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    Product Info
    Name: VP6
    Company: Abit
    Price: Click To Find Lowest
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    SLCentralHardwareReviewsMotherboards Jun 21st, 2021 - 4:29 AM EST
    Abit VP6
    Author: Tom Solinap
    Date Posted: October 16th, 2001
    Rating: 8.5/10 SystemLogistics


    Two years ago Abit brought dual processing to the computer enthusiast crowd with their BP6 motherboard. Affordable and unique, it was the first dual processor motherboard to sport overclocking capabilities as well as be targeted towards the low-end server market. Abit has always been known for having features that target the overclocking enthusiast, while other mainboard manufacturers only consider overclocking an afterthought if at all. It didn't take people long to figure out you can pop 2 cheap Celeron 366 CPUs into the BP6 and overclock them both to 550. It was that year that overclocking really took off and became popular with many people. Intel's Celeron processor really facilitated it by being cheap, overclockable, and by performing as well as the PII. Overclocking freaks from all over were using the BP6 to go dual and satisfy the overclocking cravings at the same time. The BP6 had an almost cult following. I remember when I bought mine. It was my first SMP system, and I even wrote an article about it here on SystemLogic.

    Fast forward 2 years to today. Dual processing has been increasingly growing in popularity ever since the BP6. However, the crowd that embraced the BP6 was soon longing for another motherboard to take them to the next level, dual Pentium IIIs. The eventual SMP lock on the new Celerons made those unsuitable for dual goodness. Many BP6 users were trying to find a way to put those new socket PIIIs on their motherobards. More and more dual motherboards were being released but none really had the intrigue or overclocking features that the BP6 had. MSI released the 694D, which sported dual processors and overclocking capability, but it was plagued with problems so people longed for a better solution. About a year after the BP6 was released, Abit was poised to release it's successor the VP6 using VIA's 694X chipset. Many dual processor enthusiasts and BP6 owners were very excited to see whether Abit could make history yet again and finally satisfy their cravings for dual PIII goodness. After numerous delays, the VP6 was finally released early this year. The long wait was over and Abit made sure it was well worth it, but was it too little too late? Other mainboard manufacturers already had affordable dual motherboards with similar features out months before the VP6. While the VP6 release didn't make as much of a splash as the BP6, the VP6 is still a great accomplishment. Reviews started pouring of how stable this motherboard is and how easy it is to tweak.

    I had long since planned to build a dual Pentium III system, and the VP6 looks to be a solid motherboard, at least from some of the other reviews out there. With the announcement of the Athlon MP, I had considered going that route, but when the motherboards started popping up along with the prices. I decided that dual PIII was the one that fit my budget. The VP6's feature set was impressive enough and it's price is in line with my budget. By the time I was ready to upgrade to a VP6, there were numerous dual motherboards available. The DDR based DVD266-R from Iwill caught my eye, but it would mean I would have to buy new memory. It was more expensive than the VP6, so I opted on the less expensive route. It's clear that SDRAM is not the future and that DDR will probably take its place. The fact that the VP6 still uses SDRAM is probably why it hasn't gotten as much attention as Abit would have hoped. So let's see how well the VP6 lives up to the hype.

    Specifications And Features

    Abit VP6 - Dual FCPGA Socket Based Mainboard
    Supported Processors
    • Supports PentiumIII Coppermine FC-PGA 370 processor (Based on 100/133MHz clock) in single or dual configurations
    • Reserves support for future Intel Pentium III processors
    • VIA chipset (VT82C694X and VT82C686B)
    • Supports Ultra DMA/33, Ultra DMA/66 and Ultra DMA/100 IDE protocol
    • Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
    • Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 1X/2X/4X mode (Sideband) 3.3V device
    Board Size
    • 305 x 245 mm
    • CPU SOFT MENU III, can easily set the processor parameters
    • Award Plug and Play BIOS supports APM and DMI
    • Write-Protect Anti-Virus function by AWARD BIOS
    System Memory
    • Four 168-pin DIMM sockets support SDRAM modules
    • Supports up to 2 GB MAX, (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512MB SDRAM)
    • Supports ECC
    On-Board I/O
    • One PS/2 keyboard and one PS/2 mouse connector
    • One floppy port connector (up to 2.88MB)
    • One parallel port connector (EPP/ECP)
    • Two serial port connectors
    • Two USB connectors
    • One board USB header for two extra USB channels (adapter included)
    • Built-in IrDA TX-RX header
    On-Board IDE
    • Four Channels of bus master IDE ports support Ultra DMA 33/66/100 (up to 8 HDD devices, 2 Channels for RAID)
    • HighPoint Technologies, Inc. HPT 370 chipset
      • Supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1 (stripping, mirroring, stripping and mirroring)
      • Two independent ATA channels
      • 256 Byte FIFO per ATA channel
      • Compliant with Plug & Play
      • Friendly UI for RAID functions and settings
      • Auto detects and supports Ultra Mode transfers
      • Recognizes drives up to 128 GB
    • ATX form factor
    • One AGP slot, five PCI slots
    • Built-in Wake on LAN header
    • Built-in Wake On Modem header
    • Built-in SM bus header
    • Hardware monitoring including fan speed, voltages, CPU and system temperatures
    In the box
    • VP6 Motherboard
    • Two 80-wire/40-pin ribbon cable for master and slave Ultra DMA 33/66/100 IDE devices
    • One ribbon cable for 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disk devices
    • One compact disc for support drivers and utilities
    • One user's manual for the motherboard
    • One USB expansion adapter for use with the header

    As you can see Abit packs a lot into this motherboard. Not only is it dual PIII capable but it also has support for up to 2 GB of memory, AGP 4X, 5 PCI slots, 2 extra USB ports and on-board ATA/100 RAID 0/1. Abit is really gearing this motherboard towards the low cost server market. A year ago these features would have been almost unheard of in a dual motherboard of this price. Nowadays these features are pretty much the norm. What makes the VP6 stand out is the extensive features Abit has added to the BIOS. SoftMenu III support gives users the ability to set the FSB in increments of 1MHz and really tweak the performance, as well as various voltage settings. Unlike the BP6, the CPU voltages can't be changed independently of each other. That would have been a nice option since not all processors are created equal. Note that this motherboard is Pentium III only, meaning no dual celerons anymore. It would have been cool to at least be able to use the older Celerons in dual configuration or the newer ones in single processor configuration. I'm not sure how hard it would have been to add Celeron support, but that would have probably been just a novelty feature. The VIA chipsets have been notorious for their low memory performance. Most users have to use external programs to manually tweak settings not usually available in the BIOS. Abit has included these settings in the VP6 BIOS so you can get the most out of your setup. It's the use of this chipset that makes this board more affordable. For serious applications, you'll probably want something that can handle memory intensive tasks better. The support for 2 GB is good news if you intend to use the mobo in a low cost server. Since dual processor systems are mostly used in servers or top-end workstations, stability is often a necessity. The BP6 was great and fairly stable but not really up to par with what was required in terms of production performance and stability. Since overclocking effectively runs the system past it's normal specifications, you always run the risk of failure and lose a certain degree of stability. I mean some motherboards have a hard time enough running stable at stock speeds let alone when overclocked. Later on we'll see just how stable the VP6 is, as well as how well it performs.

    >> First Impressions & Installation

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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction/Specifications And Features
    2. First Impressions & Installation
    3. Layout/2 Processors Are Better Than One
    4. Tweaking Memory
    5. Performance
    6. RAID
    7. Stability/Value
    8. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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