Is this board any good?

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Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-11-27 @ 17:01

I have a chance to buy a Slot 1 board, it's an Aopen AX63 PRO, looks pretty decent or is it?

http://us.aopen.com/products_detail.aspx?auno=203
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-11-27 @ 18:19

martin939 wrote:I have a chance to buy a Slot 1 board, it's an Aopen AX63 PRO, looks pretty decent or is it?

http://us.aopen.com/products_detail.aspx?auno=203

Since it supports 133MHz FSB CPUs, has AGP 2x, VIA chipsets, and 1.5GB SD-RAM Maximum, that looks pretty good.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby Jade Falcon » 2017-11-27 @ 18:34

Its ok. I'd want a 440bx board. But that's just me.

Also note the max hdd size. 137gb. Probably not a problem, but just putting it out there.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby kva » 2017-11-27 @ 18:47

Jade Falcon wrote:Its ok. I'd want a 440bx board. But that's just me.


:D

It's a decent board but generally BX is a better choice.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-11-27 @ 19:19

I am aware 440BX being "the sh*t" but they are rare, in fact any decent pre-2000 era HW is costly here.

I bought it though, it has a P2 MMX and some RAM on it. Couldn't resist for 12,50...there is also an ASUS P4B w. Williamette 1.7 included, probably nothing much since it's PC133 SDRAM so that P4 would be chocking.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby Ampera » 2017-11-27 @ 21:57

Jade Falcon wrote:Its ok. I'd want a 440bx board. But that's just me.

Also note the max hdd size. 137gb. problem not a problem, but just putting it out there.


Buy a good PCI SCSI controller. You don't have to really worry about that, even with OS limitations. I ran a 147GB Ultra320/160 drive/controller on Windows95c with no problem, even though the traditional IDE limitation for that OS is 137GB.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-11-29 @ 17:31

I got it! It boots but doesn't seem to work with PS/2 keyboard? You can see the single blink of caps/num/scroll lock LEDs when it starts but it will give "Keyboard not present error". I've noticed the board has a front panel header for keyboard lock and it's empty.
With USB keyboard it works just fine.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby SSTV2 » 2017-11-29 @ 23:35

You generally would want to avoid Slot 1 motherboards based on VIA chipsets that does not support AGP 4x, because of their poor AGP implementation. I also own AOpen AX63 Pro motherboard with which i tried to build a fairly modern Slot 1 system that would be equipped with 700MHz PIII and a Radeon 8500, but to my surprise, this system performed just as good (or worse?) than a i440BX chipset based system (GA-686BX MB) that used 400MHz PII and 128bit GF2MX in Serious Sam and Quake III benchmarks (same settings). I tried to justify this performance loss for AOpen due to bad AGP GART drivers or R8500 drivers/settings, but no, after experimenting with different VIA 4in1 drivers, video cards and their drivers i came to conclusion that it was chipsets fault. Now i have 3 VIA Apollo Pro/Apollo Pro 133 motherboards laying around unused (all three perform about same).

In conclusion, compared i440BX based motherboards with VIA motheboards that support AGP 2x, you can expect about 15 - 25% performance drop in 3D intensive applications, especially if you are using video card that actually supports AGP features (unlike Voodoo3 and such, these might work at the same level).
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2017-11-29 @ 23:47

The VIA 4 in 1 driver, and their numerous (often buggy) chipset revisions were my bane.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby kanecvr » 2017-11-30 @ 13:25

martin939 wrote:I am aware 440BX being "the sh*t" but they are rare, in fact any decent pre-2000 era HW is costly here.

I bought it though, it has a P2 MMX and some RAM on it. Couldn't resist for 12,50...there is also an ASUS P4B w. Williamette 1.7 included, probably nothing much since it's PC133 SDRAM so that P4 would be chocking.


I disagree. 440bx has mediocre AGP performance, slower IDE controller and only supports 100MHz FSB (officially). I'll take a i815 or Apollo Pro 133 over the 440bx any day. These chipsets support AGP 4X (the 133A also supports Fast Writes), some come with ATA100 IDE controllers, and they have official support for FSB 133 CPUs.

I think most people look at the 440BX with nostalgia glasses and over-evaluate it. It's much easier to build a fast pIII build using an Apollo Pro 133, and they are cheap and fairly common. As such, my favorite socket 370 PIII boards are the ASUS CUV4X and Abit ST6 (i815). For Slot 1, my favorite is the ABIT VA6 - great overclocker and supports the more common (and cheaper) FSB 133 slot 1 1000MHz PIII-S.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-11-30 @ 14:37

kanecvr wrote:
martin939 wrote:I am aware 440BX being "the sh*t" but they are rare, in fact any decent pre-2000 era HW is costly here.

I bought it though, it has a P2 MMX and some RAM on it. Couldn't resist for 12,50...there is also an ASUS P4B w. Williamette 1.7 included, probably nothing much since it's PC133 SDRAM so that P4 would be chocking.


I disagree. 440bx has mediocre AGP performance, slower IDE controller and only supports 100MHz FSB (officially). I'll take a i815 or Apollo Pro 133 over the 440bx any day. These chipsets support AGP 4X (the 133A also supports Fast Writes), some come with ATA100 IDE controllers, and they have official support for FSB 133 CPUs.

I think most people look at the 440BX with nostalgia glasses and over-evaluate it. It's much easier to build a fast pIII build using an Apollo Pro 133, and they are cheap and fairly common. As such, my favorite socket 370 PIII boards are the ASUS CUV4X and Abit ST6 (i815). For Slot 1, my favorite is the ABIT VA6 - great overclocker and supports the more common (and cheaper) FSB 133 slot 1 1000MHz PIII-S.

I agree with your statement on the Intel i440BX chipsets. I have a motherboard that has an Intel i430TX chipset that only supports up to 256MB RAM, no AGP, supports ATA-133 (odd for a board from the late 1990s), and up to 83MHz FSB for processors (jumper-less configuration thanks to the magic of the BIOS). My Dell Dimension 4550 has Intel chipsets (not bad, really), supports up to 2GB DDR-333 RAM, has AGP 4x, and fast IDE speed (ATA-133).

My Socket 370 build has the VIA Apollo Pro 133A chipset (AGP 1x/2x/4x supported with fast writes), 100/133MHz FSB support, ATA-66 (slow, but Windows 98SE does let me use DMA support for the drives), up to 768MB SD-RAM (have 512MB installed since one of the SD-RAM slots causes the system to not POST, mainly because of dirty contacts or out-of-place pins), and supports up to 933MHz Pentium III CPUs (256KB L2 cache). My HP Pavilion N3350 has the VIA Apollo MVP3 chipset (supports 66/100MHz FSB and K6-2+ 550MHz), and integrated AGP video (I believe it's either a 2x or 1x).
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-11-30 @ 15:37

I'm planning to put my 3DfX Voodoo 1 in it. Should run older games pretty well.

Still haven't figured what's wrong with the PS2 keyboard port.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-11-30 @ 17:52

martin939 wrote:I got it! It boots but doesn't seem to work with PS/2 keyboard? You can see the single blink of caps/num/scroll lock LEDs when it starts but it will give "Keyboard not present error". I've noticed the board has a front panel header for keyboard lock and it's empty.
With USB keyboard it works just fine.

Reset the BIOS defaults since someone must've disabled the PS/2 port for the keyboard as well. Put the CMOS clear jumper to the appropriate pins, turn the system on, and wait a while. Test the PS/2 keyboard to see if it'll go into the BIOS, and if it does, turn the system off again, change the CMOS jumper settings, and off you go.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby SSTV2 » 2017-11-30 @ 19:11

kanecvr wrote:440bx has mediocre AGP performance
What do you mean by saying that 440BX has a mediocre AGP performance when in fact 440BX rivaled i815 and even i840 in 3D heavy applications, not to mention VIA Apollo Pro 133A. Here are some actual benchmarking data of 440BX performance vs enhanced VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset (133A), BX with PIII @ 933MHz runs faster than a 133A with PIII @ 1GHz, enough said. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/per ... 89-11.html
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-11-30 @ 19:27

SSTV2 wrote:
kanecvr wrote:440bx has mediocre AGP performance
What do you mean by saying that 440BX has a mediocre AGP performance when in fact 440BX rivaled i815 and even i840 in 3D heavy applications, not to mention VIA Apollo Pro 133A. Here are some actual benchmarking data of 440BX performance vs enhanced VIA Apollo Pro 133 chipset (133A), BX with PIII @ 933MHz runs faster than a 133A with PIII @ 1GHz, enough said.

What he meant was the 440BX supports AGP 1x or 2x, not 4x whatsoever.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby SSTV2 » 2017-11-30 @ 20:19

That doesn't make any sense, difference between AGP 2x and 4x modes in terms of performance is negligible, it's the 1x mode that starts bottlenecking video cards.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby SSTV2 » 2017-11-30 @ 21:09

martin939 wrote:I'm planning to put my 3DfX Voodoo 1 in it. Should run older games pretty well.

Still haven't figured what's wrong with the PS2 keyboard port.

I've just pulled out my AOpen AX63 Pro just to see what could cause you grief with PS/2 port. It appears that this mobo uses jumper JP28 for keyboard/mouse wake up function. Pin 1-2 sets power supply from PSUs +5V rail, 2-3 sets power from +5V standby. It's possible that you have jumpers configured so that PS/2 would get its power from +5V standby (pins 2-3) and if 5VSB won't provide sufficient amount of current for your keyboard/mouse, both would simply not function. If you have shorted pin 1-2 and you get no power, check Fuse F1 for continuity. And lastly check ferrite beads (L1 to L5), Fuse F2 behid PS/2 connector block for continuity and possible trace cuts, if power is not an issue. Hope this helps.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-12-01 @ 07:45

Thanks, I will check that! My mouse works fine, though. It's just the keyboard.
I downloaded the manual but haven't got time yet (work...) to take deeper look at it.
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Re: Is this board any good?

Postby martin939 » 2017-12-03 @ 10:24

I have found out that if I press any button on the PS/2 keyboard when I'm in windows, my mouse cursor starts to lag and to fix it I have to reboot the machine, strange...

I have a chance to grab ASUS P2B-F or ABIT BH6, are these really better than my Aopen?

+
FIXED IT!

I was inspecting the board and found a small SMD cap that was ripped of from the solder pad on 1 side. Soldered it again and voila! :blush:
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