Singapore Hardware Zone

click to view enlarged pic of this mainboard

ASUS P5A Super 7 Motherboard
Reviewed by Jereme Wong Jong Siang (06/09/98)

 

Motherboard Specifications

Processor

  • Intel Pentium® Processor P55C/P54C/P54CS 90MHz-233MHz (66Mhz).
  • Cryix M IITM 300MHz ~ 333MHz , 6x86MXTM PR166+ ~ PR266+
  • AMD-K6® -2, AMD-K6® 233MHz ~ 350MHz

Chipset

  • ALi® M1541 Aladdin V AGPset to Support up to 100MHz System Bus
  • ALi® M1543 Super I/O Controller

Cache memory

  • On Board Pipelined Burst SRAM 512KB (-5ns)

System Memory

  • 3 x 168-pin 3.3v DIMM sockets support
  • Supports 8/16/32/64/128 MB DIMM Module
  • Supports EDO RAM, SDRAM (Support ECC, 72 bit)
  • Supports 8MB to 768MB DRAM Size
  • Supports 66/66.8/75/83.3/95/100/105/110/115/120 MHz System Clock Speed Setting
  • Supports 1.5--5.0 Multiplier Setting

PCI IDE

  • 2 X PCI Bus Master UDMA/33 IDE ports (up to 4 ATAPI Devices)
  • Supports for PIO Mode 3, 4, UDMA/33 IDE & ATAPI CD-ROM

I/O Interface

  • 1x floppy port (360KB-2.88MB)
  • 2x serial ports (16550 high-speed)
  • 1x parallel port (SPP/EPP/ECP)
  • PS/2 Keyboard
  • PS/2 Mouse
  • 2x USB

Expansion slot

  • 5 x PCI 32-bit slots, PCI 2.1 compliant
  • 2 x ISA 16-bit slots
  • 1x AGP (1x & 2x Mode,66/133MHz) slot

Power Management

  • Power Off by Windows® 95 Shut down & Soft-Power Switch

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor, 4 layer PCB
  • Fits in Regular ATX Case
  • Double Deck ATX Back Panel

BIOS

  • 2 Mbit (256KB) FLASH EEPROM
  • Award® AGP BIOS with ACPI, DMI, Green, Plug and Play Features

<Introduction><The Good><The Bad><Conclusion><Rating>

Back to top


Introduction

After moving on to the Slot 1 mainboards, it has been quite a while ever since I last laid my hands on a socket 7 motherboard. ASUS has always been a leading manufacturer in the mainboard arena over the past few years. The last time they came out with the T2P4 HX board which was the first board in the market to have the 83 Mhz setting, ASUS managed to capture a larger portion of the HX market. Today,  with the birth of Intel's Celeron with 128KB integrated cache and all the Slot 1 mainboards available in the market, it seems as though the Super7 market will not last long. However, after trying the P5A motherboard, I am convinced that there may be a revival of the Super7 market afterall.

Back to top


The Good

Featuring 3 DIMM slots and a 5/2/1 expansion slot ATX design, the ASUS P5A is able to fit comfortably into many conventional casings available in the market. The general layout of the board is neat and jumpers are easily located on the right side of the board. The 3 DIMM slots means that you are able to fit a total of 768MB of ram onboard, however be aware that only the first 128MB of RAM will be cached. This is because of the limitations of the current design of the ALi Aladdin V Chipset.

The initial setup of the board is generally easy with the help of the well designed manual that comes with the motherboard. By using the ALi Aladdin V Chipset, which is well supported by Windows 98, the board supports a whole range of conventional bus speed settings like 66/66.8/75/83.3/95/100MHz along with the unofficial FSB settings including 105/110/115/120Mhz. The 95Mhz FSB setting which is not commonly found in most Super7 mainboard allows the support of the AMD K6-2 333, which runs at 95x3.5. In addition, the stability at the 95 and 100MHz setting is also exceptional and using the AMD K6-333, I am able to obtain a very stable configuration at 95x4=380MHz. There has been reports claiming that this board is also able to take the 125 and 133MHz setting. Unfortunately, these two options are not stable enough to be considered viable options for normal operation.

In addition to the wide range of bus speed settings, the P5A also boast a wide selection of core voltage settings. Stepping through the 2.0v all the way to 3.5v in 0.1v increments, ASUS seems to have designed this board with the intention of winning the best overclocker's motherboard in the arena of Super7 mainboards. Furthermore, the P5A also has the ability to up the I/O voltage to 3.6v for added stability. However, be aware when the CPU external clock (bus speed) is set above 105MHz, the VIO voltage will increase to 3.8v if the VIO jumper is set to 3.5v and 3.9v if it is set to 3.6v.

Back to top


The Test

Initially a AMD K62-333 chip was used for the testing of this board. However, I had the fortune to try out a sample of the pre-released AMD K62-350 chip on this board as well. For all the tests conducted on both chips, I couldn't push either of the chip past the 400MHz barrier. In fact, the highest stable configuration I achieved was at 385MHz @ 110x3.5 using the AMD K62-350. I did manage to boot up into Windows 98 at 400MHz @ 100x4 using the same chip. However, the system hang after a while. This is probably due to the insufficient cooling. As for the AMD K62-333 chip, I achieved a very stable configuration at 380 @ 95x4 setting.

Test Configuration

Processor(s): AMD K62 - 333 & 350 Tray
RAM: 2 - 32MB Mitsubishi PC100 SDRAM DIMM
Hard Drive(s): Quantum SE 2.1Gb
Video Card(s): Diamond Viper V330 (4MB SGRAM - PCI)
Bus Master Drivers: Windows 98 Bus Mastering Drivers
Video Drivers: Diamond Viper V330.4.10.01.0128
Operation System(s): Windows 98 (build 4.10.1998)

Jumper Settings :

External CPU Bus Setting

FS3

FS2

FS1

FS0

CPU Bus (MHz)

AGP Bus (MHz)

PCI Bus (MHz)

2-3

2-3

2-3

2-3

60

60

30

2-3

2-3

2-3

1-2

66.8

66.8

33.4

2-3

2-3

1-2

1-2

75

75

37.5

2-3

1-2

2-3

1-2

83.3

66.6

33.3

2-3

1-2

1-2

2-3

95

63.3

31.6

2-3

1-2

1-2

1-2

100

66.6

33.3

1-2

2-3

1-2

1-2

105

70

35

1-2

2-3

1-2

2-3

110

73.3

36.6

1-2

2-3

2-3

1-2

115

76.6

38.3

1-2

2-3

2-3

2-3

120

80

40

CPU Multiplier Settings

BF0

BF1

BF2

Multiplier

1-2

1-2

--

1.5x

2-3

1-2

--

2.0x

2-3

2-3

--

2.5x

1-2

2-3

--

3.0x

1-2

1-2

--

3.5x

2-3

1-2

2-3

4.0x

2-3

2-3

2-3

4.5x

1-2

2-3

2-3

5.0x

CPU Vcore Voltage Settings

VID3

VID2

VID1

VID0

CPU Vcore (V)

1-2

1-2

1-2

1-2

2.0

1-2

1-2

1-2

2-3

2.1

1-2

1-2

2-3

1-2

2.2

1-2

1-2

2-3

2-3

2.3

1-2

2-3

1-2

1-2

2.4

1-2

2-3

1-2

2-3

2.5

1-2

2-3

2-3

1-2

2.6

1-2

2-3

2-3

2-3

2.7

2-3

1-2

1-2

1-2

2.8

2-3

1-2

1-2

2-3

2.9

2-3

1-2

2-3

1-2

3.0

2-3

1-2

2-3

2-3

3.1

2-3

2-3

1-2

1-2

3.2

2-3

2-3

1-2

2-3

3.3

2-3

2-3

2-3

1-2

3.4

2-3

2-3

2-3

2-3

3.5 (Single Plane)

Wintune 98 Result for AMD K62-333Mhz @ 4 x 95 Mhz
** Recommended Setting for AMD K62-333 **

CPU (1) AMD K6-2 with MultiMedia Extensions@381 MHz
Video Board Diamond Viper V330
Video Mode 800x600@16bits/pixel
RAM 64 MB
OS Windows 98 4.10.1998
Area Tested Value
CPU Integer 997.8986 MIPS
CPU Floating Point 442.9933 MFLOPS
Video(2D) 76.68916 MPixels/s
Direct3D 80.33694 MPixels/s
OpenGL 45.24541 MPixels/s
Memory 626.577 MB/s
Cached Disk 65.63762 MB/s
Uncached Disk 2.466242 MB/s

Wintune 98 Result for AMD K62-350Mhz @ 3.5 x110 Mhz
** Recommended Setting for AMD K62-350 **

CPU (1) AMD K6-2 with MultiMedia Extensions@385 MHz
Video Board Diamond Viper V330
Video Mode 800x600@16bits/pixel
RAM 64 MB
OS Windows 98 4.10.1998
Area Tested Value
CPU Integer 1015.704 MIPS
CPU Floating Point 447.9913 MFLOPS
Video(2D) 80.11524 MPixels/s
Direct3D 82.54626 MPixels/s
OpenGL 47.42382 MPixels/s
Memory 647.556 MB/s
Cached Disk 68.49934 MB/s
Uncached Disk 2.262353 MB/s

Summary of Results based on the Wintune98 MIPS on the
AMD K62-333 and 350MHz

Settings AMD K62-333 Settings AMD K62-350
330 @ 110 x 3 877 350 @ 100 x 3.5 924
333 @ 95 x 3.5 878 360 @ 120 x 3 957
345 @ 115 x 3 917 373.5 @ 83 x 4.5 979
350 @ 100 x 3.5 923 380 @ 95 x 4 998
360 @ 120 x 3 957 385 @ 110 x 3.5 1015*
380 @ 95 x 4 997* 400 @ 100 x 4 1053**

* Recommended Settings /  ** Unstable due to insufficient cooling

Back to top


The Bad

Overall, the P5A comes clean without much flaws in its design. However, the FSB selection jumpers could be better located elsewhere on the motherboard instead of sitting right below the AGP card slot. This will bring much convenience in setting the jumpers for the CPU bus speed setting.

Back to top


Conclusion

The P5A proves to be a winner among the rest of the Super7 mainboards available in the market. ASUS has once again made its mark in producing such a good mainboard. If you have a AMD K62-333 CPU now, you can really see how the performance of your system fly if you overclock your chip to 380 @ 95x4 setting. All in all, if you are looking for a Socket 7 mainboard for the upgrading of your older Socket 7 chip, do give this board a thought.

Back to top


MOTHERBOARD RATING

Overall Rating (Out of a maximum of 5 Star)

Installation ****
Performance ****
Price ***
Overclockability ****
Material Quality ****
Stability *****
Overall Rating ****

Back to top

Back To Mainboards Reviews


This Product is provided courtesy of,

Copyright © 1998 by Singapore Hardware Zone. All rights reserved.

None of the above shall be reproduced, copied and/or
modified without the permission of the WebMaster.