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

 
Let's take a little side step and have a look at some of the gear we used in our test machine.  As you may or may not have known, Intel has released the 1GHz. FCPGA (or Flip Chip as it is known) and we used this as our processor for testing here.  Let's take a look at this little gem.

Installation / Setup With The SA6R
A new motherboard call for a new processor, right?

Behold the 1GHz. Pentium III FCPGA

 

This is pretty much representative of what you'll see in a retail processor for this speed grade from Intel.  The heat sink is from a company called Showa Aluminum.  This is definitely a custom made sink for Intel, because these folks obviously aren't set up for general distribution of a specific product but only for their metal processing services.  It does work VERY well though.  On par with the performance level of a large Global Win unit.

We were supplied an Engineering Sample chip from Intel which is to be used for testing purposes only and not a retail product.  This chip has the multiplier unlocked and can be set up a number of ways with the multiplier adjustments of a given motherboard like the SA6R.  This allows for very easy configuration and bench testing for folks like us.  As a result, we can set this baby up as a P3-866, 933 or 1GHz. and get very solid real world results with bus speeds running within the retail product specifications etc.  Regardless, as you are aware, this processor when coupled with the right motherboard, can really deliver on performance.  We'll have more details on just kind of performance you can expect, shortly.

The BIOS:

Folks this is one sexy BIOS... I mean as BIOS goes that is..

 FSB Clocks                           Clock Division                           DRAM Timings
   


      Health Monitoring              High Point RAID BIOS              Integrated Peripherals
   

First things first... the FSB settings with the PLL Clock Driver on this board, as you can see, has a range from 50 - 250MHz., all in 1MHz. increments.  Now that folks, is a thing of beauty.  You can also select divider settings that will break down the Front Side Bus to various derivatives for your SDRAM and PCI clocks.  For example you can select 4:4:1 and 4:3:1 for a Front Side Bus setting of 133MHz.  This will give you 133, 133, and 33 respectively for CPU, SDRAM and PCI clocks, in the case of the 4:4:1 setting and 133, 100, and 33 for the 4:3:1 setting.  This feature will provide good flexibility for users who want high bus speeds for the processor but their memory needs something more relaxed, say at PC100 specs.  The AGP bus speed is always set to 1/2 the Front Side Bus or 66MHz.  Also there is a CPU core voltage adjustment that allows you to turn up or down the CPU supply voltage in .5 V increments up to 1.95V, in the case of a Coppermine P3.

RAID Rocks!

The other feature that really stands out here is the High Point RAID BIOS and its capabilities in general.  We installed 2 ATA100, 7200 RPM IBM drives and created a "Mode 0" array, which is the highest performance RAID setting you can choose.  Mode 0 "stripes" the information across the two drives and allows you to set up one large partition so the OS sees it as one drive.  In our case, we used two 15 Gig drives and Windows 98SE saw it as a one 30 Gig, once we partitioned and formatted it in RAID 0 mode.  For a little more detail as to how this setup works, check out this page of our SE6 review.  It even has diagrams and pictures.  :)  Setting up a RAID array is a lot easier than you may think however and has become a very practical means of increasing you storage capacity and performance!  You don't even have to use identical drives to do it.

Now that we are set up.  Let's crank it up!

Over-clocking and Benchmarks !

 

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