99/High-End Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/s) 11600 10400
WinBench 99/Disk Access Time (Milliseconds) 10.5 11.1
WinBench 99/Disk CPU Utilization (Percent Used) 3.37 3.32
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Bus:Overall (Thousand Bytes/s) 4210 3050
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:AVS/Express 3.4 (Thousand Bytes/s) 7490 5680
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Frontpage 98 (Thousand Bytes/s) 55700 50200
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:MicroStation SE (Thousand Bytes/s) 14000 10200
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Overall (Thousand Bytes/s) 11600 10400
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Photoshop 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/s) 6400 6300
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Premiere 4.2 (Thousand Bytes/s) 10700 11600
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Sound Forge 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/s) 18700 17100
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Visual C++ 5.0 (Thousand Bytes/s) 13200 2700
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Removable media (Thousand Bytes/s) 4550 5640
WinBench 99/Disk Transfer Rate:Beginning (Thousand Bytes/s) 16200 16300
WinBench 99/Disk Transfer Rate:End (Thousand Bytes/s) 16100 16100

The benchmarks showed various degrees of performance improvements with Ultra DMA-66.

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