While AMD’s Athlon and Intel’s Pentium III processors, in their slot-based motherboards, are garnering much of the attention of press and public at the moment, there’s still a good trade going on in the Socket 7 market. Chips from AMD, IDT and Cyrix are available for the older style Socket architecture; the only difficulty is choosing a decent motherboard to go with the processor.
One contender is TMC’s TI5VGF. This is an ATX-style board equipped with a processor socket capable of handling Intel Pentium, AMD K5, AMD K6, AMD K6-2, AMD K6-3, Cyrix 6×86, Cyrix 6x86MX, Cyrix MII, IDT Winchip and IDT Winchip 2-3D processors. Which is quite a range, really. The board’s clock speed can be adjusted from 66MHz to 133MHz (using DIP switches), giving it the ability to support a maximum processor speed of 550MHz.
Eschewing Intel for the VIA MVP3 chipset, TMC’s board has three 168-pin DIMM memory sockets capable of handling up to 384MB of PC-100 memory. There’s a 2MB cache, too, which helps to keep the processor running happily. One unusual feature is the lack of any ISA slots in this board. You get the obligatory AGP port for the latest graphics adapters, of course, but all the other slots on the board – and there are six of them – are PCI slots, all of which can be configured to work in mastering mode.
At the rear of the board is the usual array of ports, including serial, parallel, USB, mouse and keyboard, while on the board itself is a brace of IDE connectors supporting UDMA/33 hard drives. The board is supplied with IDE and floppy data cables, a comprehensive manual and a selection of drivers and utilities.
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