Elitegroup P6BXT-A+ BX Slot-1 & Socket-370by Anand Lal Shimpi on March 23, 1999 10:05 PM EST
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|The first thing you notice about the P6BXT A+ are the unique colors present on the motherboard itself. Elitegroup has taken the next step in achieving full PC99 compliance by color coding the ports on its ATX I/O backplane. Making the serial ports a teal color, the parallel port pink, the PS/2 ports purple, and the audio riser yellow, Elitegroup is able to help beginners find their way around the back of their motherboards with a greater level of ease.|
|The second thing you notice about the P6BXT A+ is its ambiguity as a Socket-370 or a Slot-1 motherboard due to the fact that the board features both a Socket-370 and a Slot-1 CPU interface connector. This is a new feature just now being introduced, the ability to select between either a Socket-370 or Slot-1 interface on the same motherboard. Due to the compatibility of the Socket-370 and Slot-1 P6 bus, it is possible for a motherboard to share both types of CPU interfaces, while allowing only one to be used at a time. The P6BXT A+ is the first motherboard to make its way into the AnandTech testing lab that features both interface connectors.|
The board's BX chipset allows for the 100MHz FSB setting to be made use of for all Slot-1 and Socket-370 100MHz processors, while 66MHz FSB Socket-370 and Slot-1 CPU's will be limited to the old 66 - 83MHz range that was once so popular. Controlling the setup of the board is extremely simple, as it will first, only boot when one of the two CPU sockets is populated. Secondly, the P6BXT A+ is a jumperless solution, as is the trend with most motherboards today, and therefore features a generally bare PCB in terms of the presence of jumpers. The CPU setup is controlled from within the BIOS Features Setup of the Award BIOS, and allows the user to manually set the FSB frequency and the clock multiplier, or select from a pre-defined list of clock speeds/FSB ratios.
The BIOS allows for a number of useful configuration options, one of the most significant being the ability to turn on/off Intel's Processor Serial identification Number. For those of you that aren't aware, the Processor Serial Number is the new CPU serial number present on the Pentium III which caused a great deal of controversy on the Internet. The BIOS is also the first AnandTech has looked at that allows for Intel's PSN to be disabled, this is definitely a step towards completely eliminating the PSN from the processor.
The board itself, aside from its unique set of "abnormalities" as a single processor Slot-1/Socket-370 board, feature a fairly normal 4/2/1 expansion slot interface (PCI/ISA/AGP), as well as three DIMM slots for memory expansion. The trademark orange heatsink is present on the 443BX controller chip which aids in the cooling of the chipset. For a motherboard that wasn't designed with a particular Slot/Socket interface in mind, the Elitegroup P6BXT A+ managed to squeeze almost everything into a reasonably sized area.
The positioning of the HDD/FDD connector ports is ideal, as they are out of the way of all other components on the motherboard due to the larger size of the PCB. The ATX power supply connector is conveniently located next to the right portion of the Slot-1's Universal Retention Mechanism. In order to conserve space, the Slot-1 retention mechanism folds up as to allow for unhindered Socket-370 operation.
The board features an on-board sound controller chip that supposedly boasts "3D audio" support. In AnandTech's tests the quality of the sound was above that of the older ISA Creative Labs solutions that used to find their way onto motherboards, however the newer integrated PCI Creative Labs and ESS Solo1 products seem to be considerably superior in terms of quality. In terms of ease of use, the installation and configuration of the P6BXT A+ and all of its added features was not a difficult ordeal to overcome at all. The bundled drivers/utility CD provided AnandTech with all of the information ready to get started.
The performance of the P6BXT A+ is, as we have all come to expect, on-par with that of the majority of other BX based motherboards available on the market today.