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Billy and Spot are back from Comdex,
See my Motherboard Reviews
See also Billy's Book Recommendations
Intel's Power Supply 98 is the Tip of the Month
New to Motherboards? here.
"...if I were looking for
information on the diet of the lemur in captivity, your site would
probably be totally UNinteresting" David
- I have now flashed the BIOS of the Soyo 6KB, a high-performance
440LX Pentium II motherboard. I was reluctant to review this
motherboard until Soyo had fixed a glitch in the BIOS. Preliminary
results indicate that this board will receive a good (revised) review.
On the other hand, the EPoX board I have is still in need of a Windows 95
PCI bus driver for its Apollo VP3 chipset. I am waiting for either
EPoX or VIA to send me this driver.
- Fall Comdex is over now, and Spot and I have got ten times the work load that
we started with. We will be updating the site extensively with new product information
and motherboard reviews. As you might guess, our e-mail boxes were full, and since Spot
is such a slow typer, I'll be answering them when I can. Take a look at Spot's new pictorial
entitled, "Spot Leaves His Mark on Las Vegas," in which he gambles,
drinks, and scams his way into the world's largest computer convention. Spot made me take most of the
pictures, since in his words, "I'm not a great photographer, but I am pretty photogenic."
Well, one out of two ain't bad for a pooch.
I have written a few highlights of Fall Comdex 97.
- 11/9/97: There is a new Pentium Bug reported
by "email@example.com" using a dial-up account at the University of Texas. Visit either the
Linux Advocacy newsgroup or the
Intel System newsgroup and look for the long thread.
Original Subject was: This code will lock up any P5 machine, even usermode Linux! (F0 0F C7 C8),
original post was made on Thursday the 6th. However, Robert Collins says he's known of this
bug for awhile, and so apparently has Intel, but since the bug applies to in invalid opcode, it seems
unlikely that anyone will make a big deal of it. But the newsgroups are of course populated
with some strange people, as you will see if you follow the thread. This bug is not all that
significant unless you are developing Trojan horse or virus code.
- 10/30/97: I have just received three motherboards from EPoX and Soyo. I'll be reviewing them soon. Yee Haw! There are two AGP boards in the bunch,
so get ready for something different.
- See what's in store for the old power supply
- AGP is finally here, sort of. The VIA Apollo VP3 chipset has
been released in small quantities for motherboard manufacturers to start designing their next-generation Socket 7 Pentium
motherboards. Major chipset advances include support for up to 1 GB of RAM (although 384 MB is more likely)
including SDRAM, PC97 compliance, and the 133 MHz AGP bus. Look for products based on VIA's new chipset
in a few weeks if you can't find them, yet. In the meantime, Intel has released the long-awaited 440LX for Pentium
10/30/97: I have just now received a VP3/97 chipset motherboard from EPoX, and when my 64 MB SDRAM DIMM
arrives, the review will be soon to follow.
- ...And the winner is... Someone has just realeasd an AGP board for Socket 7. It's 4:30 am on October 9, and
I have confirmation that the VIA VP3 has finally made it to shipping motherboards. Please see my Manufacturers page for more details.
- It's time to update your wish list. The tops things to get the kids for Christmas? Computer hardware!
Get them SDRAM, AGP, OnNow, ACPI, ATX, USB, IrDA, and ATA-33. Now if only we had an operating system that would
natively support all of this. Hmmm. Maybe Santa will bring one? Sorry, gang, maybe by Easter.
Microsoft is in big enough trouble as it is.
Also, IEEE-1394 is now called i-link. The problem
with that stupid name? The word "link" is one that search engines may not list, and it seems
to be a trademark of I-Link, Inc. Dear Sony, Canal+ and Philips
Leave the naming of computer technology to people who know computers! I personally like
FireWire, but according to Theo Vlek from Philips,
"IEEE-1394 is not a very 'consumer name' and we didn't like the name FireWire because of the danger factor it may convey to the
That's just dumb. However, i-link it is, and I will update my references to IEEE-1394.
- Speed Up Your Modem using
the MaxMTU Fix for free (trial). This is a simple utility for people who surf the 'net using a modem and Win95. It
seems that Win95's default network setting are great for Ethernet, but not for modem connections.
Billy told you so, and it so it was. Intel released the 440LX AGPset on Monday, August 25th. Elsewhere, I have said that
AGP would be here by 3Q97. Well, let's just say that it's right here, right now. If you have e-mailed Spot and
he recommended that you wait a little, Spot now says that your waiting is over.
Now the problem is that I will be incredibly busy trying to keep up with all of the new boards! I'm going to try and
review as many of these new motherboards as possible.
- Also see Tom's Hardware and Performance Guide This site has
got benchmark results for ALL major brands of motherboards. It is very complete. I must confess,
Tom's site is clearly the best of its kind. It beats many commercially-produced and maintained sites, and it has a plethora of information
about motherboard-related technogies. Tom has graciously had a link to my site since 11/13/96.
- Read any good books lately? I have about a dozen that I recommend for computer
hardware junkies like myself and for the cost-conscious consumer who likes learning about PC's.
These books are great if you need a detailed guide to hardware installation.
- According to Intel, "the Pentium Pro processor with one MB of L2 cache is now available for $2675 in 1000-unit
quantities." I have of course updated my recommendations page to reflect this addition. The Pentium Pro CPU
is still the beast to have in a server. I'm a bit surprised at this move by Intel, especially since the spotlight will soon shift to
Pentium II's, the 440LX chipset, and AGP.
- I'm going to cap you, man! What's all the stink about tantalum capacitors and cheap motherboards? Read
this article from the Techweb.
- Do you need a
Credit card with your name on it, but your
credit is not perfect? Everyone has to start somewhere, and the secured Visa® Future Card allows you to start out on the right track by
giving you access to the 12 million locations around the world that accept Visa. If you have some credit references, chances great
that you can apply for the unsecured Visa Credit card and start on the road back to good credit. Are you thinking that this credit card may
not be for people who have good credit? Well, even if your credit is good, consider that as soon as you use your Visa Future Card for the first
time, you get a free vacation for two or 2-for-the-price-of-1 on a Carnival® cruise. Still not
convinced? Okay, you can get the free vacation and the cruise, just for your using Visa Future Card one time.
- The N-Zine! is a great electronic newsletter sent out by Neutron, Inc.
Neutron is a retailer of computer software and hardware, plus they have
a top-notch website and e-zine. In fact, the Neutron website has received my Hot Spot of the Year Award for 1997, which perhaps
prompted them to feature The Motherboard HomeWorld in their September 1st N-Zine!
- The 430TX chipset seems to be having problems with certain components, specifically
Seagate ST 31720, ST 33240, and ST 32531 hard disks. The same has been reported for the "Fritz
Card" from AVM, which is an ISDN-BRI card, I think. The problem has to do with the 3.3 V I/O signals produced by the
chipset's PIIX4 EIDE controller. The solution is to use a CPU that allows a 3.5 V setting, like the Pentium Classic,
or replace the faulty component. Motherboard manufacturers like ASUS have redesigned their motherboards to remedy this
behavior, and Seagate and AVM have also made changes to their products.
- Intel has found that their dear friend, Robert Collins, is quite a friend, indeed. He has graciously documented and reported a
floating point to integer conversion flag error, which he calls "Dan-0411." Collins made his findings public on May 5, 1997 by posting
a message entitled "Pentium II Math Bug Revealed"
on the Usenet in comp.sys.intel and other related newsgroups. I have preserved a copy of Collins' initial report for you
here. Robert Collins is the webmaster of "x86.org," a website that reports CPU-related
information, spoofs Intel, and tells the reader, "What Intel doesn't want you to know."
- Here's a listing of Intel motherboards for those of us who can't tell a "Marl" from a "Zappa" motherboard. See the
Intel Motherboard Reference Comparison by Magenta Systems. If
you're curious, the Marl is an HX chipset board, and the Zappa is an FX board. Also try
this Intel motherboard page or
- This is the weirdest motherboard site I've ever seen. This
guy is an authority on one motherboard!! When you click this link, scroll up slightly and start at the section entitled "My Sound
is Screwed Up when I overclock!" He describes how he uses the keylock to change his 486 CPU speed on-the-fly. This is
pretty extreme, but inventive. (When this guy found my link, he e-mailed me sounding a little hurt for calling his site
weird. But I should say that he isn't alone: here's a link to a guy who's an expert on the Biostar 8433UUD motherboard.
- Intel has announced a new passive-backplane motherboard form factor specification called NLX. See
their press release about it. Another great
NLX site is here.
- Ampro and Motorola have announced an embedded
motherboard specification called EBX. The whitepaper can be found
- You must see the ChipList! This site lists nearly
every CPU and µ-processor under the planet, from AMD to Zilog. Take a trip down memory lane. Aad Offerman, the webmaster,
e-mailed me in March 1997 to tell me that he will be updating it soon.
- For those who kill for dirt on Intel, or those who work closely with x86 assembly code, you should see the
website formerly known as the N-tel Secrets HomePage, which has listings of new opcodes, processor-specific
bugs, and miscellaneous Intel CPU trivia. Webmaster Robert Collins has changed jobs, changed his public attitude toward Intel, and changed
his website to the "x86 Monthly Digest" since he got tired of harassment disguised as legal disputes from Intel.
- If you just need some Product Support Listings for a computer hardware or software product, see CompInfo's web page.
- For BIOS information, or to figure out who manufactured your motherboard, see Wim Bervoets' BIOS
- For help finding computer stuff besides motherboards, try Spumador's
Hardware Page - he has 1000+ links sorted by category and alphabetically. We have agreed to maintain links and banners to one
- If you want the real meat of CPU opcodes, mnemonics, how-to's, and technical facts, you should view Christian Ludloff's new site, which he refers
to as "sandpile.org".
- Here's a list which I compiled on ISDN-BRI pricing for most states in the U.S.
- lists my website
here. I am
not listed here,
but it's another good Yahoo! site.
- Lockergnome is the only Newsletter you'll ever need.
- If you're in the market for a used motherboard, or for a general motherboard newsgroup, try this: NEWS:misc.forsale.computers.pc-specific.motherboards