by February 8, 2001 0 comments
Chipset: VIA 693a
Price: Rs 3,900
Software: Motherboard drivers; PC Cillin 98; Gamut 98 (an audio application); Bitware for Windows.

This board from Mercury is the second board in this group based on the VIA
693a chipset, the other being the Azza 693 ATX. The board can take in PIIIs and
Celerons in the FC-PGA packaging in its Socket 370 interface. All motherboard
settings can be done through the BIOS in jumper-free mode, which makes it easy
even for novice users to make changes without worrying about jumpers and
switches. Installing the board is easy and if you do get stuck, the accompanying
manual, which was also the best, will help you out. The board itself was laid
out on an ATX form factor and the ports were all onboard and color-coded, which
makes it easy to add and remove devices.

Again begin based on the VIA 693a, its AGP slot supports only 2X AGP, so it
lost points there. Expansion wise, the board can take a maximum of 768 MB of RAM
in its three DIMMs. In has four PCI and two ISA slots. It also has onboard
sound, so you are saved the cost of buying an extra sound card.

On the performance front, this board didn’t do as well as the others in its
group. Its scores in all the benchmarks although respectable, couldn’t match
the best. Interestingly the Azza 693 ATX, which was also based on the VIA693a
chipset, was equal in performance with this board. Thus the Mercury 693aFSX
ended up with 78.5, at the bottom of the table.

Price wise, the story is completely different for this board. It managed an
overall score of 83, which was the joint highest with the Azza. This was due to
its extremely attractive price of Rs 3,450, which made it the cheapest
motherboard in our shootout this year.

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