by January 2, 1999 0 comments

The upgrade path for your PC,
particularly for the CPU, is determined by your choice of the motherboard. Your choice
today will decide not only the number of expansion slots you have for future use but, will
also limit your options of processor brands and bus speeds. Choosing an older motherboard
could also keep you out of the game when it comes to USB peripherals and AGP cards.

This doesn’t mean that
you’ll have an upgrade path forever, keeping the same motherboard. Newer CPUs will
need more bus speed, higher clock speeds, and have more functions integrated into them.
Even the pin configuration could be different. Ideally, you should look for an year of
upgradable life for your motherboard. That is, toward the end of that period, you should
still be able to replace your older CPU with a new one. (The machine could conceivably
work for many more years.) Both Socket 7 (with Super 7 motherboards) and Slot 1 pass this
test.

Cabinets for different motherboards

Motherboard

Width

Depth

Case

ATX

12″

9.6″

ATX

Mini-ATX

11.2″

8.2″

ATX

NLX 8-9″ 10-13.6″ Slimline

Slot 1 is for PIIs and Celerons.
The Celeron is also available in a different form-factor requiring a Socket 370
motherboard. By the time you read this article, this board and the CPU may be available in
the Indian market. Socket 7 originally made its advent with the Pentium chips. Intel
subsequently discontinued Socket 7 and moved on to Slot 1. AMD, Cyrix, and IDT continue to
support Socket 7.

Initially, both boards had a bus speed
of 66 MHz. Subsequently, Super 7 motherboards made their appearance with higher bus speeds
(83, 100, 112 and 120 MHz), and support for USB and AGP. Similarly, Slot 1 motherboards
have moved on to 100 MHz bus. And sometime later this year, both are expected to scale up
to 133 MHz. Super 7 motherboards, along with the processor and the heat sink, still give
you an edge over the Slot 1-Celeron, when it comes to price.

If you are buying a motherboard today,
don’t go for anything less than a 100 MHz bus (other than in Socket 370 boards which
have a 66 MHz bus).

Motherboards come in different sizes,
called form-factor. The form-factor of your motherboard decides the type of cabinet you
should buy.

Some motherboards integrate audio and
video on board. While this can help reduce overall system costs to some extent, such
integration would become useless, if you want to upgrade your audio or graphics–you
would probably require a new card.

Name

Mfr

Type

Bus speed

Price (Rs)

Vendor

SE440 BX-2

Intel

Slot 1

100 MHz

8,500

SES Computers & Technologies

6220 440 BX

ATrend

Slot 1

100 MHz

5,900

SES Computers & Technologies

6310 440 EX

ATrend

Slot 1

100 MHz

3,750

SES Computers & Technologies

P 5A-B Asus Super 7 100 MHz 5,900 Classic Network & Computers

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