The BIOS is the typical Award 4.51PG Setup, with few changes or additions. Hardware monitoring status is reported under Chipset Features Setup. Power management support is complete with wake on LAN, wake on ring, and wake on alarm support. The system can be powered up from keyboard as well. Specific IRQ's can be assigned to individual slots through the PNP/PCI Configuration in the BIOS. As indicated in the BIOS, PCI slots 4 and 5 share an IRQ - something that is true of most other 5 PCI slot motherboards, but is usually not mentioned anywhere. Full ACPI support is included for improved power management under ACPI compliant OS's like Windows 98 and the upcoming Windows 2000.

For hardware monitoring, the TS-ABX 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. Transcend has included a high quality thermistor mounted directly under the CPU socket. It is raised above the surface of the board so that it should touch the bottom of the CPU's heatsink. Unfortunately, however, so there are no other thermistor headers provided, so that "up to 3 temperatures" is really cut down to just two. No hardware monitoring software was included with the board, but is available for download from Transcend's website. Of course, a variety of shareware/freeware hardware monitoring utilities are available on the web as well.

Speaking of included software, the Transcend CD doesn't include much. It's a generic CD for all their boards and includes manuals and specifications for all of them. The drivers directory seemed to have busmastering drivers for Windows 9x and NT, but the shortcuts pointed to files that were nonexistent. The manual does a pretty good job of covering the board's features, but unfortunately does not include much to help the first time installer.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the Winbond 83781D on the TS-ABX is an older hardware monitoring chip that does not support reading the temperature straight from the CPU's on board thermal diode.

While it is still fairly rare, the ability to adjust CPU voltage is becoming more and more common in the latest motherboard releases. Unfortunately, that does not include the TS-ABX.

There is no way to disable the USB IRQ, which can come in handy in a packed system.

Something missed by many motherboard manufacturers out there is the ability to control the power state of the system when AC power is restored following a power outage. This is an issue with ATX boards since they don't use a physical power switch, bur rather software/BIOS controlled power states. The power switch on an ATX case is nothing more than momentary switch that when temporarily closed, signals the motherboard to turn on, off, or suspend.

Index The Test

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now