SuperMicro – 370SBA review

Socket 370 (Celeron) motherboard
Photo of SuperMicro – 370SBA
£75 + VAT

With Intel’s recent change of packaging for its Celeron range of processors, from a slot design back to a more conventional socket arrangement, a whole raft of new motherboards from various vendors is appearing to support the newer, more compact, chip design. One such board is this Socket 370 ATX unit from SuperMicro.

At the heart of the board is, of course, the Socket 370 receptacle, which has a ZIF lever to avoid chip damage during insertion or removal. Next to this is Intel’s 440BX chipset, allowing SuperMicro to offer an AGP port (rated at 2x maximum). Although some board vendors are moving away from ISA, this board has three such 16-bit slots available, although one of these shares its backplate with one of the four PCI slots on the board.

Supporting up to 768MB of memory via its three SDRAM DIMM sockets, the 370SBA features two IDE ports, a floppy port, an ECP/EPP parallel port, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, two serial ports, an infra-red header and two USB ports. The majority of these ports are physically mounted at the rear, in accordance with ATX specifications. All of the board’s main operations are controlled by an AMI BIOS.

The SuperMicro board can support 66/100MHz front-side bus system speeds, therefore supporting all the current Celeron speed range, although there are no over-clocking options for those users who like to push their processors to the limit. There is integral support for such industry standards as Wake-on-LAN, UDMA/33 EIDE hard disk access, PC 98 and ACPI. The 370SBA motherboard comes with a comprehensive manual listing error messages and configuration possibilities, along with a CD containing drivers, online documentation and trouble-shooting diagnostic tools.

Company: SuperMicro

Contact: 01923 699399


Verdict
If you're a system builder moving into the Celeron 370 market, or an end-user wanting to build your own PC, this board is worth considering. It's a stable, reliable board from a well-known vendor, and although it lacks some of the additional features of more expensive boards (such as an extra DIMM slot or over-clocking features), it's a competent product for the price.