|ABIT BX6 2.0 Motherboard - Part 3
The first thing worth mentioning is that the ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0
looks much more like BH6 than like BX6, due to the number of PCI slots. Both BX6 Rev 2.0
and BH6 have 5 PCI slots which is probably the best configuration and the most optimal
"Finally ABIT built in the
ability to assign manually all IRQs to individual PCI slots via the BIOS. It will now save
some users time and trouble with PCI devices installation."
By the end of this year ISA bus will likely be abandoned
because of the new PC99 specification. Anyway, most manufacturers have already started
producing expansion cards with PCI bus instead of old ISA devices.
And even in terms of size, the ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0 is more
similar to a compact BH6, than to a BX6. However, it is still a little bit bigger because
of an additional DIMM slot and a data buffer. But the best thing about this board is that
the location of the PCI and ISA slots allows for the use full size expansion cards.
Despite some nice features, the design of the mainboard is
on the whole not entirely successful. ABIT haven't seem to learn much from its previous
experience. The power supply connector is still in the awkward position behind the
processor. In this case all power cables hang above the processor blocking air
"Both BX6 Rev 2.0 and BH6 have
5 PCI slots which is probably the best configuration and the most optimal one."
Other quirks includes the location of the exterior
thermistor connector. It is situated in the upper left corner of the mainboard making it
almost impossible to use it for its purpose: processor temperature measuring.
Unfortunately, the leading thermistor manufacturers, such as ASUS or Iwill, do not provide
a half meter long cable for their units.
But things are not so bad as they seem. Lets pay
attention to the work of ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0 with its data buffer and 4 DIMM modules.
According to the specification, i440BX chipset can address up to 1Gb memory, but it
electrically supports only three memory modules. However, a lot of mainboard manufacturers
install 4 DIMM slots and assure the customers that they will be supported. In this case
Intel does not guarantee their simultaneous performance but nevertheless no serious
problems occurred. To ensure that all the modules worked normally and reliably Intel
recommends the installation of additional data buffers like the ones used in certain small
server solutions. ABIT followed the recommendations and placed a 6-chip external data
buffer by Texas Instruments on its non-server mainboard BX6 Rev 2.0 (the same buffer was
placed also on the BX6 mainboard). So, it turns out that only ABIT mainboards with an
additional data buffer can guarantee simultaneous stability and reliability of all 4
"ABIT haven't seem to learn
much from its previous experience. The power supply connector is still in the awkward
position behind the processor. In this case all power cables hang above the processor
blocking air circulation."
Another promising feature is a wide range of voltages which
can be controlled by ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0 from 1.3V to 3.5V with 0.5 increment. It
allows millions of overclockers, who use the unique SoftMenu II option, to increase core
voltage so that an overclocked CPU could attain the necessary stability. Besides, this
feature will help to support all future processors which will be produced with a 0.18
micron technology and will require a lower power voltage. This important characteristic
made ABIT BX6 Rev 2.0 one of the first mainboards supporting 1.8V Pentium III processor.
Now lets take a look at BIOS. Finally ABIT built in
the ability to assign manually all IRQs to individual PCI slots via the BIOS. It will now
save some users time and trouble with PCI devices installation. Also it will simplify the
change of mainboards without disrupting a previously installed operation system; this is
possible only because we will be able to specifically reflect the previous configuration
by means of IRQs configuration.
Moreover, as far as BIOS is concerned, there is another
attractive thing: to turn on your computer through a double-click on your mouse. It will
be possible if your system has a PS/2-mouse, and if the power supply 5V Standby power is
able to provide at least 720mA current capacity. It seems rather interesting.