Gigabyte's GABX2000 Dual BIOS - HotHardware

Gigabyte's GABX2000 Dual BIOS

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Gigabyte's GA-BX2000

Dual BIOS Slot 1 Pentium II/III Motherboard

 
Gigabyte has long been a manufacturer of top shelf PC motherboards and have a huge network in the various reseller channels. Many small clone shops use Gigabyte's boards because of their aggressive pricing and high quality. Gigabyte has always done things a little different from the rest of the pack. For instance they are the only motherboard manufacturer that I am aware of that uses dip switches in their product for clock setting etc... There latest creation, the BX2000 is an Intel BX chipset based Slot 1 board with a unique safety feature called "Dual BIOS".

 

Those two red arrows are pointing at the two BIOS chips that are on the board. One chip is intended to be a backup in case the other gets corrupted. These chips are soldered to the board. In traditional motherboards, if you corrupt or damage your BIOS, you have to pull the BIOS chip (usually socketed) and replace it with a good chip. This can be a royal pain in the butt. I went through that once personally and was very lucky the motherboard manufacturer at the time, decided to send me a new chip. You may not get so lucky. Unless of course you own the BX2000. If you primary BIOS is corrupted, the system automatically switches over to the secondary chip and boots with default settings. This is a nice feature that you will hopefully never have to use but it is there if you need it. Here are some additional specs on the BX2000.
     

PROCESSOR

  • Intel® Pentium® II / III and Celeron? Processor 233 to 550 MHz
  • Slot 1 for future Processor support
  • 66/75*/83*/100/112*/124*/133* MHz System Bus
  • Auto Detect CPU Voltage
  • Clock multiplier 3.0/3.5 ...... / 6.5

CHIPSET

  • Intel® 440 BX AGPset
  • iTE 8671 I/Oset
  • Winbond 83782 Health Chip

DRAM

  • 8MB to 1GB DRAM size
  • 4 x 3.3V DIMM size
  • Supports 8/16/32/64/128/256 MB SDRAM DIMM Module
  • Supports ECC Type DIMM Module (72 bits)
  • 1 x AGP Slot Supports 66/133 MHz speeds
  • 5 x PCI Slot Supports 33MHz & PCI 2.2 compliant
  • 2 x ISA Slot

 

I/O

  • 2 x Ultra DMA/33 Bus Master IDE ports on board
  • 1 x FDD, 2 x COM, 1 x LPT, PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse on board
  • 2 x USB ports on board
  • IrDA TX / RX Header (optional)

POWER

  • ATX Power connector
  • Power-on by K/B, PS/2 Mouse, LAN, RTC, Modem (COM A or B) & Switch
  • Power-off by Windows® 98 Shut down & Switch
  • AC Recovery ON/OFF control
  • Stop CPU Fan during entering suspend mode
  • 3 Level ACPI LED Support

FORM FACTOR

  • ATX , 4 layer PCB (30.7*19.2cm)

 

PROTECTION

  • Flexible Temperature sensor under processor Heatsink
  • Auto speed down and Alarm when CPU overheat or Fan failure
  • System Health status detect & report by BIOS, LDCM®, SIV.
  • Hardware Detects +/- 5v, +/-12v, CPU Voltage & CMOS battery Status

BIOS

  • Includes DualBIOS? Technology; 2Mbit Flash RAM
  • AWARD BIOS with Enhanced ACPI Feature for PC98 / Win98 Compliance, Green, PnP, DMI, INT13 (>8.4GB) & Anti-Virus functions
  • IDE#1~#4, SCSI, LS120, ZIP & CD-ROM bootable
  • Auto-detect & report system health status

OTHER FEATURES

  • Suspend-To-RAM (STR)
  • Includes Wake On LAN Header (WOL) & SB-LINKTM connector
  • On board PC speaker; Supports Internal / External modem wake on
  • 3 Fan Power & Speed Detection Connectors; Case open Detection
  • Poly fuse for keyboard overcurrent protection

DRIVER

  • Intel® LDCM® utility, SIV utility
  • Ultra DMA/33 Bus Master IDE Driver (Xstore Pro, Triones & Intel® )
  • Intel® PIIX4e Patch Utility for Windows® 95
  • TREND MICRO PC-cillin 98 Anti-Virus utility (scan only)
     
How many more bell and whistles do you want? This board has it all except the elusive core voltage setting for the CPU. There aren't many manufacturers that offer it but it would have been a nice complement to this full featured board. Also, this board doesn't have a BIOS CPU set up routine but it does have a nice dip switch (the blue component in the picture above) that sets up the CPU. This was MUCH easier to use than jumpers. We were also able to reset the swtich easily once the board was installed in our case. OK, it's test drive time!
     

 Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium 2 -333 Overclocked to 500, Gigabyte BX2000 Motherboard, 64 MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, Maxtor 17 Gig, 9.5 ms 5400 RPM EIDE UDMA Hard Drive, STB Velocity 4400 TNT w/ 16 MB AGP Video Card, Monster Sound MX300 PCI Audio Card, Memorex 482E 48X CDROM, TNT Detonator Drivers, Win 98, DX6.1

 


Overclocking

The BX2000 was very strong in this department. It overclocked our Pentium 2-333 to 500 MHz. but no higher. The next jump would have been 560 which our P2-333 has never seen before. If only Gigabyte threw in a few more FSB frequencies, we could have squeaked out 525 perhaps.

     

Benchmarks

 

Winbench 99 Results Gigabyte BX2000
WinBench 99/Business Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec)

1490

WinBench 99/Business Graphics WinMark 99

193

WinBench 99/CPUmark32

1270

WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Bus:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec)

1490

WinBench 99/FPU WinMark

2560

     
These are very impressive CPUmark numbers. They are the best I have seen at 500 MHz. The FPU mark numbers look great as well and the highest score I have seen in that department is 2570. The diskmark numbers are fairly solid with the Maxtor drive we used. This board performed well but that is to be expected with most BX based boards.
     

 

Overall Impression

The BX2000 is a fine, full featured motherboard. The quality and design are excellent and performance across the standard benchmarks in the top 5% of it class. We would have liked a few more overclocking features with voltage adjust and more clock frequencies but these are not absolute necessity for the modest overclocker. The Dual BIOS feature is a nice insurance policy and adds very little cost to the board. I feel comfortable recommending this board as a base for any new system you would build. 

 

The Gigabyte BX2000 gets a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter Rating of....

85 !

 

-Davo 

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