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Shuttle's HOT649A
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Motherboards
Author: HH Editor
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Shuttle's HOT649A - Page 1
 

Shuttle's HOT-649A

Heavy Duty Hardware - Dual CPU and SCSI 2 Injected!

 
When the good folks at Shuttle contacted me about reviewing a couple of their motherboards, I was all too happy to oblige. Shuttle is well known as a "Cadillac" motherboard company with top shelf quality. What arrived on my doorstep a few days later was a wonderful surprise! The Shuttle HOT-649A is a very different kind of motherboard from a number of aspects which we will delve into. We at Hot Hardware, are always looking for something unique in our product reviews and Shuttle has provided just the vehicle.

I told you it was "heavy duty" ! Although this board is larger than most because of its dual setup and on board SCSI, it is not a prohibitive factor with respect to most Mid Tower cases. The dimensions are 305mm x 244mm (that's 12" X 9.6"). If you have a Full Tower, you'll have more than enough room. Here are the rest of the specs.
     
  • ATX Form Factor Layout 305mm X 240mm
  • Slot 1 for 233/66~450/100 MHz Pentium II Processor
  • Built-In Voltage Regulator
  • yboard and Mouse wake up
  • USB (Universal Serial Bus) Connectors
  • 168-pin DIMM x 4
  • Supports 100MHz SDRAM (PC100)
  • Total memory up to 1024MB
  • Intel 440BX AGPset

     

  • FW82443BX PCI/A.G.P. & Memory Controller
  • FW82371EB PCI ISA IDE Accelerator (PIIX4E)
  • Primary and Secondary PCI IDE Ports
  • Supports PIO and Bus Master IDE Mode 4 Timing
  • Supports *Ultra 33* Synchronous DMA mode
  • Transfer rates up to 33 MBytes/sec
  • Supports CD-ROM, LS-120 and ZIP Boot-Up
  • Supports Intel "Wake On Lan"
  • On Board I/O Controller
  • 1 Floppy Port
  • 2 Serial Ports (16550 Fast UART Compatible)
  • 1 Parallel Port (SPP,EPP,ECP Port)
  • IrDA TX/RX Header (option)

     

  • Adaptec 7890 Ultra II SCSI Controller and 3860 LVD SCSI transceiver
  • A.G.P. Slot x 1
  • Supports AGP 66MHz/133MHz (Sideband) Devices
  • 32-bit PCI Bus Slot x 4
  • 16-bit ISA Bus Slot x 3
  • System Health Monitor
  • Flash EEPROM
  • AWARD PCI BIOS with PnP
  • Green and DMI Features
     
This time Shuttle through in everything but the kitchen sink! What a great list of features this board has, including the on board Adaptec Ultra II LVD SCSI ! Since our pals at TJT hooked us up with an IBM LVD SCSI Drive, we'll be zipping along at THE fastest data rate in Hard Drive technology at 80Mb/Second! The features of the HOT-649A don't stop there. This board is by far the most configurable board we have ever tested here at Hot Hardware. There are a series of jumpers for Hard Configuration of bus speeds and multipliers. In addition, Shuttle has a Soft Configure CPU setup in their BIOS for all the settings of the CPU except voltage. CPU Voltage tweaking IS available via a jumper bank and you can set it up with voltages up to 10% over the default CPU voltage! This is a feature up until now that was only available through Abit boards. Shuttle now offers this solution with a host of other features. You can set this board up with bus speeds at multipliers up to 5X. But wait kids, there's more! This board comes packed with Front Side Bus Speed settings including 66, 75, 83, 100, 103, 105, 110, 112, 115, 120, 124, 133, 140 and 150 Mhz. ! This board is an overclocker's dream.
     

 Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium 2 -333 Overclocked to 525, Shuttle HOT-649A Dual Processor Motherboard, 128 MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, IBM Deskstar 10GXP 10GB 7200 RPM EIDE UDMA Hard Drive, IBM 4.5GB DDRS34560D 7200 RPM Ultra SCSI 2 Drive, STB Velocity 4400 TNT w/ 16 MB AGP Video Card, Metabyte Wicked 3D 12MB Voodoo 2 PCI Card, Monster Sound MX300 PCI Audio Card, Toshiba SDM1202 3rd. Gen. 4.8X DVD/32X CDROM, TNT Detonator Drivers.

Dual P2-333 CPUs not available at time of testing. A follow up report with this configuration is forthcoming

 


Overclocking

At this juncture, I feel this board is my personal favorite in this department. Although I would have liked to have been able to tweak the voltage a little higher than just 10% over default, Shuttle really only has made me more cautious about protecting my investment in a Hand Selected Overclockable CPU. Throwing too much voltage at an overclocking stability issue usually doesn't help much and will definitely put you at risk.

On the other hand, because of the endless selection of front side bus speeds, the test results for this review were prepared at the 105X5 speed setting for a zippy 525 Mhz.! This is a speed we have not been able to get our P2-333 SL2TV Irish CPU to run at before. This board allowed us to squeeze just a few more clock cycles out of the P2 with total stability. The Shuttle HOT-649A really kicks!

Here are some numbers...

     

Benchmarks

WinTune 98

Offline Test Results

 

CPU

(1) Intel Pentium II with MMX@510 MHz

Video Board

NVidia RIVA TNT

Video Mode

1152x864@16bits/pixel

RAM

128 MB

OS

Windows 98 4.10.1998

Area Tested

Value

CPU Integer

1517.18 MIPS

CPU Floating Point

608.7032 MFLOPS

Video(2D)

107.19717 MPixels/s

Direct3D

121.8165 MPixels/s

OpenGL

72.10445 MPixels/s

Memory

888.4966 MB/s

Cached Disk

96.55611 MB/s

Uncached Disk

3.383601 MB/s

     
Dig those MFLOPS and MIPS! This is the fastest set up we have ever had running at the Davo-Lab! The same CPU at 515 on an Abit board ran at 1494 MIPS and 599 MFLOPS. Again, the 649A shines! Sorry folks, we didn't have a dual set up for our tests. Also the lack of mainstream apps and games on NT or another multithreaded OS, really proves to be a waste of the extra horsepower of the second processor. However, Quake 3 Arena is coming soon! It is touted to be multithreaded. I also feel it won't be long before we are in a parallel processing PC market! Stay tuned for a follow up Dual CPU Feature with this board.
 
Here are some Hard Disk scores with the IBM 7200 RPM Ultra 2 LVD SCSI Drive we will be reviewing shortly. Look at these numbers. The HOT-649A's on board Adaptec SCSI controller has serious throughput!
     

 

Shuttle649A with IBM SCSI Drive

 
WinBench 99/Business Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 3500
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/Bus:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 3500
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:AVS/Express 3.4 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 7130
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:FrontPage 98 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 40900
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:MicroStation SE (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 13300
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Overall (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 9390
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Photoshop 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 4950
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Premiere 4.2 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 8480
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Sound Forge 4.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 11400
WinBench 99/Disk Playback/HE:Visual C++ 5.0 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 10300
WinBench 99/High-End Disk WinMark 99 (Thousand Bytes/Sec) 9390

     
To put this in perspective, the next best Business Disk Winmark we have seen was 2530 from the 7200 RPM EIDE IBM Drive on an Abit board. Also the next best High End Disk Mark was 8580 for that same drive. Shuttle and LVD Ultra SCSI 2 ! A perfect match!

 

Overall Impression

Throughout every test and configuration we tried with the 649A, it exhibited the utmost stability. We had EIDE and SCSI 2 peacefully co-existing as well as a heavily overclocked bus. I am also very impressed with the general construction of this board. Shuttle uses 105 degree C capacitors for heat stability and long life. They also have a well laid out design with the 649A. Yes, the ATX Power connector is in the front of the board away from the CPU Slot. I liked this board so much that it is staying in my personal system until something better comes along! My guess is that Shuttle will be delivering that product some day too, if they keep up the good work!

 

 

The HOT-649A! Gets a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter Rating of....

90 ! That's why they call it the "HOT-649A"!

 

-Davo 


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