May 1999 Slot-1 BX Motherboard Roundupby Anand Lal Shimpi on May 9, 1999 8:15 PM EST
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The summer is almost upon us and the motherboard industry is slowly winding down to give us all the calm before the 4th quarter storm that will bring the next wave of motherboards to our computers. While a large portion of AnandTech readers have already put together their 300A/BH6 and 500/AX6BC combos, there are still a number of users out there that have yet to set foot in the current BX motherboard market. For them, there is still a world of options to choose from.
A full eight months after AnandTech's last Slot-1 BX motherboard comparison, it's time for another roundup to conclude the reign of the Slot-1 BX platform. AnandTech rounded up a total of 23 single processor Slot-1 BX motherboards that have been reviewed or in the process of being reviewed at AnandTech and managed to level the playing field and crown a couple of winners in the process.
Who came out on top? Let's just say that this time around, there are many more options than the ABIT BH6 which so effortlessly stole the crown from the competition back in September '98. It's time, but let's first start off by looking at what goes into every buying decision when you're considering a single processor Slot-1 BX motherboard.
The Basics: What to look for in a BX board
The basics of what to look for in a BX board haven't really changed all that much since the BX chipset was first released last year. However the basic requirements are still important enough to restate and explain for those of you that happen to be in the market for a new BX motherboard.
Form Factor & Size
There are two standard form factors and three distinct sizes that most mainstream BX motherboards are currently available in. Depending on the case you're looking to buy and the room that case happens to have, your final decision could be greatly influenced by the form factor and size of the motherboard you choose.
By far the most popular form factor Slot-1 BX motherboards are made available in is the ATX specification. If you're building a computer from scratch, it is strongly encouraged that you pursue an ATX configuration simply because it is the most popular and supported form factor standard available today. Unfortunately, one drawback of the ATX specification is that the specification calls for a much more advanced and thus more expensive case/power supply design. Former AT motherboard/case owners will find themselves laughing at the relatively miniscule ATX case $100 can buy in comparison to what $100 worth of an AT case translates in to.
For those of you that currently have larger AT cases and can't bring yourself to part with them, you are severely limiting your choices for a motherboard as there are very few AT form factor BX motherboards on the market today.
The three aforementioned sizes that most BX motherboards are available in applies to both ATX and AT BX boards, with a slight change in the nomenclature. You can represent the three different sizes just as easily as you can represent three different drink sizes, as small, medium, and large. The small being the microATX or baby AT boards, the medium being the standard ATX or standard AT boards, and finally, the large being the full ATX or full AT motherboards.
A large majority of todays slot-1 BX motherboards are available in standard ATX flavors, however a few manufacturers have explored both the microATX and full ATX sizes as an attempt at getting the edge over the competition. A currently weak area in the motherboard industry is in the supply of AT form factor BX motherboards, with a very small percentage of manufacturers bothering to dedicate their time to producing newer AT boards.
The only reason you should pursue an AT BX board is if you have a great deal of money invested in a large AT case (or if you have a particular need for a larger AT case). Otherwise an investment in an AT BX board would be another way of quickly bringing about a curse of obsolescence.