FIC PA-2010+ VP1 Socket-7 Boardby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 26, 1997 8:00 PM EST
- Posted in
|Socket Style:||Socket 7|
|Form Factor:||ATX (w/ AT & ATX P/S Connectors)|
|BUS Speeds:||50 / 55 / 60 / 66 / 75 / 83 MHz|
|Clock Multipliers:||1.5x / 2.0x / 2.5x / 3.0x / 3.5x|
|Voltages Supported:||2.8v / 2.9v / 3.2v / 3.3v / 3.52v|
|RAM Slots:||4 72pin SIMM
2 168pin DIMM Slots (SDRAM/EDO/FPM)
|PCI/ISA Slots:||4 PCI Slots
4 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 4 Full Length)
|BIOS:||AWARD PnP BIOS|
|PCI EIDE Controller:||Super I/O
2 EIDE Channels
1 FDD Channel
2 Serial /1 EPP
With Intel as controlling and powerful as they are who would've thought that another company could develop a chipset that could compete with their HX or VX chipsets. Actually it is quite easy to compete with those chipsets, you just simply have to exploit their weaknesses. VIA Technologies saw this opportunity and pushed production to the max, the result? The VIA 580VP chipset, although reminiscent of the Intel HX chipset has many more advantages than its competitors. It is this chipset which powers the FIC PA-2010+, and it is this chipset which sets it apart from the rest of the pack. First I should address the topic of compatibility, you might expect the PA-2010+ to be horrible when dealing with compatibility simply because its not using an "Intel" chipset, wrong. I had no problems what-so-ever with the PA-2010+, the setup was a breeze and configuring the bus mastering drivers required no extra effort. Just use the standard Win95 drivers and everything works out perfectly, no messy add-on drivers to work with and no incompatibility problems. Expansion is pretty much standard on the PA-2010+, its ATX form factor allows for all 4 PCI and 4 ISA slots to accommodate full length cards. The 4 SIMM and 2 DIMM memory slots make taking advantage of the 580VP chipset's 512MB cacheable memory encouraging. The only thing missing from the PA-2010+'s amazing configuration is a 1MB of L2 cache which can be found in the FIC PA-2007. I mentioned earlier that I didn't expect this motherboard to do too much, however it amazed me with its superb stability. I took the K6 233 up to 250 and 262.5 flawlessly without any tweaking of the BIOS Settings, I believe I can take the K6 up to 290.5MHz on this board if I try a little harder. The Pentium MMX went up to 290.5 without a hitch, I did however have to increase the core voltage to 3.2v to do this (it can be done at 2.8v with the Megatrends HX83). The PA-2010+ is an excellent example of a motherboard that comes as close to crash-proof as physically possible. If FIC used some larger Sanyo Capacitors they might've been able to squeeze even more stability out of the PA-2010+.
In spite of its rock hard stability, the PA-2010+ turned out to be the slowest Socket-7 board I have tested so far. I must give it credit though, it is a very well designed board, just not up to par with some of the other excellent products I've tested. The highest Business Winstone I could achieve with the PA-2010+ was a meager 54.0 with the AMD K6 running at 250MHz! The video performance of the PA-2010+ is also quite disappointing, no where near some of its competitors.
Allows user to set IRQ assignment sequence
Allows user to individually set IRQs for each Legacy ISA card
Allows user to reserve IRQ/DMA Channels if necessary
Auto-detects PnP Cards after HDD Detection
Here are my Recommended BIOS Settings for those of you who have been having problems with the PA-2010+ and higher bus speeds, I'm not sure why though since it was very stable when I tested it. Below are my recommended settings for bus speeds < 66MHz, and 75MHz. If you are using Non-EDO RAM, then use the settings the in the 2nd (Non - EDO) column, if you are using SDRAM/EDO RAM with a 50/60/66MHz bus speed use the 3rd (66MHz Setting) column. The next column should be used if you are using the 75/83MHz bus speeds and EDO/SDRAM. Finally, if you are looking for the safest and most stable setting, use the last column.
|FIC PA-2010+ Chipset Features Setup|
|Item||Non - EDO||66MHz Setting||75/83MHz Setting||Safe Setting|
|Video BIOS Cacheable:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|System BIOS Cacheable:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|Memory Hole At 15M - 16M:||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled|
|2 Bank PBSRAM:||3-1-1-1||2-1-1-1||2-1-1-1||3-1-1-1|
|Sustained 3T Write:||Disabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|DRAM Auto Configuration:||Enabled||Disabled||Disabled||Enabled|
|DRAM Timing Control:||Normal||Turbo||Normal||Normal|
|SDRAM Cycle Length:||2||2||2||2|
|SDRAM Bank Interleave:||2 Bank||2 Bank||2 Bank||Disabled|
|CPU to PCI Write Buffer:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|PCI Dynamic Bursting:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|PCI Master 0 WS Write:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|Quick Frame Generation:||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
This little addition to my review layout was put in here just so you all can have an idea of what brand of SDRAM I recommend and have tested with the board, just to avoid problems in the future if you decide to purchase the board.
Recommended SDRAM: Advanced Megatrends SDRAM
SDRAM Tested: 2 x 32MB Advanced Megatrends SDRAM DIMMs
Manufacturer: Advanced Megatrends
Purchase Web-Site: http://www.megacom.com
In recent times, choosing a motherboard cannot be completely determined by a Winstone score. Now, many boards come within one Winstone point of each other and therefore the need to benchmark boards against each other falls. Therefore you shouldn't base your decision entirely on the benchmarks you see here, but also on the technical features and advantages of this particular board, seeing as that will probably make the greatest difference in your overall experience.
|Processor(s):||AMD K6-233 ANR & Intel Pentium MMX - 233|
|RAM:||2 - 32MB Advanced Megatrends SDRAM DIMMs|
|Hard Drive(s):||Western Digital Caviar AC21600H|
|Video Card:||Matrox Millennium (2MB WRAM)|
|Busmaster EIDE Drivers:||Intel v3.01|
|Video Card Drivers:||MGA Millennium 4.03.00.3410|
|OS:||Windows 95 Service Release 2|
Windows 95 Performance of the FIC PA-2010+
|CPU||Business Winstone 97|
|Intel Pentium MMX - 200||46.0|
|Intel Pentium MMX - 208||48.9|
|Intel Pentium MMX - 225||48.6|
|Intel Pentium MMX - 233||48.6|
|Intel Pentium MMX - 290.5||52.5|
Well, the benchmarks are a little disappointing actually, very disappointing, but its the price you pay for stability I guess.
The PA-2010+ is a very stable board, nicely designed, and has a great set of features to boast. This board is definitely not for the average speed freak, slow and steady characterizes the PA-2010+ pretty well.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
dolantj - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - linkthey've gone about as far as they can go . . .