Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro Barebones PC

Article Index

BIOS, HH Test Bed and Synthetic Testing Part I

The BIOS of the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro
Tying it all Together

The BIOS of the EQ3501-Pro offers all of the features one would expect from a full sized unit, including advanced voltage and frequency settings for overclocking.  The unit is also equipped with Soltek's Smart Acceleration Technology that allows for auto overclocking based on profiles in the BIOS.  These profiles ranged from Enhanced, Performance and Maximum modes and will adjust the processor's speed as needed.  Although these adjustments are dynamic, we can tell you that our 3GHz chip ran at 3.09GHz, 3.17GHz and 3.23GHz respectively at POST. 

    

From a functionality standpoint, the BIOS has what you need for successful tweaking of system performance.  The DDR memory can be set to run from 2.6v-2.9v in steps of .1v, while the Chipset voltage ranged from 1.5-1.8v in the same stages.  The CPU voltage offered a wide scale, from 1.425 – 1.60v in increments of .0125v.  The FSB could be set from 200 to 350MHz, giving more than enough headroom for overclocking.

    

Memory Timings were the standard fare, sporting CAS 2, 2.5 and 3 options and RAS to CAS and RAS Precharge options from 2 to 5 clocks.  The memory frequency could be locked at 333MHz and 400MHz as well as having an Auto setting.

Clearly, the BIOS of the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro comes well equipped and quite configurable.  We are not a huge fan of Soltek's menu layout, but the BIOS comes with all the trimmings.  Next, we'll shift focus to performance.  First, we'll layout out the HH test bed, then we'll try our hand at a bit of overclocking.

HotHardware Test Bed
Riding High

Hardware

Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro (i915G)
ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe (i915G)
Pentium 4 530 @ 3.0GHz
MSI
GeForce PCX 5750
1GB PQI PC-4200
Integrated Audio
Western Digital ATA100
30GB - 7200RPM
Artec DVD+/-R/RW

Software

Windows XP Professional SP-2
DirectX 9.0c
NVIDIA Forceware - Graphics v66.93
SiSoft SANDRA 2004 Pro
Content Creation Winstone 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Unreal Tournament 2004
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
XMPEG
Windows Media Encoder 9


Overclocking the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro
Aim Low

When it comes to overclocking our 3GHz Pentium 4 socket 775, this chip has a proven track record.  In a recent review, we managed to hit a top speed of 3.93GHz.  On this occasion, however, we didn't come close to that number.  The Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro appeared to be hampered by a similar problem we reported with a previously reviewed 915G board, where anything higher than a 217MHz bus speed resulted in the system recovering from a failed overclock, automatically resetting the bus to 200MHz.  We updated the BIOS to the latest version, tried with various video cards and on-board video and the result was the same each and every time.  As it stands now, overclocking with the EQ3501 is a lukewarm experience.  With that 217MHz bus speed, we were able to push our processor to 3.25GHz, but that extra 250MHz didn't give any measurable performance gains worth reporting.  If our experience changes in the future, we'll be sure to update this review and let you know.

SiSoft Sandra 4
Synthetic Staple

Before we get down and dirty with the benchmarking phase of any motherboard review, we like to give the hardware a quick run of SANDRA.  This utility does a good job at giving us insight as to how a certain configuration compares to its peers.  By comparing the results to SANDRA's large internal database, we can get a rough idea of how the system stacks up.  Here we focus on the three most important components, CPU, Multimedia and Memory performance.  First we ran the tests at the default speed, then we ran them again overclocked.

    
Default Clock Speed: CPU - Multimedia - Memory

    
Overclocked Speed: CPU - Multimedia - Memory

At stock speeds, performance was inline with what we would expect to see.  Once we overclocked the system, we did see fair gains in the CPU tests and the memory posted decent gains as well.  Nonetheless, these gains did not result in any substantial performance increase in our tests.

Tags:  Barebone, LTE, PC, Barebones, bar, Q3, NES, One, pro, AR, K

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