ECS P6BXTA+ - HotHardware

ECS P6BXTA+

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The Elitegroup P6BXT-A+

It's two boards in one!

 
The poeple at ECS really decided to do something different this time. They put their Marketing Hats on and decided to bring the Reseller/Custom Configurers and the End User community a board with a great deal of flexibility! They let go of conventional design practices and really thought "out of the box" with this board!

Take a look at the picture below. You aren't seeing things. This board has both a Socket370 and a Slot 1 on it! Now, instead of being limited to only one or the other of the two most recent Intel CPU interfaces, you can choose which version best fits your budget/performance curve. Here's the rest of the details.

    Specs:

  • Chipset: Intel 440BX processor supports Celeron PPGA, Celeron, Pentium II & Pentium III
  • Bios Vendor: Award
  • Memory: 3 DIMM; Max 768MB
  • Audio: Elite PCI Audio - CMI8338
  • Video: N/A
  • Slot: 2 ISA, 4 PCI, 1 ISA/PCI shared and 1 AGP
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • I/O Interface: Supports Plug and Play function
  • One - EPP/ECP mode parallel port
  • Two - 16550 high-speed serial I/O ports (2 connectors)
  • Supports 360K~2.88M Byte, 3 Mode FDDs or LS120
  • Dual PCI IDE interfaces - supports four IDE devices (PIO mode 4, DMA Mode 2, Ultra DMA 33)
  • PS/2 keyboard and PS/2 mouse connectors
  • ATX Power Supply Connector
  • Audio Ports(Line-in, Line-out, Mic-in, CD-in and game port)
  • Two sets of USB connector
  • Other ports
  • IrDA ASKIR Header.
  • Green, HDD, Power indicator LED Connectors
  • CPU Fan and Chassis Fan Headers
  • LAN Card Wake Up/Internal Modem Ring Wake-Up Headers

    Special Features:

  • Dual architecture supporting both slot 1 and socket 370
  • PC 99 color connector
  • Universal retention module support SECC, SECC 2
  • Elite PCI Aureal 3D sound on board, supports 4-way surround sound speakers
  • AMD magic packet header enables LAN/Modem power-on function
  • System hardware monitoring
  • SB-LINK? for legacy sound
  • Magic Jumperless
  • Keyboard power on
  • Anti virus - PC Cillin
     
Another great feature of this board is it's on board A3D Sounds System. It is based on the A3D Version 1 chipset. We'll cover that a little later. Also, this board comes equipped with a CPU Setup option in its BIOS. One slightly limiting factor is the 4 PCI/2ISA slot configuration. We would have liked to have seen 5 PCI slots.

On the other hand, you won't need a sound card so you'll have an extra PCI or ISA slot free! Also, the position of the ATX Power Connector is a notable improvement over most boards! The connector is located out of the way of the CPU, just where it should be. Speaking of connectors, the PC99 color connectors for the on board IO and Sound Ports look cool too!
 
     

 Our Test System

Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Celeron 300a PPGA Overclocked to 450, ECS P6BXT-A+ Motherboard, Maxtor 17 Gig EIDE 5400 RPM Drive, 96 MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, Skywell Magic TNT w/ 16 MB, On board Elite A3D CMI 8338 PCI Audio, Memorex 48X CDROM, TNT Detonator Drivers and Win 98

 


Overclocking

Although this board does not have voltage adjusting capabilities, it was a very competent "overclocker". We set up our Celeron 300a at 450 MHz. We also set our RAM up in a CAS2 configuration to acheive optimal memory performance. This board was rock solid stable through our battery of tests. The BIOS is easy to configure. Once you set a jumper on the board to the 100 MHz. FSB setting, you can adjust the speeds from 100-133 MHz. We also tried 112MHz. for a total of 504 with our C300a. The processor booted Win98 but locked shortly after. With a little more creative cooling (we were using a stock Intel boxed set up) we feel a stable 504 is within reach on this board. We were very happy with this board in this area.


Here are the test stats...

     

 


Benchmarks

WinTune 98

Offline Test Results

 

CPU

(1) Celeron 300a with MMX @ 450 MHz

Video Board

NVidia RIVA TNT

Video Mode

1024X768@16bits/pixel

RAM

96 MB

OS

Windows 98 4.10.1998

Area Tested

Value

CPU Integer

1350.274 MIPS

CPU Floating Point

539.1442 MFLOPS

Video(2D)

82.073 MPixels/s

Direct3D

130.4424 MPixels/s

OpenGL

71.36538 MPixels/s

Memory

820.4862 MB/s

Cached Disk

78.73181 MB/s

Uncached Disk

2.903789 MB/s

     
These are solid numbers. There is nothing too earth shattering either way here. Once again, I want to emphasize the stability of this board. We had our Celeron 300a PPGA Processor set at 150 MHz. over spec. and at default voltage. These numbers are in the ballpark of a P2-450. For a Motherboard and CPU combo that comes in at less than $200, you can't beat this kind of performance!
 
Let's move on to a little more robust benchmark, shall we? 
 

 

ZD Winbench 99 Tests

ECS P6BXT-A+
WinBench 99/Business Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 1870
WinBench 99/Business Graphics WinMark 99 148
WinBench 99/CPUmark32 920
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Bus:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 1870
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:AVS/Express 3.4 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 3830
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:FrontPage 98 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 24600
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:MicroStation SE (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 6500
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 6580
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Photoshop 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 5270
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Premiere 4.2 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 5610
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Sound Forge 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 9260
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Visual C++ 5.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 7550
WinBench 99/FPU WinMark 2460
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/AVS/Express 3.4 49.1
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/FrontPage 98 108
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/MicroStation SE 15.1
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/Photoshop 4.0 62.5
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/Premiere 4.2 59.8
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/Sound Forge 4.0 132
WinBench 99/GDI Playback/HE/Visual C++ 5.0 209
WinBench 99/High-End Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 6580
WinBench 99/High-End Graphics WinMark 99 497

Is that enough data for you? These are excellent CPU numbers and the High End Disk numbers look great too!

Audio Performance

There is not much that needs to be said really about this aspect of the board. The quality of the on board audio is classic A3D technology. The 3D positional effects are great and the fidelity more than adequate for the average gamer. It may not be the most leading edge since A3D 2.0 is out now, but it comes basically for free with this board. It is quite a value from any perspective.

 

Overall Impression

We really enjoyed this great new innovation that ECS has brought to market with the P6BXT-A+. It was a solid stable performer with the flexibility to change to different CPU technologies depending on your budget.

Many System Integrators should take note of this board. Just think... one board for all of your Celeron, Pentium 2 and Pentium 3 needs and throw in free audio to go with it! Well done Elitegroup!

 

 

The ECS P6BXT-A+! Gets a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter Rating of....

87 !

-Davo 

     

 

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