The stability of the 6IBA in non-overclocked situations was much improved over Gainward's 6IZB, although still slightly below the average i440BX board. Overclocked stability was also somewhat below average. Performance improved greatly to bring it to the average i440BX level. The 6IBA is nothing to write home about, but at least Gainward has brought themselves that much closer to other manufacturers' boards.
For hardware monitoring, the 6IBA uses the extremely popular Winbond 83781D to monitor both onboard fans, 7 voltages, and up to 3 temperatures. The reason for "up to 3 temperatures" is that the Winbond hardware monitor can only monitor one temperature on its own - the temperature of the Winbond chip itself. In order to monitor the other two temperatures, such as that of the CPU, the Winbond chip requires an external thermistor. Unlike most other manufacturers using the Winbond monitoring chip, Gainward has included a convenient clip on thermistor for mounting to the CPU. Unfortunately, however, only one thermistor header is provided, so that "up to 3 temperatures" is really cut down to just two. Winbond's own hardware monitoring software is included to report these values in Windows 9X and NT and a variety of freeware/shareware programs are available on the internet for doing the same.
The BIOS also suggests some minimal performance enhancing settings such as a recommendation to select CAS 2 upon boot. Hardware monitoring information is provided in the BIOS as well. The system can be powered on by not only the regular power button, but also a password, hot key, or mouse button. Otherwise, the BIOS is pretty much the generic Award BIOS.
Power management consists of pretty much the standard stuff these days. A wake on LAN header is available to allow the system to power on in the presence of network activity. The BIOS can be set to turn on the system at a specific time. The CPU fan can be shut off when the system suspends to quiet things down a bit. ACPI support is not included despite its usefulness under an ACPI compliant OS like Windows 98 or Windows 2000.
The manual is not very useful for the first time system builder with little information on how to install the actual board. It covers two different boards, but fortunately they only vary in the chipset used, so this is not a major compromise. The included CD features Winbond hardware monitoring software and a few other small utilities.