After AnandTech's in depth VIA Apollo Pro 133/133A round-up, we decided to review some of the competitors in detail. Elitegroup, also known as ECS, has been producing motherboards since 1987. They have produced a variety of motherboards, including 4 different Socket-370 Apollo Pro solutions including the Micro-ATX P6BAP-Me and the ATX P6BAP-A+.

As with most motherboard manufacturers, ECS has manufactured similar Apollo Pro 133 and Apollo Pro 133A boards, one of each a microATX, and one of each as ATX form factor. The ECS P6BAP-Me and the P6BAP-A+ were in the middle of the pack in terms of performance in the VIA Apollo Pro 133/133A round-up, so here is a more in-depth review of their Apollo Pro 133 motherboards.


 

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface
Socket-370
Chipset
Apollo Pro 133
VIA 693A North Bridge
VIA 596B South Bridge
L2 Cache
N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor
micro-ATX
Bus Speeds

66 / 75 / 83
100 / 124 / 133 / 140 / 150

Clock Multipliers
2.0x - 8.0x
Voltages Supported
1.30-3.5v (0.5V increments)
Memory Slots
3 168-pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots
0 AMR Slots
1 AGP Slot
3 PCI Slots (1 Full Length)-P6BAP-Me
1 ISA Slots (1 Full Length)-P6BAP-Me
4 PCI Slots (0 Full Length)-P6BAP-A+
2 ISA Slots (2 Full Length)-P6BAP-A+
Onboard Audio
C-Media CMI8738
BIOS
Award 4.51PG

The Good


Click to enlarge the P6BAP-Me

Both Elitegroup motherboards have relatively standard layouts except for the somewhat larger size of the P6BAP-A+ and the square shape of the P6BAP-Me. The P6BAP-A+ includes a 4/2/1/0 PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR) slot configuration and has two full length ISA slots but no full length PCI slots.

The P6BAP-Me, the microATX board includes a 3/2/1/0 (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR) slot configuration. Only one of the PCI and one of the ISA slots support a full length card on the P6BAP-Me.

Even though more manufacturers have been including it on every board, ECS did not include an AMR slot because the 596B South Bridge does not support it. Both of the motherboards has only 3 DIMM slots limiting the RAM to 768 MB. However, this should be plenty for most users except those wanting to do high tech graphics or video editing.

The ATX spec is followed closely on both boards and almost every cable is placed to minimize clutter. The floppy drive and the HDD connectors are located where they should be, right at the front of the board. The power connector is placed behind the memory and the chip which makes it necessary to stretch the cable across the board adding to clutter.

There are a total of nineteen 1000uF capacitors and a few smaller capacitors around ECS's ATX motherboard. Twelve are located immediately around the CPU slot, three are placed around the DIMM slots and two are among the PCI slots. The P6BAP-Me has only 16 1000 uF capacitors scattered around the board. The popular green heatsink is replaced with an orange ECS stamped heatsink mounted via spring clips onto VIA's 693A chipset.

The North Bridge included is the VIA VT82C693A, which handles AGP and CPU interactions. It supports a 1/2 AGP clock divider, running the FSB at 133MHz as well as allowing the memory bus to run at either the FSB frequency, FSB - 33MHz or FSB + 33MHz. Now with VIA's 694X allowing for 4x AGP support instead of 2x, the 693A is rather outdated. The Mobile South Bridge VT82C596B chip, which allows for UDMA 33/66 support on both IDE channels, is located in front of the PCI slots. While some motherboards are now including the highly integrated 686A South Bridge, ECS opted for the 596B. The 686A cuts manufacturing costs by integrating an I/O controller, an ISA bridge, hardware monitoring functions, support for four USB ports along with the usual South Bridge functions all in a single chip.

More Good
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  • Anonymous User - Saturday, October 11, 2003 - link

    The BIOS won't support hard drives greaterthan 32G. Is there a BIOS upgrade for bigger drives? Reply

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