Shuttle's HOT681Z .com

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Shuttle Spacewalker HOT-681Z

Intel ZX Based Socket 370 Motherboard

 
Socket 370, Intel's answer to the low end system market. After the staggering success of the Slot 1 Celeron, Intel had a problem. Though its marketing machine was busy pushing to the main stream end users that the Celeron was a much lower end cpu and not as capable as its big brother the Mighty P2, the online community learned other wise. Overclocking the Celeron was a snap. Motherboard manufacturers began bending an ear to the throngs of web denizens who wanted the ability to over clock the rather inexpensive cpu. As a result, they built overcloccking as a feature into their motherboards. Thus the Celeron started to encroach on Intels P2 sales. Quickly jumping into action, Intel Releases a new type of Celeron that fits into a new type of socket, the Socket 370. The new socket plus a new lower end chipset that promised to be even more inexpensive than a Slot 1 Celeron and a BX motherboard. My personal take on this was that Intel was trying to get rid of the Slot 1 Celeron to get things rolling again with the P2/P3. The debate rages on to which answer is really true but one things is for certain, the Socket 370 based Celerons are just as overclockable as their Slot 1 cousins.
 
Enter the Shuttle HOT-681Z...

HOT-681Z Image not available. This is the HOT-681 which has the same layout but with only 2 DIMM Sockets. We will update this when it is available.

 

  •  Processor: PPGA Celeron? processors 300 ~ 500 MHz.
  • Chipset Intel: 440ZX AGPset
  • Memory: Supports two banks of normal or PC100 SDRAM maximum memory size up to 512 MB
  • Configurable support for EC(Error Checking)
  • Accelerated Graphics Port Interface: A.G.P. 66/133MHz 3.3V devices supported
  • Power Management: Provides four power management modes: Full on, Doze, Standby, and Suspend
  • Low EMI (Automatic clock shut-off of unused PCI/SDRAM)
  • "Advanced Configuration and Power Interface" Ready for PC'97
  • Dual Function Power Button with Suspend/Soft
  • Power-off
  • PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse and Modem Ring Power-on
  • Bundled with Intel LDCM (LANDesk Client Manager
  • Software) for remote monitoring of system resources
  • Temperature Monitoring and Alert
  • Voltages Monitoring and Alert
  • Fan Status Monitoring
  • AGP (Acceleration Graphic Port) slot x 1
  • 32-bit PCI bus slot x 4
  • 16-bit ISA bus slot x 3
  • 2-channel Enhanced IDE port support Ultra 33/DMA
  • One floppy port
  • One parallel port supports SPP, EPP and ECP
  • Two 16C550 compatible UARTS serial ports support
  • Infra-red communication
  • One PS/2 mouse port and one PS/2 Keyboard port
  • Two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports
  • One EISCA Cooler Connector
  • One SB-Link Connector
  • Award PnP BIOS
  • ATX-Format, dimension: 305 mm x 170 mm
 
Shuttle's Hot 681z Motherboard is a socket 370 mothboard based on the low end ZX chipset. There are two rather painful problems with this chipset and the socket 370 architecture. First there are only 2 Dimm Sockets. The other, the fact that it takes only Celeron PPGA based CPU's leaving not a fantastically large upgrade path. Rumors abound about a socket 370 P3 but until that is confirmed, there is only one type of CPU for this chipset as well as any socket 370 board.
 
The layout of the board is well thought out. Ide and floppy connectors located close to where you will be attaching said devices. The fan power placements on the motherboard were also convenient. The board was set up in the 4/3/1 standard for the expansion slots. Personally I prefer the 5/3/1 but with the introduction of newer video cards that really don't require a daughter card for 3D acceleration , this configuration still has some life left to it. My only real problems with the board design itself were the placement of the jumpers for over-riding B21 (66/100 bus auto detect), for the clock speed/bus speed and for clearing the CMOS.

Yup... you read it right, jumpers. The U CPis fully configurable on the motherboard via jumpers. Bus speeds up to 133mhz and multipliers up to 8x. Shuttle has lofty ambitions for the Socket 370 chipset and maybe they know just a little bit more about what is coming down the pipe for the chipset than we do. For now, having the additional multipliers up to 8x really does not gain you anything considering all Celerons are locked at a multiplier (our 300/a was locked lovingly at 4.5x). The bus speed range was quite varied and helpful for the overclocker in all of us (66/75/83/100/103/112/133). We managed to get the system up and pumping at 464mhz with no problems what so ever . We did manage to post and go into DOS at 504mhz, but that's all we managed to do. :>

Please remember..when overclocking your mileage may vary with the parts you choose. That's why I recommend checking with
our sponsor for some guaranteed overclockable cpus. :>
     
Working within the awkward confines of this chipset, Shuttle has managed to produce a rather acceptable board. HotHardware used a Celeron 300/a ppg CPU provided by Triptonics for our testing purposes (thanks guys! you rule!). The CPU itself was automatically detected during the posting process and the system booted with actually nothing needing to be done in the bios or on the motherboard itself. Those of you interested in a board that can quickly be installed without to much hassle should take note. Just look to the info-sheet provided for info on the motherboard setup.
 

 Our Test System

Full Tower Addtronics 6890A w/300 watt ps
Intel Celeron 300/A PPG
Shuttle Hot-681Z
128mb PC100 CAS 2 Ram
IBM 7200rpm 10Gig EIDE UDMA Hard Drive
ATI Rage Pro 2x AGP (OEM) (1024x786x32bit)
Sound Blaster Live!
Hi-Val TrueX 40x Cdrom
Windows 98 w/DX6.1

 
Here is the smack on the board as laid down by CPUBench 99!
 

 

ZD CPU Bench 99

300MHz.

4.5x66MHz.

450MHz.

4.5x100MHz.

464MHz.

4.5x103MHz.

Integer Ops (MIPS) 878 1318 1354
Floating Point (MFLOPS) 346 520 534
Integer Application Sim. 69 106 109
Floating Point App Sim. 74 111 114
MMX App. Sim 69 105 108
 
It's very obvious that the best solution for this cpu and motherboard combination is just to bump the clock speed to 100mhz. The performance is rock solid and the risk is minimal when you use correct heat precautions. These are great numbers for the CPU on this board and are in line with their cousin, the Pentium 2.
     
The bottom line is that this is a very decent low-end motherboard. For those of you looking to save some money when putting together your gaming rig, I would have no problem whatsoever recommending you the HOT-681Z with 2, 64Mb PC100 DIMMS, a Voodoo 3 3000, and a Socket 370 Celeron . You'll find it easy to configure. Although you take a step backwards by configuring the CPU via jumpers instead of their usual soft-menu like interface for their bios. The quality of the components of the board itself as well as the layout, will lead you to a simple setup for your Celeron gaming machine.
     
We gave the Shuttle HOT-681Z a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter rating of...

77

-Chris Jackson

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