Is There More To It Than Just A RAID Controller?
Did Biostar add anything else to the "2.0" board other than RAID? Actually, yes they did. They added a CPU temp probe under the socket. Biostar had actually recently pulled external thermal probes from all of their product because they were so grossly inaccurate, they were getting unnecessary knee jerk calls from customers concerning their CPU temperatures. Temperatures seem to be on the extreme low side, however. My 1 GHz was running at 1.5 GHz in the Biostar (150 MHz X 10), and after a lock up in Windows, a reboot and a jump into the BIOS, the board said that my CPU was only running at 54 degrees C! A CompuNurse super glued right up against the CPU die reported a temperature over 65 degrees!
Biostar also added a VCORE selection in the same menu where you would select your front side bus speeds. To get to select VCORE on the original M7MIA, you would have to hold the insert key down during boot up, and then enter the BIOS, and this only works with the newest BIOS revision. On the 2.0 boards, VCORE selection can be done by either selecting a voltage (1.75, 1.8, etc), or selecting how much more or less voltage you want to supply (+. 05, +. 10, etc). This makes it nice for taking that AXIA 1 GHz CPU and getting it run at 1.4 or more by upping the core voltage.
The M7MIA also features a Northbridge fan. It's about freaking time. The original M7MIA only had a heatsink. Although that heatsink was of good size, had thermal compound applied underneath (I've seen many dry Northbridge chips from the factory) and seemed to do the job for up to 133 MHz FSB, the documentation stated that "for higher speed CPUs, Biostar recommends installing a Northbridge fan", thus leaving customers feeling gypped out of a $5 motherboard accessory.
The last thing I noticed about the new M7MIA is the documentation. I know... we techs don't need no stinking docs. But the new M7MIA comes with a nice little, full color map of the board with everything clearly labeled, right down to the front panel connectors. This comes as a major improvement over the black and white photocopied fliers of Biostars of the past. Biostar had actually quit packaging manuals with their motherboards a year or two ago to not only save money in printing costs, but to also keep it simple stupid. Early slot based Athlon boards from Biostar had front side bus jumpers to accommodate overclocking, and customers would set the jumpers to 133MHz (because they had PC133 RAM) even though their slot A 600 Athlon was a 100 MHz FSB CPU. They would then RMA the motherboard because it didn't boot. Since then, Biostar had made it a habit of giving only enough information to get the board running, install an OS, be able to read the PDF format manual on the CD and THEN screw things up. Personally, I can see where they're coming from. ;)
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