VIA Apollo Pro 133/133A Motherboard Roundup - February 2000by Anand Lal Shimpi on February 28, 2000 1:13 AM EST
- Posted in
VIA Apollo 133
VIA 693A North Bridge
VIA 686A South Bridge
66 / 75 / 83
100 / 105 / 110 / 112 / 115 / 120 / 124 133 / 140 / 150
1.50v - 1.80v (in 0.05v increments)
3 168-pin DIMM Slots
0 AMR Slots
1 AGP Slot
5 PCI Slots (5 Full Length)
2 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 1 Full Length)
AWARD BIOS 4.60PG
ABIT’s VA6 was one of the more highly anticipated motherboards in this roundup, but our experience with the board was tainted as we received a bad test sample.
Unfortunately, we weren’t an isolated case, quite a few users have actually purchased bad boards like the one we were sent for review. It is one thing for a manufacturer to send us a bad motherboard for review, but it’s another to see people spending their hard earned money on a bad product. Luckily, there have been increasing cases of users satisfied with their VA6 boards, indicating that ABIT has corrected the issues present in the batch of boards that were sub-par in terms of quality. At the same time, unless all the bad boards have been recalled by ABIT, there is still a chance that you could end up with a bad VA6.
Assuming that you do end up with a good VA6, what benefits does the VA6 offer over the competition? Actually very little, which is odd considering that ABIT has usually been known to throw in a few features that the rest of the market hadn’t thought of.
The VA6 does offer ABIT’s fully jumperless SoftMenu setup, but, unfortunately, it’s not the same SoftMenu III jumperless setup that we’ve seen on their latest BX boards such as the BF6.
While reviewing the VA6 we came up with the theory that the VA6 was little more than a BH6 modified for use with the Apollo Pro 133 chipset, especially since the layout was virtually identical to the old BH6 and ABIT opted to go with the 693A North Bridge which is pin compatible with the BH6’s 443BX North Bridge allowing ABIT to simply drop in the 693A into the BH6 design with minimal effort to produce the VA6.
Luckily, ABIT made the smart decision of using the 686A South Bridge; the only thing that doesn’t make sense is that they’re using the older 693A North Bridge. ABIT has told us that they will be releasing a new board based on the 694X based on a new motherboard design, but that will not be in the immediate future.
Until ABIT’s next solution hits the streets, there’s no real reason to consider ABIT as a contender for the top 133/133A spot since there some clearly superior solutions out there.