Iwill WS133-N i810E Slot-1 ATXby Elliott Lee Hazen on February 12, 2000 1:00 AM EST
- Posted in
While Iwill has been around since 1989, they first made themselves known with their innovations in the Super7 motherboard market and, more recently, their Slocket II adapter. However, they have produced a rather extensive range of I/O adapters, i440BX boards, and even a few dual processor motherboards. The WS133-N is the newest Iwill motherboard to trickle into the AnandTech labs.
Along with the WS133-N, Iwill has also produced the same motherboard without built-in networking, the WS133 and a Socket-370 board, the WS133-S.
New Anand Tech Report Card Rating 92/A
/ 70 / 75 / 83
2.0x - 8.0x
Autodetect, +5% and +10%
3 168pin DIMM Slots
1 AMR Slots
0 AGP Slot
6 PCI Slots (4 Full Length)
0 ISA Slots
Award BIOS 6.00 PG
Iwill's WS133-N fits the ATX form factor and includes some options that make the board appear different from other i810E motherboards. The WS133-N is equipped with a 6/1/0 (PCI/AMR/AGP) expansion slot configuration. Instead of the usual two DIMM slots, Iwill included three. Because the i810E supports only 4 addressable rows of memory, which normally translates into two DIMM slots, the third DIMM might seem superfluous. The argument for the extra slot is that it allows the installation of one double sided DIMM along with two single-sided DIMMs. While this addition seems useful to some and unwarranted to others, it is important to note that once the i810E becomes more antiquated, the third DIMM slot could cause headaches for techs that are not familiar with the chipset. Two of the six PCI slots are blocked by both front panel connectors and a fan connector leaving room for four full length cards. While not included on this board, the optional PTI header can be found between the PCI slots and the AMR slot -- it would allow the addition of Iwill's Digital Flat Panel Riser or TV-Out Riser cards.
Almost all of the components were placed to minimize cable clutter -- all hard drive and floppy connectors are optimally located at the front of the board, so that no cables are forced to run over either the CPU or the memory. However, Iwill chose to place the ATX power connector at the back of the board, immediately behind the CPU slot. The added clutter the power cable running over the CPU and memory reduces airflow through the case. As mentioned in many motherboard reviews, this is not a dire problem, but it is very rare to see a manufacturer concerned with making the lives of computer technicians easier. The standard colored connectors are included on the backpanel in accordance with PC99 specifications.
The WS133-N sports an optional Realtek RTL8139 10/100 BaseT ethernet adapter with the ethernet port placed above the USB ports. The driver CD offered a plethora of options for LAN support across OS's including multiple Novell Netware drivers, OS2 drivers, UNIX, LINUX and even Microsoft 2000 drivers. It performed soundly under typical network usage. On a motherboard that includes onboard sound and video, an onboard LAN adapter seems especially advantageous. To add to the generous options, Iwill included a rear plate for the case that leaves room for the LAN connector. If the ethernet needs to be disabled, there is a jumper placed immediately next to the chip. Also, a second expansion slot mounted serial port is included in order to allow multiple serial devices.
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Iwill's i810E is fitted with Intel's 82801E GMCH as well as the 82801 ICH. As with the older i810 chipset, the 82801 ICH allows full Ultra DMA/66 support, but the 82810E GMCH has an added advantage over i810 boards -- the usual 4MB of display cache now runs at 133MHz instead of 100MHz. The two 2MB Elite MT SDRAM chips are rated at 7ns or 143MHz, plenty for the 133MHz i810E and gives some leeway in overclocking situations. Since the GMCH runs rather cool, Iwill chose not to place a heatsink atop the chip. The advantage of the i810E with on-board video and sound can be a double edged sword -- this board is not ideal for any user that desires peak graphical performance or maximum CPU power. The included Audio Devices 1881 AC97 CODEC is sufficient for basic audio, but it utilizes the CPU for processing power. Even when listening to Windows start up for the first time, the tinniness of the sound is an extreme turn off to any audiophile. If needed, the CODEC can be disabled by jumper 13 allowing the addition of a PCI soundcard preserving CPU power and a PCI video card can be substituted for the integrated video.