by January 2, 2000 0 comments

We reviewed 12 motherboards in this category. Most of these were based on the Intel 810 chipset with onboard graphics and sound. All of them for the
Celeron. Three of these had dual sockets, so we tested them both with a Celeron and a PIII. They are treated separately.

The winners in this category are the XO Tronics J 610 and Intel Desktop Board CA 810E which are covered in “The Best Motherboards”, page 92 in this issue.

Vintron 810L

This is a Socket 370 motherboard with Baby AT form factor, onboard graphics, and sound. It also has an AMR slot. The motherboard layout is well configured with no interference between any of the cables and connectors. Setting up the motherboard is easy, as detailed explanations are provided in its
comprehensive manual. This motherboard scored average in features and performance.
 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 4,155
Software: Drivers for various sound cards like Yamaha, Crystal, ESS, Avance Logic, etc; ATI graphics drivers; drivers for various chipsets including Intel 810, 440LX and 440BX; PC-Cillin anti-virus software; DirectX 5; BIOS update utility. 
Website: www.vintron.com  

Galaxy EP3VB

This motherboard is based on the Via VT82596 chipset and was the lowest-priced in its category. The board has a Micro ATX form factor, but its layout isn’t too great. The IDE connectors are placed between the ATX power socket and PCI slots. So, a card inserted in the PCI slot will interfere with the cables.

One advantage of this motherboard is that it has an AGP slot, so you can use a display card of your choice. However, there’s no AMR slot. The motherboard comes with a good software bundle, being packed with Norton AntiVirus and Norton Ghost–a hard disk replicator. 

The motherboard didn’t fare too well in performance vis-à-vis the others in this category, and lagged mainly in the gaming benchmarks. In fact, Quake II didn’t run on it at all. It couldn’t pick up too many points in features either. 

If you want to build a machine mainly for running business applications, where features and gaming performance don’t matter at all, this motherboard is a good choice. 
 

Chipset: Via VT82596
Price: Rs 3,100
Software: Norton AntiVirus; Norton Ghost (hard disk replicator).
Website: www.epox.com  

XO Tronic Socket 370 810L/DC100 Baby AT

The main advantage of this motherboard, like all other XO boards in this shootout, is its price. It has a Baby AT form factor, but the layout is very congested. The IDE connectors touch the DIMM slots for RAM. Also, its floppy drive connector is not bunched with the IDE connectors, but is located at the other end, where it interferes with the VGA connector. The motherboard doesn’t have any USB ports, which are important, given their growing popularity. It comes with a well-organized manual with all jumper configurations explained clearly, but more visual elements would have added value. 


The motherboard didn’t do too well in performance and features. Whereas others scored 18 or above in Business Winstone99, this one stood at 17.5. It scored average in gaming benchmarks too.
So if features aren’t a major concern for you, this motherboard is a good choice. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 3,600
Software: Drivers for various sound cards like Yamaha, Crystal, ESS, Avance Logic, etc; ATI graphics drivers; drivers for various chipsets including Intel 810, 440LX, and 440BX; PC-Cillin anti-virus software; DirectX 5; BIOS update utility. 
Website: www.xotronic.com  

XO Tronic J 611BF

This motherboard is similar to the XO J610BF, and again fares well in pricing. The motherboard has a Baby AT form factor, and its layout and design are excellent. It has sockets for both ATX and AT power supply. It has a PS/2 port and two USB ports. An AMR slot would have given it some more points. Also, the motherboard sent to us didn’t contain any driver CD. 

The manual is not as well organized as that of other motherboards, and more descriptions with visuals would definitely add value.
The motherboard is an above-average performer in productivity applications. In gaming, it performed well in all benchmarks, but was slightly behind in Quake II.
Overall, this motherboard is suitable for productivity applications and light gaming. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 3,600
Software: None.
Website: www.xotronic.com  

Asus MEW-B

This was the most feature-rich motherboard in its category, but lost out on price, as it was the second-most expensive motherboard in its category. As for the layout, it has a Baby AT form factor. The components are well placed and marked on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The motherboard has DIP switches instead of conventional jumpers, which make configuration easy. It can also be configured through the BIOS. Both ATX and AT power supply connectors are provided. It also has an ISA slot and an AMR slot. It comes with a detailed and comprehensive manual that includes lots of visuals, photographs, and screenshots, and describes the installation process clearly. 

The motherboard was average in running productivity applications, but didn’t fare too well in gaming.
If you want a feature-rich motherboard with all the bells and whistles, this one is a good choice, but at a price.

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 6,948
Software: Acrobat Reader 4; Award Flash utilities; various audio drivers like Crystal, CS429x etc; Yamaha XG Studio; BIOS utilities; DirectX 6; Motorola modem drivers; graphics drivers; Intel LAN drivers; PC-Cillin anti-virus software; PC Probe.
Website: www.asus.com.tw   

Azza J 610BF

This motherboard is average on performance and features, and lost points on price. The layout of its Baby AT form factor is well organized. It has sockets for both ATX and AT power supply, as well as an AMR slot. It has two DIMM slots, which support a maximum RAM of 512 MB. It has onboard graphics and sound along with four PCI slots that make it suitable for further expansion. 

In performance, the motherboard didn’t fare as well as the others in Business Winstone99, and wasn’t very good in gaming performance either. In gaming benchmarks, we got a varying result–the score was high in one of the games, while the other refused to run altogether. However with Quake II, the results with both software and OpenGL support were very good. 

The manual could be more comprehensive with more visual details. Also it uses jumpers instead of DIP switches.

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 4,800
Software: Intel, Ali, and Via chipset drivers; Intel 810 and SiS VGA drivers; DirectX 5 and 6; BIOS utilities; AD1881 and Ct1373 audio drivers; PC Health 4; ESS Audio Rack; Xing MPEG Player.
Website: www.azza.com  

Crusader J 610BF

Another Intel 810 chipset-based motherboard. It has a Baby AT form factor board with a design layout similar to other boards of the same form factor. There’s no interference of cables or add-on components during installation. However, the manual isn’t very good–it should be specific to the motherboard with better visuals and descriptions.

The motherboard is an average performer in running productivity applications and 3D applications. When it came to gaming, results of IGL (Intel Game Launcher) showed a normal performer, but the Quake II results were surprisingly impressive. It gave good results with both software and OpenGL support. This means that you’ll get acceptable gaming from a machine built around this motherboard.
Overall, the motherboard is a good buy as far as price and performance are concerned. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 3,442
Software: Intel, Ali, and Via chipset drivers; Intel and SiS graphics drivers; Ct1373 audio drivers; ESS Audio Rack; Intel 810 graphics drivers; DirectX 6; Flash BIOS utilities; Xing MPEG player.
Website: www.xotronic.com 

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