When AMD announced that they were looking for a candidate for the "official" Super7 Chipset (Socket-7 + AGP + 100MHz Frontside Bus) the market never expected Acer Labs (ALi) to be a viable candidate.  Originally best known for their low cost Aladdin IV chipset found in most PC Chips motherboards, ALi was never much of a contender in the Chipset Industry taking a back seat to the duel of Intel and VIA.  For once, the Socket-7 Chipset Market is the platform for a 4-way war of chipsets between Intel's 430TX, VIA's VP3 (and MVP3), SiS' 5591, and now, ALi's Aladdin V.  What makes the Aladdin V so special?  Quite a few things.

First of all, the Aladdin V meets all of the requirements to be a Super7 chipset, it supports the Accelerated Graphics Port, all current Socket-7 processors including AMD's upcoming K6-3D, and, the most sought after feature in a Socket-7 chipset, support for a 100MHz Frontside Bus.  A combination of meeting these requirements, the extremely large cacheable memory area of the chipset, and a feature-set that puts Intel's TX Chipset to shame makes the Aladdin V chipset appear to be the king of the Socket-7 arena...or at least a contender for the throne.

The Aladdin V, in theory can accept up to 1GB of RAM, all cacheable.  Doing so would put outstanding amounts of stress on the Bus, especially when using the 100MHz bus speed, so expect Aladdin V motherboards to feature no more than 3 DIMM slots.  One of the most important features the Aladdin V chipset boasts is the internal L2 cache the chipset features, more specifically the M1541 chip has an integrated 16K x 10-bit Tag RAM as well as 16K x 2 L2 cache SRAM, both of which decrease cost and increase performance somewhat.  The most important reason for including the Tag RAM on chip is to make using the 100MHz bus speed possible.  The 100MHz Bus Frequency puts a heavy strain on the L2 cache, and tests have shown that without fast L2 cache & a capable Tag RAM chip (6ns or faster) the 100MHz bus speed has the potential to become quite erratic.  By placing the Tag RAM on the chipset ALi  eliminates the possibility of the L2 cache or chipset as being the limiting factor in making use of the 100MHz bus speed.  Leaving your CPU, and Memory since the Aladdin V supports a Pseudo Synchronous PCI/AGP Bus to keep the PCI bus speed at or around the 33MHz marker, and the AGP bus at or around the 66MHz point.  

The deep buffers between the CPU and DRAM interfaces should keep performance of the Aladdin V on par with or above that of all Socket-7 motherboards based on Intel chipsets, using the 100MHz bus speed the Aladdin V should be able to remove the Intel TX chipset from the picture as a possible competitor when dealing with performance.

UltraDMA, PC97 Compliance, and Advanced Power Management support are among the now standard features that ALi brings to the table with their Aladdin V, making it a very promising chipset...shortly you'll begin to see the first Aladdin V motherboards make their way into the mainstream market, then we can truly decide whether or not this chipset lives up to the hype.

 

ALi Aladdin V Chipset
Common Name Aladdin V
Chipset Packaging Number of chips 2 (M1541 & M1543)
Packaging Type 1 x 456-pin BGA (M1541), 1 x 328-pin BGA (M1543)
CPU Support Number of CPUs 1
AMD CPUs Supported K5, K6, K6-3D
Cyrix CPUs Supported 6x86 (M1), 6x86MX (M2)
Intel CPUs Supported Pentium, Pentium MMX
Cache Type Synchronous Pipeline Burst Cache
Maximum Supported Size 1024KB
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area 512MB (10-bit Tag RAM - 512KB L2)
1GB (256KB L2)
Memory Maximum DRAM Supported 1GB (8 RAS Lines)
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 5-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 5-3-3-3
SDRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 3-1-1-1
Data Path to Memory 64-bits
ECC Support Yes
Hard Disk Controller Chip M1543
Busmastering Support Yes
UltraDMA Support Yes
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate PIO Mode 5/DMA Mode 3 (33.3MB/S)
PCI Interface Supported PCI Bus Speeds 25, 30, 33 MHz
Concurrent PCI Yes
Async. PCI Bus Speed Yes (Pseudo Synchronous)
PCI Specification 2.1 (66 MHz max.)
Power Management PC97 Compliance Yes
Suspend to Disk Yes
HDD Power Down Yes
Modem Wakeup Yes
System Suspend Yes
Video AGP Support Yes
Unified Memory Architecture No
Peripheral Support USB Support Yes
Plug and Play Port Yes
Write Buffers CPU-to-DRAM 32 QWords
CPU-to-PCI 6 DWords
PCI-to-DRAM 48 DWords
Officially Supported Bus Speeds 50, 60, 66, 75, 83, 100 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds Unknown
ALi Aladdin IV Intel 430FX
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  • vortmax2 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    The good ole' days when you could put multiple vendor CPUs into the same motherboard. So simple... Reply
  • PentiumGeek - Thursday, September 01, 2016 - link

    This motherboard was on my 1st PC. I was very disappointed when faced with the problem that DIMM and SIMM memory can't work in the same time. I used Pentium 100Mhz CPU on this motherboard :) Reply
  • Amadeus777999 - Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - link

    Got an ASUS P2L97 board yesterday and I'm reading through this while DoomII is benchmarking. Good times. Reply

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