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Fastest Socket 7 board?

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First post, by Jade Falcon

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Right now I'm putting together a socket 7 system on the cheap and I really don't know much about socket 7 systems. I know a little about SS7 setup but not socket 7 in hole. And down the road I'd like to have the fastest possible SK7 AT setup with a MMX Pentium.

So what exactly makes a fast socket 7 board? what chipset should I look for? What about cache chips? Motherboard layout? Was there ever a Intel chipset board with agp support? or just VIA/ALI chips?
What about Tag chips? do they make a difference? or just when you have a lot of ram?
what about L2 cache? is more better or should I go for less but faster cache?

I guise it all depends on what your doing like anything. I'd jut be playing old games for the most part. aside form that it will be benchmarking.

Thank you.

Reply 1 of 32, by kanecvr

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Tested A LOT of super 7 boards (since I'm a huge fan of the platform). Here's my top 3:

1. AOpen AX59-PRO - ATX, 4 PCI, 3 ISA, AGP, 3 SDRAM, 2 SIMM, Supports FSB up to 125MHz (officially), 143 unofficially, VIA MVP3 Based, VIA 686B ATA66 Southbridge - supports voltages from 1.3 to 3.8V in 0.05v increments
2. Lucky Tech P5MVP3 99X - AT, 3 PCI, 3 ISA, AGP, 2 SDRAM, 2 SIMM, supports FSB up to 112MHz (officially), up to 125MHz unofficially, VIA MVP3 based, VIA 686B ATA66 SB on the 99X version - oficially the most stable and reliable super 7 board I have ever tested. Fast and reliable, and cheap / plentiful in eastern europe. Good overclocker too. Stay away from very early revisions, they have the VIA ATA data corruption bug.
3. Epox MVP3G-M -ATX, 5 PCI, 2 ISA, AGP, 3 SDRAM, 2 SIMM, Supports FSB up to 133MHz !!!, VIA MVP3 Based, VIA 686B ATA66 Southbridge on some models - supports voltages from 2.0 to 3.5V - great for overclocking.

Honorable mentions:

- ASUS P5A - ATX, 5 PCI, 3 ISA, AGP, 3 SDRAM, supports FSB up to 120MHz, ALi Aladdin V based, supports voltages from 2.0 to 3.5V in 0.1V increments - best ALi Aladdin V motherboard by far. Has minor AGP issues with some video cards. The ALi chipset can perform better then the MVP3 chipset when it comes to memory performance, but these boards can be fragile so handle with care and don't use for testing parts or benchmarking.
- Chaintech 5AGM2 - AT, 3 PCI, 3 ISA, AGP, 2 SDRAM, 2 SIMM, supports FSB up to 100MHz (officially), up to 125MHz unofficially, VIA MVP3 based - great VRM, excellent system stability and overclocking potential. Limited voltage options. One of the few boards tested that runs stable with faster / newer video cards (tested successfully even with a 6800 AGP) while other comparable boards have trouble running stable with a geforce 4.
- FIC PA 2013 (rev 1.3) - ATX, 4 PCI, 2 ISA, AGP, supports FSB up to 124 MHz, supports low voltages for K6-3+ / K6-2+, VIA MVP3 Based - note that early revisions do not have an AGP voltage regulator and may act up with hungrier video cards.

Reply 2 of 32, by lazibayer

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Intel never made a socket 7 chipset with AGP support. It's possible to build a board with PCI-to-AGP bridge but I've never seen one.
Cache & tag: the maximum latency of cache and tag chips determines the ceiling of bus speed. For example, if you have 5ns cache chips and an 8ns tag chip, your bus speed is limited at 125MHz, unless you disable onboard cache. But if you are running your bus at 100MHz it doesn't matter if you got 10, 9, 8... ns chips.
Generally the more cache the merrier - for the same chipset. Usually on later boards you don't need to worry about tag configuration. The board's manual will tell you how much tag ram you need for your cache amount if it has configurable tag.
I would go with 430TX if I want to settle with socket 7 and 66MHz bus. For super socket 7 it's either MVP3 or Aladdin V.

Reply 3 of 32, by havli

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For me it is Gigabyte GA-5AX rev 5.2. Very fast and stable, perfect overclocking (125MHz FSB with external cache, 135 MHz without... depends on luck of course). Supports pretty much any CPU, including K6-III+

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Reply 4 of 32, by lazibayer

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havli wrote:

For me it is Gigabyte GA-5AX rev 5.2. Very fast and stable, perfect overclocking (125MHz FSB with external cache, 135 MHz without... depends on luck of course). Supports pretty much any CPU, including K6-III+

One advantage of 5AX over P5A is the support for voltage lower than 2V.
Have you tried 5AX with Tillamook MMX? I have P5A-B and it won't boot with Tillamook. GA-5SMM does work - even at 133MHz bus - but its memory performance is inferior to P5A-B and lacks AGP.

Reply 5 of 32, by havli

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No, I don't have this CPU and unfortunately, the GA-5AX is dead... since 2013 (VRM blew up). Still, the benchmark scores are still good 😀 http://hwbot.org/submission/2423351_havli_sup … min_11sec_842ms

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Reply 6 of 32, by lazibayer

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havli wrote:

No, I don't have this CPU and unfortunately, the GA-5AX is dead... since 2013 (VRM blew up). Still, the benchmark scores are still good 😀 http://hwbot.org/submission/2423351_havli_sup … min_11sec_842ms

😳 😳 😳
You stretched that poor MMX real good!

Reply 7 of 32, by Jade Falcon

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Hold up guys, thanks for the advice and all. And you guys have been more then informative, 😀 But I'm looking for info AT socket 7 boards and not SS7.
I guise I should have been more specific. I guise I really should not be so picky, SK7 and SS7 aren't all that different 😵 Maybe I'll keep an eye out for a Asus P5A-B. Although Id like to use a socket 7 board and not a super socket 7 board.

Anyway This info is more then useful!

Last edited by Jade Falcon on 2017-06-08, 15:23. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 8 of 32, by Saotome Ranma

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It depends on ur system requirement. If u want a intel platform with an Pentium MMX, 430TX with MMX 233 + a voodoo1 is the best combination.

For other super socket 7 platform. it should be a K6-III+ 600Mhz + MVP3 (2MB L2 cache) + voodoo 3/TNT2 (periodically), Aladdin V is also a nice choice, just a little bit slower (around 5%, but faster than most of MVP3 equipped with 1MB or 512kb L2 cache) in some cases.

Actually Tillamook cored Pentium MMX 350Mhz is the fastest intel CPU on socket 7 platform (even faster than K6-2 450+), but it is a mobile version only manufactured for laptop, it is as rare as hen's teeth and hardly has bios support. Not something very meaningful IMO.

Last edited by Saotome Ranma on 2017-06-08, 15:33. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 9 of 32, by Saotome Ranma

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Jade Falcon wrote:

Hold up guys, thanks for the advice and all. And you guys have been more then informative, 😀 But I'm looking for info AT socket 7 boards and not SS7.
I guise I should have been more specific. I guise I really should not be so picky, SK7 and SS7 aren't all that different 😵 Maybe I'll keep an eye out for a Asus P5A-B. Although Id like to use a socket 7 board and not a super socket 7 board.

Anyway This info is more then useful!

There are many AT and ATX boards for both SK7 and SSK7 platforms. Actually ATX SSK7 is something more rare IMO, but if u only wish to focus on dos, win3.x and win95, intel 430TX with Pentium MMX (+voodoo1) is the smartest choice.

Last edited by Saotome Ranma on 2017-06-08, 15:30. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 12 of 32, by Saotome Ranma

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Jade Falcon wrote:

I thought the mobile MMX Pentiums faster 233mhz did not use socket 7?

There are some Tillamook cored mobile version that faster than mmx 233, but they are originally designed for lntel 430TX Mobile with a pretty low voltage. Hardly had bios supported. I've seen someone running them on a modified laptop. For other Pentium CPUs faster than MMX 233, not available on socket 7 platform at all.

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Reply 13 of 32, by Tetrium

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Jade Falcon wrote:

I thought the mobile MMX Pentiums faster 233mhz did not use socket 7?

There was a Tillamook using the same package as standard PPGA MMX chips and the fastest one ran at 266MHz.
Biggest gripe was finding a board which would not have its cache disabled once a Tillamook was used.

Saotome Ranma wrote:

It depends on ur system requirement. If u want a intel platform with an Pentium MMX, 430TX with MMX 233 + a voodoo1 is the best combination.

For other super socket 7 platform. it should be a K6-III+ 600Mhz + MVP3 (2MB L2 cache) + voodoo 3/TNT2 (periodically), Aladdin V is also a nice choice, just a little bit slower (around 5%, but faster than most of MVP3 equipped with 1MB or 512kb L2 cache) in some cases.

Actually Tillamook cored Pentium MMX 350Mhz is the fastest intel CPU on socket 7 platform (even faster than K6-2 450+), but it is a mobile version only manufactured for laptop, it is as rare as hen's teeth and hardly has bios support. Not something very meaningful IMO.

It wasn't always rare. I got a couple and they used to be pretty easy to find and cheap as well...they were cheap I think due to them being impractical due to the cache limits, amongst other problems.

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Reply 14 of 32, by vetz

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Lots of boards benched here using same hardware:

Socket 5 & 7 Motherboard VGA Benchmark comparison

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Reply 15 of 32, by lazibayer

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vetz wrote:

Lots of boards benched here using same hardware:

Socket 5 & 7 Motherboard VGA Benchmark comparison

That's great work!

BTW just another note on Tillamook MMX: its BF2 pin is located differently than an AMD SS7 CPU, but it's easy to modify the board to get x4 multiplier.

Tillamook pin out:

tillamook.png
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K6 pin out:

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Reply 16 of 32, by cj_reha

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My socket 7 voodoo 2 project uses a FIC PA-2007. It seems to be hailed as one of the fastest skt7 boards of the time back then.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-7- … oards,31-2.html

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Reply 17 of 32, by Tetrium

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I almost forgot, a good source of information on anything super7 that has helped me a lot in the past, was the k6plus forums http://www.k6plus.com/phpBB3/index.php
Imo it's actually a very good resource and it would be a shame if the information on that board was lost forever.

It doesn't seem to be very active these days though, and I think I lost my password from over there 🤣!
I remembered about that forum as (iirc) I actually asked around over there about the Tillamooks 🤣

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Reply 18 of 32, by meljor

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@Tetrium: You've got a couple of tillamooks? We need to talk.... would love to play with one!

I like Asus boards and when it comes to socket 7: P5A and P5A-B are great and pretty fast ss7 boards, for normal socket 7 i really like the TX97 series (intel 430TX chipset) and also the P55T2P4 is a really nice board (intel 430HX).

Most super 7 boards can cache at least 128mb, some can do way more. Intel socket 7 chipsets can cache max. 64mb, only exception is the 430HX chipset that can cache up to 512mb. 430HX uses only Edo, others like 430VX and TX can usupport Sdram.

Reasons to get super socket 7: higher fsb, better overclocking, wider voltage range support, agp slot, ata33/66, cacheable memory, usb

asus tx97-e, 233mmx, voodoo1, s3 virge ,sb16
asus p5a, k6-3+ @ 550mhz, voodoo2 12mb sli, gf2 gts, awe32
asus p3b-f, p3-700, voodoo3 3500TV agp, awe64
asus tusl2-c, p3-S 1,4ghz, voodoo5 5500, live!
asus a7n8x DL, barton cpu, 6800ultra, Voodoo3 pci, audigy1

Reply 19 of 32, by Jade Falcon

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lazibayer wrote:
That's great work! […]
Show full quote
vetz wrote:

Lots of boards benched here using same hardware:

Socket 5 & 7 Motherboard VGA Benchmark comparison

That's great work!

BTW just another note on Tillamook MMX: its BF2 pin is located differently than an AMD SS7 CPU, but it's easy to modify the board to get x4 multiplier.

Tillamook pin out:

tillamook.png

K6 pin out:

k6.png

So what exactly did you do? Cut a trace then reroute it?