ASUS P3C 2000 Camino Board - Page 4
Perhaps this may be my first
BIOS encounter with a Camino setup, but it is indeed a
refreshing change from what I’m familiar with in previous BX
motherboard configurations. Besides
having a “tab-like” menu concept and options selected via
the “Enter” key (as opposed to the regular “Pg Up /
Down”), I found the BIOS menus definitely more intuitive.
However, it could do with some restructuring, as some
options are still not ideally placed in the menu hierarchy
IMHO. In any
case, aesthetics only do so much.
So what highlights does it offer?
a. CPU / FSB / Memory
speed / VCore settings
As stated before, the board
allows for manual FSB settings via the BIOS as well.
All settings via external DIP switches are also
available in Soft BIOS (meaning 100 to 180MHz at 2 to 3MHz
the corresponding SDRAM speed settings at >133MHz FSBs are
not manually adjustable, and take on a 2/3 divider, such that
a ceiling of 133MHz is imposed. This is inevitable, as the memory translator hub only
supports 100MHz officially, and anything above that is already
pushing it. The BIOS
also allowed variable VCore voltages for my Coppermine,
ranging from 1.60V to 1.90V at 0.05V increments.
A nice addition and
characteristic of the Camino chipset is the ability to assign
individual IRQs to specific PCI slots (say, IRQX to PCI slotX). Gone are the cryptic presets of IRQ configurations offered
via PIRQ#1-#4. In
comparison, the VIA Apollo Pro 133A also supports similar
specific IRQ assignments.
c. PNP OS (that works!)
Granted that PNP OS has been
around for some time, I could never get it to work properly on
previous motherboards I used, and IRQ conflicts would
predominantly abound prior to manual intervention.
However, on the P3C-2000, I finally witnessed the
utility of a working PNP OS.
During migration from my old motherboard, Win98se
reinstalled several base drivers (including my SBLive
after bootup, I literally witnessed a change from IRQ5 to IRQ9
in real-time, as the SBLive Emulation driver was loading and
had detected a conflict!
This was Kewl…
DMA & ISA Legacy Exclusion
The BIOS also allows for
specific DMAs and IRQs to be exclusively reserved for ISA card
usage. However, with ISA as a dying standard and the board
only sporting 1 ISA connector, this was probably included as
an adhoc backward compatibility.
The inclusion of a bright
green Power LED on the motherboard is also another welcome
addition for discerning if the motherboard is “Alive” and
running at any stage.