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RED FOX Super Socket7 Motherboard Review

RED FOX Super Socket7 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: A couple of years back, Intel had completely dropped support for the Socket 7 platform starting from the release of the Pentium II and Celeron processors. At the time, CPU manufacturers such as AMD, Cyrix (before being purchased by VIA), IDT (the Centaur division also owned by VIA), IBM and Rise remained on the Socket 7 bandwagon as they knew it was costly for the consumer moving to a Slot 1 solution.
 50% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: REDFOX Apr 12 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > REDFOX

First Look and Chipset

On First Look

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.

The 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.

Clock 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 speeds.

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 jumpers.

The Chipset


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 anyway.

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Contents of Article: REDFOX
 Pg 1.  RED FOX Super Socket7 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — First Look and Chipset
 Pg 3.  System Spec's and Winstone
 Pg 4.  Overclocking And Stability

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