FIC CE31-A SiS 620 Socket-370 microATXby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 25, 1999 2:31 PM EST
- Posted in
FIC's AMI BIOS setup provides the sole configuration options for the CE31-A, meaning that the board itself is completely jumperless, a trend that was first started by ABIT/QDI during the late Socket-7 days. The BIOS allows for FSB settings ranging from 66MHz to 100MHz. FIC provides the 620 with the latest copy of their FIC CD-Pro drivers/utility CD-ROM, which contains just about every single driver you could possibly want, not only for the CE31-A but for all other motherboards. It has even become a widely used tool in the AnandTech testing labs since it contains the latest AGP, IDE, and Sound drivers for the most popular motherboards.
The pre-release CE31-A that was shipped to AnandTech did not come with a User's Manual, however upon its release it will ship with no less than the standard FIC user's manual, definitely above average in terms of content, however still shy of the same excellence carried by the ABIT/AOpen/Tyan manuals.
The performance of the SiS 620 based CE31-A is greater than you would expect from a non-Intel chipset based motherboard, and the absence of any AGP slot prevents any video compatibility issues that have been known to plague non-Intel AGP chipsets since the start. The stability of the CE31-A isn't worthy of an award, however it's great enough to constitute an average recommendation. Don't expect to be able to run a highly trafficked server off of the CE31-A anytime soon though...
The main problems AnandTech encountered with the CE31-A deal with its design. First of all, the 3 PCI slots begin to infringe on the expandability the CE31-A should have had. The CE31-A continues the trend of making the words poor expansion and low-cost synonymous, something other motherboard manufacturers are fighting against.
While the 100MHz FSB setting is optional on the CE31-A, the motherboard prevents access to any FSB settings greater than 95MHz unless you happen to be running a 100MHz FSB Celeron, something that won't be in existence for at least a few more months. This prevents owners of overclockable 300A's from ever hitting 450MHz, although the 95MHz FSB setting does come in handy for those that can't seem to hit 450MHz reliably.
The driver support for the SiS 620 chipset is amazing, as SiS even has a Windows 2000 driver on their home page - www.sis.com.tw - unfortunately the lack of an OpenGL ICD will keep the CE31-A out of the hands of gamers. So those gamers on a budget will have to continue to look to other solutions to have fun.
Number of Front Universal Serial Bus Root Ports: 0
Number of Rear Universal Serial Bus Root Ports: 2
USB IRQ Enable/Disable in BIOS: Yes
USB Keyboard Support in BIOS: Yes
Recommended SDRAM: Mushkin SEC -GH PC100
SDRAM; Memory Man SEC -GH PC100 SDRAM
SDRAM Tested: 1 x 64MB Mushkin PC100 SDRAM; 1 x 64MB Memory-Man PC100 SDRAM; 1 x 256MB Corsair PC100 SDRAM DIMM (for compatibility testing only)
Manufacturer: The Memory Man
Purchase Web-Site: http://www.memory-man.com
Purchase Web-Site: http://www.mushkin.com