Abit's SA6R i815E With Highpoint ATA100 RAID Controller

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Abit's SA6R - i815E With Highpoint ATA100 RAID Controller
The i815E board with an attitude and a 1GHz. Flip Chip to back it up

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
11/1/00

 
Motherboards mature, like fine wine as the months go on, after a new chipset is released.  Intel has had the highly anticipated i815E integrated chipset out for a few months now and the Motherboard Manufacturers are really beginning to polish their product line offerings based on this chipset. At first, we saw some pretty straight forward designs with not too many frills or extras beyond the i815E's well rounded feature set.  Now things are starting to get a little more exotic when it comes to i815E boards and there are always a few vendors out in front with the "bells and whistles".

The Abit SA6R is a follow on product to the SE6, a board that we recently evaluated here.  The SA6R is the SE6's "Big Brother" in almost every way.  Abit not only added the High Point HPT370 chipset to the mix for added EIDE channels and RAID support but their patented "SoftMenu III" BIOS CPU setup now gives over-clockers the  "tweakability" that was missing in the SE6.  However, a long list of features and all the "specsmanship" in the world does not a perfect motherboard make.  Let's see if Abit added a little more than just glitz to this new Intel infused power-house.

Specifications and Features of the Abit SA6R
Oh, you want that?  It's in there...

Abit does a nice job of detailing their motherboards on their site, so we decided to forego the long list of specs and just clip this picture for your convenience and reference.  Let's dig a little deeper here into the specs of this rather large board. 

Click all images for full viewing

 

    

Alright then, a keen sense of the obvious would tell you that this is a rather large board.  4 separate EIDE channels as well as the High Point HTP370 RAID Controller chip, add to the board's real-estate consumption.  However, with the feature set that the SA6R packs, it is no wonder the board is larger than most of its i815E counterparts.  From 6 PCI Slots, to on board Audio, Video, Integrated ATA100 RAID Controller, Health Monitoring and SoftMenu III, the SA6R has the most complete feature set of any board we have seen to date, from either the VIA or Intel camps.

A note on quality and design:
 
General construction of the board is very clean and quality is evident throughout.  There are three fan power headers positioned around the CPU and lower left hand corner of the board where a case intake fan could plug in.  Layout and component orientation is generally good with the exception of the ATX Power Connector, which is a little bit of a stretch behind the CPU socket.  The BX133 board from Abit, has the best location of this connector we have seen yet.  Why they couldn't squeeze it  in like the BX133, should be fairly obvious to you however.  There just isn't a lot of room in and around the CPU socket on this board, to fit it in, like there is on the BX133.  Still, we would like to see them try, even if it meant making the SA6R a little larger than it already is.

Well then, let's not just sit around looking at this thing.  We need to wire this Hot Rod up!

Setup, Installation and BIOS Settings

 

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