440BX Motherboard with plenty of funky features
On April 15th, 1998, Intel launched their newest Slot-1 mainboard chipset, the 100MHz 440BX.
Simultaneously debuting with the P2-350 and P2-400 100MHz CPUs, the 440BX was one of the most
successful product introductions in the company's history, as no less than 14 different
mainboards were introduced that week, all of them sporting the new chipset.
Large mainboard vendors like ASUS and Abit were two of the larger houses to offer 440BX products
immediately, in the form of the ASUS P2B, and the Abit BX6. Both are still fine boards
today (four months later) and users that have already purchased one of the two shouldn't be
shooting themselves in the head as they read this review....Although they might want to
start saving their pennies, as an upgrade to Abit's newest 440BX board (the BH6) is justified.
Offering an incredible array of features and simplicity, the Abit BH6 is hands
down the most well rounded mainboard ever created.
Let's look at a quick chart of all the features that the board includes, and then we'll describe
what each new feature means or represents to the average user:
- 5 PCI Slots, 2 ISA Slots, 1 AGP Slot
- 3 DIMM Slots, with up the 384MB SDRAM/EDO DRAM supported
- Selectable option in BIOS to override Intel CPU multiplier lockouts
- 66, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112, 124, 133MHz FSB bus speeds supported
- Smaller overall size (Important, as the BX6 was the Godzilla of 440BX boards)
- Estimated Street Price: $110 ($40 lower than the BX6 currently sells for)
The above list is enough to whet anyone's appetite, but for the overclocker the BH6 is
the equivalent to an ancient Viking reaching their famed Valhalla after dying in battle.
First, you've got 5 PCI slots, which makes the BH6 the first 440BX board from the popular ASUS/Abit
duo to have such a spec. ASUS is working on a 5 PCI slot board of their own, expect it
to debut in the next 60 days.
The popular "Soft Menu II" BIOS controllable settings remain present in the new BH6, but
they've been overhauled for better customizability of the system. One example is the new
"SEL100/66#" option, that with a simple selection of "Low" frees both the Intel P2-350 and the P2-400 CPUs
from their Intel-placed maximum multiplier locks. It's important to note however, that the new "fixed-lock"
barrier of both the Intel Celeron class of CPUs, and the brand new Intel P2-450 CPU, are NOT removeable
by the BH6, no matter what setting the SEL100/66# option is set to.