by Anand Lal Shimpi on August 21, 1997 2:17 PM EST
With the success of their original two TX motherboards the AX5 and the PX5, ABIT decided to improve on their current record by adding two more accomplishments to their ever expanding list, they titled the two the TX5 and TX5N. The ABIT TX5N is essentially a TX5, however it gives the user the un-ABIT like power of configuring their CPU without the use of ABIT's SoftMenu technology!

Motherboard Specifications

Socket Style: Socket 7
Chipset: i82430TX
Cache: 512KB
Form Factor: AT (w/ AT & ATX PS Connectors)
BUS Speeds: 50 / 55 / 60 / 66 / 68 / 75 / 83 MHz
Clock Multipliers: 1.5x / 2.0x / 2.5x / 3.0x / 3.5x / 4.0x / 4.5x
Voltages Supported: 2.5 / 2.7 / 2.8 / 2.9 / 3.2 / 3.38 / 3.5
RAM Slots: 4 72pin SIMM Slots (EDO/FPM)
2 168pin DIMM Slots (EDO/FPM/SDRAM)
PCI/ISA Slots: 4 PCI Slots
3 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 2 Full Length)
PCI EIDE Controller: Super I/O
2 EIDE Channels
1 FDD Channel
2 Serial /1 EPP

The Good

It seems like the world as a whole is going through this fad of living, feeling and being "healthy". We see it on TV everyday, we hear it on the radio, and finally we are beginning to see it in our computers! It was bound to happen, we all experience health problems at some time in our lives, and mimicking their users, so do our computers. Eventually the inevitable happened, our motherboards began performing more functions than they were originally designed to do, the "healthy PC" was born. Big names in the industry like ASUS quickly jumped on the healthy PC bandwagon by including features such as voltage monitoring, thermal status indicators and other such features with their already excellent motherboards. In order to keep up their competitive nature, ABIT hopped on the train with their latest incarnations, the TX5 and TX5N.

The TX5N's sales pitch doesn't start out by stating that its a jumperless motherboard, simply because, well, it isn't! For once, ABIT has given the user the option of choosing to go with all the quality, reliability and performance of an ABIT motherboard with or without a side order of the SoftMenu jumperless configuration. However ABIT simply couldn't make the setup and ease of use of the TX5N a pain, that's just not their "style". In order to make the initial configuration of the TX5N as easy as possible ABIT chose to use two sets of DIP switches (8-individual switches in each set) which are much easier to configure on the fly than individual Jumpers scattered all over the place. The manual, classic of all newer ABIT boards, is truly a force to be reckoned with when competing against the TX5N. The excellent and beautifully designed manual is perfect for those building a PC for the first time, and even if you're a novice you'll find that the written documentation of any ABIT board is well above average. The manual includes such features as System Block Diagrams, Layout Diagrams, as well as a small tutorial on how to install the motherboard. All of these are components which can be found in most motherboard manuals, however ABIT takes their explanations to a new level of detail and accuracy. Ever get confused with which pin you have to plug in first when connected LED indicators? If so then ABIT's manual is your long lost friend =)

The layout of the TX5N is more than decent, for an AT motherboard that is. The footprint of the board is noticeably larger than that of the PX5 therefore making it a better fit for most cases, including ATX cases, support which is made possible by the ATX power connector located on the motherboard in addition to the standard AT connector. Unlike the PX5, the TX5N features a full set of 4 SIMM slots and 2 DIMM slots while keeping the 4 PCI and 3 ISA slots free from most obstructions. Around the three voltage regulators which are located parallel to the Socket-7 IC are 14 mid-sized capacitors which are most of the 16 total located on the board which explain its awesome stability. Without raising the core voltage from 2.8~2.9v the TX5N allowed me to overclock the Pentium MMX 233 all the way up to 290.5MHz without a problem and without raising the core voltage from 3.2~3.3v it allowed me to take the AMD K6 233 up to 250 without a hitch, something which can be quite tricky to do on most motherboards.

The performance of the TX5N is comparable to that of its big brother, the AX5, in all aspects the TX5N is a very stable motherboard and quite fast. It produced some of the absolute highest overclocked Winstone scores ever seen on this site. And unlike the AX5, I didn't experience any problems AT ALL running the system at the 83MHz bus speed with any SDRAM I threw at it, regardless of the BIOS timings.

The Bad

The TX5N isn't a problematic motherboard, in fact the only flaw I could find was the fact that it is only available in an AT form factor. I wonder if ABIT will make another ATX successor to the AX5...The TX5 on the other hand suffers from an instability problem at the 83.3MHz bus speed setting, other than that it is identical to the TX5N except it features the jumperless SoftMenu CPU setup that made ABIT famous, unfortunately you sacrifice stability at the 83.3MHz bus speed as a result of that.

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  • vortmax2 - Friday, April 15, 2022 - link

    Quite the writeup for a 14 year old and clearly why Anandtech was so successful! Great job Anand & team.

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