Iwill first dazzled AnandTech with their contributions to the Super7 motherboard market, however very few people that are in the market for a motherboard know Iwill for their Slot-1 BX boards. The fact of the matter is that Iwill does happen to have a fairly extensive line of Slot-1 BX as well as dual processor BX motherboards, the Super7 XA100 and XA100Plus just happened to be the more publicized products due to the nature of their release. As with the rest of the motherboard manufacturers, Iwill is trying desperately to come away with some sort of memorable recognition for their latest BX board concoction. The "BX motherboard" has come a long way since the first 10 boards were originally rounded up on AnandTech, mainly driven by competition as well as the desire to offer alternatives to a seemingly ABIT-only overclockers market, let's take a look at what happens when Iwill takes their motherboard design and adds a few nifty features to top it off.
|L2 Cache||N/A (on-chip)|
|Bus Speeds||66 / 75 / 83
100 / 103 / 105 / 110 / 112 / 124
|Clock Multipliers||1.5x - 8.0x|
|Voltages Supported||2.0v/2.1v/2.2v & 2.8v/2.94v/3.08v|
|Memory Slots||4 168pin DIMM Slots|
|Expansion Slots||1 AGP Slot
0 AMR Slot
5 PCI Slots (5 Full Length)
2 ISA Slots (0 Full Length)
|Like the ABIT BX6 Revision 2, the AOpen AX6BC, and the ASUS P2B-F, the Iwill BD100Plus is a second generation model of Iwill's first single processor BX boards, the BD100. The BD100Plus, like the aforementioned competitors, is a symbol of changing times. While the original board did feature the now mainstream 5/2/1 expansion slot configuration (PCI/ISA/AGP) most of the first BX motherboards that hit the streets featured a now outdated 4/3/1 configuration. The BD100Plus does feature the 5/2/1 configuration, coupled with 4 DIMM slots that are placed very close to the 443BX north bridge controller of the BX chipset in order to keep trace lengths short and maintain stability when all 4 DIMM slots are populated. The board is a standard ATX solution, and is laid out in a very familiar manner, ala the ASUS P2B. The 5 PCI slots are all capable of accepting full length cards while the 2 ISA slots are unable to vouch for the same as the front panel IO connectors and a secondary fan connector will prevent full length cards from finding a home in those two slots.|
|The board is relatively plain and run of the mill in comparison to most BX boards, with the life span of the BX chipset nearing its end, don't expect any up and coming BX boards to bring revolutionary new features to the table. The 5/2/1 expansion slot configuration, the built in universal CPU retention kit (the heatsink support that was once a separate part of the motherboard kit), and the 4 DIMM slots make the BD100Plus fit the BX motherboard mold quite well, but what sets it apart from most competing boards?|
As a single processor BX board, the BD100Plus is doomed to a comparison to ABIT's BH6 and BX6 Revision 2, both of which offer jumperless configuration utilities as well as manual CPU voltage selection. In the minds of most tweakers and overclockers, if the board doesn't support those two features, it's not worthy of even the slightest glance. That was general consensus among Celeron 300A owners during the "golden age" of overclocking in 1998 when virtually all 300A's hit that wonderful 450MHz mark, sometimes with a little tweaking of the 2.0v core voltage. Since then, the ability to manually configure the core voltage of the Pentium II/III or Celeron CPU is not as important as the supply of overclockable 300A's has all but died out in supply, however to those users looking to gain a little more control over the stability of their overclocked system, the feature is still a desired one.
Knowing that making another BX board entry into the market without those two buzzword features would be viewed as an essentially futile attempt at competition by a niche of an already niche market, Iwill decided to give the users exactly what they wanted, neat concept eh? As a result, the BD100Plus not only features a jumperless CPU setup which is configurable through Iwill's Jumper Inside utility (sounds very Intel-ish), but it also boasts the ability to raise the core voltage of your CPU by either 5% or 10% depending on the jumper selection. A 5% core voltage increase to a processor running at 2.0v would yield a setting of 2.1v while a 10% increase would yield a 2.2v core voltage setting. On an older 2.8v chip (the first Pentium II processors ran at 2.8v), the 5% and 10% boost will take the core up to 2.94v and 3.08v respectively. For overclockers that can't seem to get a stable system, this little boost may be just what the doctor ordered, however if you're not an overclocker, consider this feature just about as useful as the ability to raise the I/O voltage supplied to the motherboard to 3.6v and 3.8v, a feature also provided for by the BD100Plus.
The jumperless setup of the BD100Plus allows for control over the unique clock generator on the BD100Plus. The reason for the description "unique" being that the clock generator supports the 66/75/83/100/105/110/112/124/133MHz range of FSB settings. The 105 and 110MHz settings are the unique ones, mainly for those overclockers that either don't want to push the limits of their system with the 112/124MHz settings or have one or more peripherals that aren't too friendly at the higher FSB frequencies. By default, the jumperless setup provides for clock multipliers up to 8.0x, however should the need arise for support for clock multipliers > 8.0x a simple BIOS flash should do the trick.
Although it's advertised as an "AGP Booster" feature, the function of JP11 on the BD100Plus is no more than to control the clock divider for the AGP bus. Leaving the jumper at its default setting results in an auto selection of the AGP clock ratio as a function of the FSB frequency, however by capping either the first two or the last two pins of the 3 pin jumper you can set the clock to be the same speed as the FSB frequency (1:1 ratio) or at 2/3 of the FSB frequency (2:3 ratio). This is no unique feature as it is provided for by the ABIT BH6 and the BX6 Revision 2, however in no way is it an "AGP Booster" other than the fact that it essentially overclocks the AGP bus. Running your AGP card at a frequency greater than its 66MHz specification doesn't really yield all that much of an increase in performance, at 100MHz most of today's AGP accelerators tend to fail upon start up. Your best bet is to keep the setting to auto, however if you're a tweaker there's no stopping you from experimenting.