Freetech P6F91i Slot-1 i440BX ATXby Elliott Lee Hazen on October 24, 1999 4:38 PM EST
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Just like the P6F107, Freetech allows a jumperless CPU configuration, switching in the BIOS for clock/FSB frequency and CPU multiplier. There are three jumpers on the board: the two standard CMOS reset and for disabling keyboard power on along with a jumper to force 100MHz. In the BIOS, Freetech has reversed the two columns by putting all saving commands on the right. The CPU settings are under "Chipset Features Setup" with settings for clock multiplier and FSB frequency. Those FSB settings are plentiful and include 66 / 68 / 75 / 100 / 103 / 112 / 124 / 133 / 140 / 150. Front side bus speeds above 124 MHz aren't viable because of the frequency at which they put the AGP bus. But for those of you willing to try, we assume settings above 124 are available with a 1/4 PCI multiplier at higher bus speeds, but there is no mention of it in the BIOS or manual. The 100MHz jumper will give access to all settings, with any CPU installed. The rest of the BIOS is the standard Award 4.51PG fare. Also included is the TCAV (Trend Chipaway Virus) which prevents boot viruses from infecting the boot sector but it can get annoying when installing operating systems.
In comparison to the P6107, the P6F91i was a much more stable board, probably due to the higher quality design, the attention to detail, and, in part, to the abundance of nice, large value capacitors. Also, we overclocked the Pentium II 400 to 112 MHz and ran the same benchmarks. The P6F9li was just as stable as the when overclocked considering only four crashes in a twenty-four hour test run.
The P6F91i uses the popular Winbond 83781D for hardware monitoring of both onboard fans, 7 voltages, and up to 3 temperatures. Without adding any temperature sensors, this chip can only monitor one temperature - the temperature of the Winbond chip itself. To allow monitoring of an additional temperature, for example, that of the CPU, the Winbond chip requires external thermistors. There is one included thermistor which is relatively slow reacting and is mounted directly in front the Slot-1 CPU. The thermistor sticks up about a quarter of an inch and reacts to temperature fluctuations within a couple of seconds. Some boards include a header to add other external thermistors but this board did not. To read temperatures under Windows, the included CD features Winbond monitoring software. Of course, a variety of shareware/freeware hardware monitoring utilities are available on the web, such as Motherboard Monitor and Hardware Monitor.
In most of the recent motherboard reviews, power management has consisted of pretty much the same stuff. Both wake on LAN and wake on modem ring headers are options available in the BIOS to allow the system to be powered on remotely by the presence of network activity or by an incoming call. Also, the computer can be ready before you even get into work since the BIOS can be set to turn on the system at a specific time. When the system suspends, the BIOS allows the option of suspending the CPU fan to quiet things down a bit. Added power management is available via ACPI support built into the BIOS as long as the OS is ACPI compliant like Windows 98 or Windows 2000. If you are not fond of your case's power button, the system can be configured to power on via hot key or mouse click. Finally, the Freetech P6F91i supports the ability to configure how the system will respond after a power outage when AC power is restored. After power returns, the system can either remain off (default), turn on, or resume the last power state that the computer was in before the outage. This feature is often overlooked after the market included ATX and soft power, but is critical for any users where their system must be on as close to 24/7 as possible. This also has a more practical use for the everyday consumer because it allows for users to shut the system on and off from a surge protector.