Leadtek WinFast 5300MA - HotHardware

Leadtek WinFast 5300MA

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The Leadtek WinFast 5300MA

All-in-one features at a stripped down price!

 
Leadtek has been known for many years as a manufacturer of High End Graphics Cards. They have until now, stayed within the Video/Grpahics space. Like all healthy well established companies, occasionally it is time to diversify. Enter the Leadtek WinFast 5300MA Motherboard. Leatek, at this juncture, has teo motherboards available. The other board is a dual Slot 1. We reviewed this Super 7 Socket based, multimedia enhanced, all in one system board and were very impressed with the feature set.

For starters this board comes with on board AGP Graphics and also on board 3D Sound! Here are the particulars...
     
  • Supports Intel Pentium P54C/P55C-MMX, AMD K5/ K6/ K6-2/ K6-3,Cyrix M1/M2 and Pentium Processors.
  • AMD166to 300Mhz K6 &up to 400Mhz K6-2
  • intel 166 to 200Mhz intel Pentium Processors and up to 233Mhz Pentium processor with MMX technology.
  • Cyrix 6X86MX PR166+~PR233+ and up to 333Mhz M-II Processor
  • Wide voltage range to CPU Vcore: from 1.8~3.5V to 15A suitable for all future CPU requirements
  • Graphic SIS 530 chipset and Support PC 100 SDRAM
  • Integrated 3D/2D VGA on Mainboard with 100MHz Bus speed
  • Super 100MHz VGA bus Supports up to 800 MB/s UMA VGA Memory, higher than 533MB/s AGP BUS
  • Supports: Sync. CPU clock/SDRAM(system clock) 66/75/83/95/100 MHz : Async. CPU clock/SDRAM. Able to use 100MHz CPU and Low speed non-PC100 SDRAM .
  • CPU/SDRAM clock BIOS selectable
  • Ultra DMA 33MB/Sec and Ultra DMA 66MB/Sec
  • Power on by keyboard , Modem ring on, Wake On Lan
  • Supports hardware monitor function.
  • New BIOS support ACPI and meets ACPI spec for Windows 98
  • Year 2000 BIOS compliance and boot-up anti-virus support
  • Audio on board and meet PC98 require.
 
Let's talk about the target audience for this board first. If you are a cost conscious user on a limited budget, this board is in your league. As the specs say, it has on board 2D/3D AGP video (no AGP slot is available) and on board 3D enhanced audio. As a result you won't need to lay out the cash for a sound card and 2D video card. If you are in need of 3D gaming, you'll want to buy a PCI 3D card and a Voodoo 2 paired up with this board makes for a superb low cost gaming rig. Here's the kicker, this board will retail for around $99! Yup, that's a Video Card, Sound Card and motherboard for the price of just a low cost motherboard! We set our machine up as follows.

Our Test System

Mid Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, AMDK6(2)-400 Overclocked to 475 MHz., Leadtek WinFast 5300MA, 64MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, Maxtor 4320 17 GigD, H Metabyte Wicked 3D Voodoo 2 PCI Video Card, On Board ESS 1938 Solo 1 Audio, on board SIS S700 AGP Graphics and Memorex 48X CDROM, Win98 and Direct X 6.1 installed

 
*** One side note, this motherboard come equipped with the next generation in EIDE Controller technology, UDMA66! Unfortunately we haven't received our DMA66 capable drive yet (they are a rare breed at this juncture) but we will post a follow up to this review when there are hard drives available to support it. UDMA66 brings the EIDE interface to 66MB/sec peak data rates! That is faster than Wide SCSI and almost in the same league as Ultra 2 LVD SCSI which tops out at 80MB/sec. ***
     

Overclocking

This board is perfect for overclocking the K6(2). It has various available voltage settings from the standard K6 2.2V up through 3.3V in .1 increments. The bus speeds can be set up to 133 Mhz. with 95, 100, 105, 112, and 124 available in between. We were able to set our K6(2)-400 up to 475 MHz. at default voltage. We also were able to load Windows at 504 (4.5X112) but it locked after a few minutes of use. Something tells me better cooling would have stabilized the CPU. We felt this ability to overclock so well was a strong suit for the WinFast 5300MA.

     

Benchmarks

WinTune 98

Offline Test Results

 

CPU (1) AMD K6-2 with MultiMedia Extensions@476 MHz
Video Board WinFast 5300 - S700
Video Mode 1280x1024@16bits/pixel
RAM 56 MB
OS Windows 98 4.10.1998

 

 

Area Tested

Value

CPU Integer 1018.47 MIPS
CPU Floating Point 571.8572 MFLOPS
Video(2D) 35.68584 MPixels/s
Direct3D 47.46217 MPixels/s
OpenGL 5.329742 MPixels/s
Memory 713.6761 MB/s
Cached Disk 60.15886 MB/s
Uncached Disk 12.21642 MB/s

Let's point out a couple of things here. Notice the system memory number of 56MB? Well, the on board graphics controller uses a shared memory architecture. So you lose 8 meg. to your video processor if you set it up that way in the BIOS. You can also set it back to 4MB or less if you like. Get plenty of memory. It's cheap these days! Also, look at the 2D video score. This test was done in 1280X1024 and 35+ Mpixels/second is a solid score at that resolution.

On the subject of the video performance I would like to make two comments...

1. This board has on board graphics designed for the business not gaming user. It will work VERY well for gaming IF you add a Voodoo 2 card to your system.

2. The 2D desktop graphics visual quality of this board is absolutely gorgeous! I have never seen such a crisp, clear and bright display at high refresh rates at 1280X1024 resolution! This graphics chipset easily surpasses TNT based cards for 2D Desktop Image Quality! I would say it is even beyond the Matrox G200!

 

 

Winbench 99 1024X768, 16 Bit Color WinFast 5300
WinBench 99/Business Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 2050
WinBench 99/Business Graphics WinMark 99 87.2
WinBench 99/CPUmark32 908
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Bus:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 2050
WinBench 99/FPU WinMark 1570

We ran this test at 1024X768. Again, although these are the best numbers we've seen, this put this K6 based system in P2-450 range. Not bad for a motherboard and processor for hundreds less.

 

SiSoft Sandra 98 CPU Benchmark

Click image above for larger view...

SiSoft Sandra thinks the K6(2) at 475 Mhz. handily beats the P2-400!
     
So how did the system fair with Quake 2 on a Voodoo 2??? You're going to like this too...

Not too shabby at all! We used the AMD K6 3DNow drivers on this test. I would say mid 40s in Quake 2 is pretty good!

 

Finally, here's a look at the Video Driver panel for Win98.

Usually these types of set ups have pretty generic drivers and tools. I was pleased to see that this board came with this nice tweaking utility for the desktop.

 

Overall Impression

This is a truely unique boad that seems to be very stable and mature for a new product. We had no compatibility issues and installation went without a hitch! It took us literally 10 mins to install and configure the entire system. As a result, this board can also be very cost effective for resellers and systems configurators . Although this board is limited to the PCI bus it does have good capability in 2D graphics and 3D PCI solutions are inexpensive, good performance enhancements you can add in to complete the system. Finally, the on board audio was excellent with basic 3D spatializing effects and a standard feature set of wavetable etc.

The WinFast 5300MA got a Temp-O-Meter Rating of...

80 ! Big features in a little board!

 

-Davo 

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