Reviewed Products

Asus P2B-DS
Abit BP6
Shuttle HOT-649A
Tyan S1832DL

Tech Talk

Dual Celeron
Intel CPU Fan Hack
CPU Core Temp.


Low cost, feature packed and design with overclock in mind.

by Derek Kwan

"Nothing is impossible!" We are so glad to receive ABIT's BP6 for our testing, thanks Nic. ABIT's BP6 is the FISRT and ONLY Dual Socket 370 Motherboard you can buy. If you want a low cost solution for dual processors machine, look no futher, buy yourself a BP6, pop in 2 PPGA Celeron Processors and off you go. When you take a closer look at ABIT's BP6, it is more than a just multi-processor capable, it is a feature packed high performance motherboard.

While Intel's 440BX chipset, it is not designed for UDMA/66 standard. UDMA/33 which is what the BX chipset can do the best. It is only cabable of running a maximum of 33MB/s transfer rate per IDE channel. But with today's high performance machine, a higher transfer rate is in demand. ABIT engineer has include the Highpoint HPT366 controller chip on BP6 to support the UDMA/66 specification and therefore it is possible for 66MB/s burst data transfer rate. The UDMA/66 controller is directly connected with the PCI bus in order to provide maximum disc performance. UDMA/66 specification is also backward compatible with both UDMA/33 and existing ATA (IDE) devices like hard-drives and CD-ROMs. Because of the addition of HPT366 UDMA/66 controller on board, BP6 can support up to total of 8 EIDE devices. Two channels (two devices per channel) are controlled by the BX chipset and provide a UDMA/33 interface (the BLACK IDE connectors), and the other two channel are UDMA/66 capable (The WHITE IDE connectors).

The cable for UDMA/66 standard is also slightly different than your old UDMA/33 cable. The UDMA/66 cable is a 80 wires and 40 pin connector cable. The extra wires (what we have told) are grounded and will provide a better, clearer and cleaner signal in the cable. Another factor is, the connectors are color-coded, Blue is connected to the controller, Grey is for slave device and Black is for master device.

A SB-Link connector is also available on this board which is located right next to the PCI slots. BP6 is the ONLY motherboard we tested which is PC99 Compliant. In order to meet PC99 compliant, connectors are color coded to be identified and hooked up easily.

No, this is not a iMac marketing scheme.

Overclock is for sure today's hottest topic for the power hungry users. BP6 once again clearly demonstrate their commitment to customer's need. This is (to our knowledge) the only motherboard can give you substantial overclock features. If you are already a owner of BX6 (or BX6 Ver 2) or BH6 you already know how handy is their SoftMenu II jumperless CPU Frequency settings. ABIT's engineer has once again making all overclocker's dream come true. On BP6, you can now go with 1MHz increment on FSB setting in between 82MHz to 100MHz range. Why overclockers need 1MHz increments, espically in this range? For most Celeron Processors it can run at 83MHz FSB without problems but it will fail at 100MHz FSB under normal conditions. So it means the Celeron Processor fails somewhere in between. From 66MHz to 75Mhz is about 13% incerment, and 75MHz to 83MHz is about 11% incerment, but from 83MHz to 100MHz is a whopping 20% jump. So you can see Celeron overclockers would like to have a FSB somewhere in between to get the extra juice from their CPU. Here is a list of frequencies you can set (from SoftMenu II) for you to fine-tune your overclocked Celeron Processor.

FSB Frequency (PCI Frequency Divider)
66MHz (1/2) 68MHz*(1/2) 72MHz (1/2) 75MHz (1/2)
78MHz (1/2) 80MHz (1/2) 82MHz (1/2) 83MHz (1/2)
84MHz (1/2) 85MHz (1/2) 86MHz (1/2) 87MHz (1/2)
88MHz (1/2) 89MHz (1/2) 90MHz (1/2) 91MHz (1/2)
92MHz (1/3) 93MHz (1/3) 94MHz (1/3) 95MHz (1/3)
96MHz (1/3) 97MHz (1/3) 98MHz (1/3) 99MHz (1/3)
100MHz (1/3) 103MHz*(1/3) 124MHz (1/4) 133MHz (1/4)
* "Turbo Frequency" Enable - Option only availabe in 66MHz and 100MHz settings.

Some older Celeron processors are know to have a 500MHz limit on it's CPU core and L2 cache. So if we take a 366MHz Celeron Processor for example, with 5.5 multiplier running at 83MHz FSB is about 457MHz and at 100MHz FSB the core and L2 cache will be running at 550MHz. In order to seek for the true limit, we use a pair of 366MHz Celeron Processor (SL35S Retail. Week 8, 99) for our experiment. If the CPU core and L2 cache really has a 500MHz limit, the FSB frequency will be somewhere around 91MHz (500MHz/5.5=90.9MHz). So we go step by step and try out every FSB setting above 87MHz and we were able to run rock stable at 91MHz FSB (i.e. 500MHz Core). With BP6, this gives us roughly another 10% of CPU power (that is over 37% of Intel's specs!) that we can't archive on any other motherboard before. But at 92MHz FSB (506MHz Core Frequency), even at 2.2V VCCCORE, NT started to get a bit shaky, and it will hang when we try to run "CPU Test" in WinTune98. So this confirm the 500MHz limit on older Celeron Processors. Also in SoftMenuII you can set the AGP sideband frequency by taking a 2/3 ratio or 1/1 ratio with FSB frequency to overclock your Video Card.

Another feature that is related with overclocking is via the SoftMenu II you can set VCCCORE for each individual CPU because of two individual dc-dc convertors, once again, no more jumper settings. CPU VCCCORE voltage selection range from 1.30V in 0.05V incerment all the way up to 2.10V, than in 0.10V incerment to 2.30V. OK, enough Overclock talk, and now you can see why BP6 is not only a dual socket 370 motherboard, but it is also the best socket 370 motherboard for overclockers like you.

ABIT BP6 uses Winbond W83782D for hardware monitoring. It is similiar to W83781D uses on Asus's P2B-DS but W83782D with enchanced features like more voltage monitors, four PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) for fan speed control, supports both Intel LDCM and Acer ADM, and Winbond's hardware monitoring application software (Hardware DoctorTM) support. On BP6 there is a thermometers placed in the center of the each Socket 370 and sit under the CPU. Also unlike Asus's P2B-DS, the CMOS fully aware both CPU fan RPM. Even better, BP6 also have a SMBus connector to connect future SMBus capable device to the board.

This boare is sure a winner in may area in our review. Because it is designed for dual celeron in mind and it also packed with the latest features like UDMA/66 and the best overclock features you can find today. I highly recommand this board for power users and for small scale servers.

Board Revsion: 1.0
BIOS Version: 2A69KA1S
Number of DIMM Slot: 3
2X AGP Slot: YES
UDMA/66 interface onboard: Yes
SCSI on Board: No
Number of ISA Slot: 2
Number of PCI Slot: 5
Number of share ISA/PCI slot: 1
68.5MHz Turbo Frequency: Yes (68MHz)

Overall Score: 95

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