Well, it is about time, under the new motherboard rating system, the first manufacturer to receive an "A" rating is AOpen.
What motherboard? The AOpen AX6BC. I realize that the AOpen AX6BC is old news now, however the latest revision of this motherboard features a few new features, such as the 8.0x clock multiplier, and the 153MHz FSB setting...want to know how far I managed to push the board? Take a look at the review to find out.
As I mentioned a few days ago, you can expect more motherboards to begin shipping with 140MHz+ FSB settings in lieu of the upcoming Pentium III release. Speaking of which, what is my take on the Pentium III? Well, although you won't be seeing a review of the processor on AnandTech until the day of the release (my contacts at Intel aren't alenient as those at AMD), here is a quick breakdown on the Pentium II and what you can expect: Take a look at the review to find out. As I mentioned a few days ago, you can expect more motherboards to begin shipping with 140MHz+ FSB settings in lieu of the upcoming Pentium III release. Speaking of which, what is my take on the Pentium III?
Well, although you won't be seeing a review of the processor on AnandTech until the day of the release (my contacts at Intel aren't as lenient as those at AMD), here is a quick breakdown on the Pentium II and what you can expect: The Pentium III will be no different than the Pentium II outside of the 70 new instructions that have been officially dubbed, Streaming SIMD Extensions, or SSE for short. You'll remember SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data execution) from my coverage, last year, basically it will allow for simultaneous execution of the same instruction (albeit applied to different tasks) at once.
Judging by the impact SIMD had with the K6-2, you can expect SSE to provide a noticeable performance increase under FPU intensive applications (i.e. games). Contrary to initial information posted about the Pentium III, it will run on Slot-1 BX motherboards, at the 100MHz FSB, and will only contain 32KB of L1 cache.
It will be introduced on February 28, 1998 in two speeds, 450MHz and 500MHz. We'll have to live with 500MHz until mid-year when the Pentium III makes the jump to the next level of performance after being paired up with the upcoming Camino chipset. At this point (sometime between June and September of this year) the Pentium III will be bumped up to the 133MHz FSB, and will make it up to speeds greater than 533MHz.
I got a personal look at the Camino chipset behind the scenes at last year's Comdex, and it does appear to be quite promising. The Camino chipset will basically be the same thing as the BX chipset with a few improvements, including official support for the 133MHz FSB, and the replacement of SDRAM by Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) as the supported memory technology in order to keep up with the rapidly increasing FSB frequencies.
An unfortunate absence from the Camino chipset will be integrated IEEE-1394 (Firewire) support which Intel is refraining from supporting in this next major chipset jump. The Camino will raise the AGP performance specification up to 4X mode (up from the current 2X data transfmode).
The jump to AGP 4X may be welcomed by the upcoming graphics chipsets from 3Dfx/STB and nVidia, however we're just going to have to wait and see. ATA-66, the 66MB/s successor to ATA-33 (or UltraDMA/Ultra33. The VIA Apollo Pro+ Pentium II chipset already supports ATA-66, however motherboards that are shipping with this chipset now don't feature the updated south-bridge with support for the specification.
You can expect those motherboards to begin shipping in a few weeks time, and the first ATA-66 drives have already started to hit the market. Western Digital has a 13.6GB EIDE drive that is ATA-66 compliant, you can check out a review of it over at www.storagereview.com.
AnandTech will be receiving an updated Apollo Pro+ board with ATA-66 support as well as a MVP4 reference board for some testing in the near future. Well, this short little update turned out to be a little longer than I expected, but that's what's going on in the industry...I may write a little roadmap for the first half of 1999 if I can find enough to say ;) For now, enjoy the review and I've got tons of other motherboards here just waiting to be thrashed by Winstone 99's stability test.