by January 2, 2000 0 comments

This set comprises motherboards with Slot 1 for PII and PIII processors and an AGP slot for putting a display adapter of your choice. The resulting difference was overwhelming. The winner in this category was the Asus 440BX P3B-F.

Mercury KOB ZX98 AT

This motherboard is based on Intel’s 440BX chipset and supports all existing Slot 1 processors. You have the option of using an AT or an ATX power supply with it. The motherboard design is particularly good, and all the slots and ports are clearly marked. It has two DIMMs that together take 256 MB of SDRAM. Expansion isn’t a problem with four PCI and two ISA slots. 

Where performance is concerned, the board didn’t put a wrong foot forward in any of the tests and even got the highest score in Intel Game launcher. It’s also very well priced for its category. So why did it end up behind the Asus P3B-F? 

The first reason is that the Asus is built on an ATX form factor, and so has all ports onboard. So, it scored points in ease of installation. The P3B-F also had more expansion room than the Mercury. Finally, Asus motherboards stand heads above the rest in the quality of their manuals. In the case of the Mercury, the manual contained information for 16 different models of motherboards, which made it quite confusing to read. A separate manual for each board would have given them additional points. 

Chipset: Intel 440BX
Price: Rs 4,100
Software: Drivers for the motherboard.

Galaxy EP6VB

This board from Galaxy is based on Via’s VT82596 chipset and supports all existing Slot 1 processors. It has two DIMM slots, which together take 256 MB of SDRAM. With four PCI and two ISA slots, you don’t have to worry about expansion. It also has an AGP port, where you can plug in your graphics card. 
It scored 20.9 in the Business Winstone 99 tests. But that’s where the good news ends. Let’s take a look at its gaming and graphics performance. It scored 524 in 3D WinBench, while all the others in this category scored 1,010. Moving on to the Intel Game Launcher, its average rating was a mere 123 while the others went up to 250. Thus, this motherboard isn’t equipped to handle graphics or gaming as well as the others in its category. Its main advantage is its competitive price.

Chipset: Via VT82596
Price: Rs 3,050
Software: Norton AntiVirus; Norton Ghost (Hard disk
replicator); motherboard drivers.

Asus P2-99B

Based on the Intel 440ZX chipset, this motherboard supports all existing Slot 1 processors. The motherboard is built on a Baby AT form factor and its size is relatively smaller than the other boards. It has three DIMM slots, which can house a maximum of 384 MB of SDRAM. It has three PCI slots, which seems a bit low for a motherboard in this category, although it does have two ISA slots. 

The motherboard can operate on both AT and ATX power supply. This is an added advantage in case you have an older power supply. With a combination of a PIII and an AGP, this board performs well in graphics, gaming, and productivity. It got a Winstone rating of 21.3, which was the highest in its category. It also got the highest rating in 3D Winbench as well as Intel Game launcher. So the board is unbeatable where performance is concerned. The manual too was really good. 

So where does the board lose out? In this category, where performance and features are paid the highest attention, the board does seem to have limited expansion capabilities vis-à-vis the others. It also lost points due to its hefty price tag.

Chipset: Intel 440ZX
Price: Rs 6,648
Software: LAN Desk Client Manager; PC-Cillin; PC Probe; motherboard drivers.

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