ABIT BP6 440BX Dual Celeron MotherboardSpecifications/features, first impressions, the package.
ABIT has always been a pioneer in their industry. Well, this time they have done it again. The are first ones to introduce a dual Socket-370 motherboard. This means this motherboard will accept two Intel Celeron processors, since Intel is currently the only company manufacturing processors in Socket-370 form. Cyrix is also supposed to jump on the bandwagon, if they don't go bankrupt that is. But that's another story.
Socket 370 is also known as PPGA. So what's all this hoopla about? Dual processors. Big deal! Well, if you consider the fact that the Celeron is the processor with the best price/performance ratio, and also the fact that the Celeron processors are known for their excellent overclocking capabilities, then there is a lot to get excited about. Imagine having the performance of dual Pentium II/III rig for dirt cheap. If this motherboard stands up to the challenge, then ABIT has a clear winner on their hands. That is, if Intel doesn't ruin the party by disabling SMP (Dual Processor) support on their Celerons. But that's rumors for now.
Let's get this party started:
CPU Support: Dual Socket-370 (PPGA) Chipset: Intel i440 BX Memory; 3 168-Pin DIMMs, Max Mem 768 MB L2 Cache: On-Chip(s) (128K) Form Factor: ATX Expansion Slots: 1 AGP, 5 PCI, 2 ISA Bus Speeds Supported: 66, 75, 83, 100, 105, 110, 112, 115, 120, 124, 133, 140, 150 Multipliers Supported: 2x-8x BIOS: Award
Besides the oh so cool dual processor board, the above specs mimic the ones from the ABIT BX6. From my understanding the BP6 uses the exact same PCB the BX6 uses, so its footprint should be identical. Installing it in a Mid tower Enlight ATX case didn't present me with any issues whatsoever. The motherboard also includes the two ATA-66 IDE connectors in addition to the two regular ATA-33 connectors. The package includes an 80-pin ATA-66 cable just in case you are SOL when you get your new cool ATA-66 hard drive. The two additional ATA-66 connectors of course give you the capability to add two more IDE hard drives for a total of eight. By the way, the two ATA-66 connectors are backwards compatible with the ATA-33 standard.
I was disappointed when I didn't see the cool thermistor cable that was included with the BE6. You see the BP6 BIOS menu includes temperature readings for EACH processor as well as system temperature. Very nice, but kinda makes me wonder how accurate the CPU temperature readings are. Maybe, I'll get bored and find out. Still it would had been nice if that thermistor capability was included on top of the CPU temp readings.
The book included with this motherboard is as usual top notch. Excellent documentation detailing everything you ever want to know about the motherboard. While most manufacturers send you a pamphlet with their motherboards, ABIT takes the time to include an excellent source of information. That has always been one of the strong points with ABIT motherboards.
Having a dual processor system is very cool. Besides making you more friends in the neighborhood, it's also supposed to help you accomplish your work faster. Two processors, means double performance right? WRONG! I wish that was the case, but unfortunately it's not. You will get more performance, but not double. We'll get to how much in just a minute.
In order to use the dual processor capability, you must
have an operating system that takes advantage of that. Windows 98 does NOT. So,
if you are a primarily a Windows 98 user and don't care to learn another
operating system, this motherboard would not be for you. On the other hand, if
you use Windows NT or Linux, then it would be no problem. Windows NT and Linux,
do have support for SMP configurations. Upcoming Windows 2000 (NT 5.0), will
also have SMP support.