The Red Fox
AGP ALi carries a different warm green look to it. A nice change from the
regular amber / olive green colour of most boards today. Being an AT based form
factor, I expected the usual hassle of having a jungle of cables winding around
each other. And I was right to a limited extent. All of the cable connectors
such as the AT/ATX power, hard disk, floppy disk, COM and printer ports were
focused on the front right side of the board. Since all the cables are densely
located in that area, it does look a bit cluttered, considering I am so used to
having the serial/parallel ports attached on the board itself a la ATX.
HDD / FDD cables do extend over the SIMM / DIMM slots once the board is
installed so adding and removing memory modules requires a lot of push and shove
with the cables. This is important (though not dire) as proper air flow through
the cabinet is hindered to a certain extent. The Socket 7 interface is separated
from the rest of the board and is placed at the back for relatively easy access.
Now please understand that I am taking a
spacious ATX cabinet as reference. If I were to place this same board in an
regular AT cabinet, I would expect that the usual grind of overlapping certainly
would occur... surprisingly it didn't. In the AT cabinet, nothing at all was
hindered by the cabinet at all, except for the usual cable clutter. I expected
that at least the CPU would be covered by the hard disk bays, but as the Socket
interface is positioned at the rear left side, I was able to insert and remove
the CPU with extreme ease.
multipliers supported range from 1.5x - 5.5x which certainly can be handy in
mild overclocking endeavors. Unfortunately, the clock multiplier is changed by
way of jumpers and not through the BIOS which one would certainly prefer.
Adjacent to these jumpers are still more jumpers responsible for adjusting FSB
Possible settings are 60, 66,
75, 83, 95 and 100 MHz speeds. If this board were made for Intel CPUs (Celeron
and PII/III), your overclocking options will be pretty much restricted to the
use of FSB speeds...and there are not very many. With AMD though, your options
are available on a relatively wider range of choices. But more on that later.
Voltages supported are in the range of 2.0V up to 3.52V, again, by the way of
The heart of the Red Fox AGP ALi is based upon
the ALi (Acer Labs Inc.) Aladdin V chipset, the official "Super7" chipset. Specifically, the ALi
M1542 North Bridge and the ALi M1543 South Bridge. The M1542 provides support
for your support for 100MHz bus speeds, L2 cache, FPM/EDO/SDRAM and your 66MHz AGP bus interface in
addition to the 1X and 2X sideband address function. Courtesy of the chipset, up to
128MB RAM is cacheable through the onboard 512KB L3 cache.
One of the "cooler" functions of the Aladdin V
chipset is the internal L2 cache the chipset features, more specifically the
M1542 chip has an integrated 16K x 10-bit Tag RAM as well as 16K x 2 SRAM, both
of which decrease cost and increase performance at the same time. Because of
this you can expect an Aladdin V board to be cheaper than an equivalently
equipped VIA MVP3 board.
For RAM support, the Aladdin V boasts access for up
to 8 RAS lines for a total support of 1 GB of RAM but the maximum amount of RAM
supported on the board is 512MB using both DRAM and SDRAM memory modules. Though
the chipset supports it, there was no implementation in the BIOS for a
Suspend-to-RAM option which would have been quite useful. The Aladdin V in this
board does not provide support for ATA/66, a standard that has caught on pretty
quickly lately. The same goes for AGP4x and AGP Fast Writes. These days, one
would expect more from a chipset but this particular chipset has been around for
quite sometime now and is still in demand... at least in this part of the world