VOGONS


Why is the Asus P5A so fast?

Topic actions

First post, by Rikintosh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Sounds like a silly question, but it's a total unknown to me. I have some old cards, Pentium II, Pentium III, good cards like SOYO 6BA+, Asus P2-99, and even a soyo with UltraDMA66, but NONE of them is as agile and fast as this simple K6-2 500mhz on the Asus P5a. I did several tests, and it's not just my delusion, the benchmarks prove it.

My question is, what makes this card so special?

My configuration:

AMD K6-2 500mhz
1x 256MB PC100 Kigston
1x 80GB ATA133 HD
A simple dvd rom drive
Geforce 2 MX200 64mb agp
Sound Blaster CT3670

To test the other cards, I used the exact same hardware, with the exception of the AMD K6. I used it on the other cards: Celeron 300, P2 450, and P3 550E.

I suspect that maybe my P5A has a higher quality IDE controller, which makes better use of my modern HD, but I'm not sure, that's why I wanted your opinion!

Take a look at my retro blog: https://rikintosh.blogspot.com/
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 1 of 24, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

What "tests" exactly?

The P5A is (apart from K6plus bugs in rev 1.05 and later) a solid ALi Aladdin V design, but that should put it on par with say an i440BX system in terms of I/O, and even with the best CPU you can put on it. a board with Coppermine P3 and ATA-66 should totally outclass it in all metrics. The ALi IDE isn't bad, but nothing special for ATA-33. Same for the mem controller - not bad, slightly faster than Via MVP3 clock-for-clock, but that's about it, no i440BX beater or better.

I'm a big fan of P5A, and my 1.04 is stable at 133MHz FSB letting me run a K6-3+ at 4.5x133=600MHz which is about as good as So7 gets - but a P3-600EB runs rings around it, let alone faster systems.

Reply 2 of 24, by Sphere478

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I also noticed it seemed to be faster than other motherboards. I think the awesome memory controller seems to be a large part of it. Got nearly 200MB/sec out of mine. But I’ve also been having tonnes of stability issues. 🙁

SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)
-
Socket 5/7/SS7 (Motherboard) Tweaker
-
The coolest socket 7 motherboard that you’ve never heard of

Reply 5 of 24, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-18, 09:06:

It's no better than the Gigabyte GA-5AX, I will never understand why the p5a is considered better...

I can't speak for the Gigabyte GA-5AX, since I've never had one (still looking to add one to my collection 😢 ) , but I do own quite a few SS7 boards (and have tested many more throughout the years), and two stand out for me:
- the Asus P5A rev 1.04 (based on Ali Aladdin V): I have two of these, and they are the fastest SS7 boards that I own when paired with a fast K6-3+ or K6-2+ CPU. Not only are they fast, but also very stable, even at out-of-spec FSB frequencies. The only downside is the Ali Aladdin V chipset itself - for me it's less compatible than VIA MVP3 (although nothing serious - just small issues like the fact that games like "Lion King" stutter on this chipset, or at least on all the Ali Alladin boards that I personally have).
- the DFI K6XV3+/66 (based on VIA MVP3): definitely not as fast as the Asus P5A, but extremely stable (with the right driver combo) and it's a joy to use, everything just works both in DOS and Windows.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 6 of 24, by Doornkaat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge?
It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543C B1 south bridge too.
If rev. H also has built in cache and tag it may just be a contender for the ALi Super7 throne. 😉

I have a Rev 5.2 board somewhere in storage but I don't know which NB rev. mine has. I also don't have any of the plus CPUs.

Reply 7 of 24, by Nemo1985

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
bloodem wrote on 2021-12-18, 10:40:
I can't speak for the Gigabyte GA-5AX, since I've never had one (still looking to add one to my collection :cry: ) , but I do ow […]
Show full quote
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-18, 09:06:

It's no better than the Gigabyte GA-5AX, I will never understand why the p5a is considered better...

I can't speak for the Gigabyte GA-5AX, since I've never had one (still looking to add one to my collection 😢 ) , but I do own quite a few SS7 boards (and have tested many more throughout the years), and two stand out for me:
- the Asus P5A rev 1.04 (based on Ali Aladdin V): I have two of these, and they are the fastest SS7 boards that I own when paired with a fast K6-3+ or K6-2+ CPU. Not only are they fast, but also very stable, even at out-of-spec FSB frequencies. The only downside is the Ali Aladdin V chipset itself - for me it's less compatible than VIA MVP3 (although nothing serious - just small issues like the fact that games like "Lion King" stutter on this chipset, or at least on all the Ali Alladin boards that I personally have).
- the DFI K6XV3+/66 (based on VIA MVP3): definitely not as fast as the Asus P5A, but extremely stable (with the right driver combo) and it's a joy to use, everything just works both in DOS and Windows.

I have both the asus p5a rev 1.04 and the Gigabyte GA-5AX rev 5.2 (I agree they are very rare and expensive nowadays, good luck finding one) they both have the rev E of the chipset, unlucky.

I did some test some years ago and they were on par as for performance (I may have posted the results here on the forum). I was able to overclock a k6-3+ at 633 mhz (105x6) with the Gigabyte, this definitely make me consider it better than the asus p5a.
Also considering that the last revisions (1.05 and 1.06) of the asus are crippled with the k6-x+ cpus and the gigabyte supports voltage from v1.3 to 3.5 while asus supports from v2.0 to v3.5.
I really have hard time to understand why people keep saying that it is a best motherboard since it's not faster and it doesn't have wider support compared to the gigabyte, the only thing Gigabyte miss compared to Asus is the cpu temperature support.

That being said, the problems between via mvp3 and ali chipsets are almost the same to me, the via also has the drawback that you can't really overclock the bus because the cache needs to be very fast (while ali chipset is more tollerant), but both have a flaky agp support.

Edit: I found the tests, unlucky I didn't compare the asus with the gigabyte but there are the results with memory bandwidth and so on: Super Socket 7: VIA MVP3 vs. ALi Aladdin V

Reply 8 of 24, by Rikintosh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-19, 00:07:
I have both the asus p5a rev 1.04 and the Gigabyte GA-5AX rev 5.2 (I agree they are very rare and expensive nowadays, good luck […]
Show full quote
bloodem wrote on 2021-12-18, 10:40:
I can't speak for the Gigabyte GA-5AX, since I've never had one (still looking to add one to my collection :cry: ) , but I do ow […]
Show full quote
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-18, 09:06:

It's no better than the Gigabyte GA-5AX, I will never understand why the p5a is considered better...

I can't speak for the Gigabyte GA-5AX, since I've never had one (still looking to add one to my collection 😢 ) , but I do own quite a few SS7 boards (and have tested many more throughout the years), and two stand out for me:
- the Asus P5A rev 1.04 (based on Ali Aladdin V): I have two of these, and they are the fastest SS7 boards that I own when paired with a fast K6-3+ or K6-2+ CPU. Not only are they fast, but also very stable, even at out-of-spec FSB frequencies. The only downside is the Ali Aladdin V chipset itself - for me it's less compatible than VIA MVP3 (although nothing serious - just small issues like the fact that games like "Lion King" stutter on this chipset, or at least on all the Ali Alladin boards that I personally have).
- the DFI K6XV3+/66 (based on VIA MVP3): definitely not as fast as the Asus P5A, but extremely stable (with the right driver combo) and it's a joy to use, everything just works both in DOS and Windows.

I have both the asus p5a rev 1.04 and the Gigabyte GA-5AX rev 5.2 (I agree they are very rare and expensive nowadays, good luck finding one) they both have the rev E of the chipset, unlucky.

I did some test some years ago and they were on par as for performance (I may have posted the results here on the forum). I was able to overclock a k6-3+ at 633 mhz (105x6) with the Gigabyte, this definitely make me consider it better than the asus p5a.
Also considering that the last revisions (1.05 and 1.06) of the asus are crippled with the k6-x+ cpus and the gigabyte supports voltage from v1.3 to 3.5 while asus supports from v2.0 to v3.5.
I really have hard time to understand why people keep saying that it is a best motherboard since it's not faster and it doesn't have wider support compared to the gigabyte, the only thing Gigabyte miss compared to Asus is the cpu temperature support.

That being said, the problems between via mvp3 and ali chipsets are almost the same to me, the via also has the drawback that you can't really overclock the bus because the cache needs to be very fast (while ali chipset is more tollerant), but both have a flaky agp support.

Edit: I found the tests, unlucky I didn't compare the asus with the gigabyte but there are the results with memory bandwidth and so on: Super Socket 7: VIA MVP3 vs. ALi Aladdin V

I also think gigabyte is better, but I think people were talking about P5a being better, because 20 years ago, asus was already a big, well-known manufacturer in America, so most people had or had an asus board, while gigabyte was only really popular in the pentium 4 generation, especially because of the beauty of their boards, with colorful slots (I love them).

My P5A is rock solid, I had a soyo before, but it was terribly unstable (a little oxidation on the i/o chip must be the cause), so I went back to my good old K6-2.

By the way, it's running at almost 50 degrees (40/45 if I remove the case cover), I know they're hot, but is it getting too hot? I didn't overclock, and I'm using a reasonable quality aluminum cooler and new thermal grease. I even thought about doing delid (to change the internal thermal grease), but I'm afraid of breaking the die. Many years ago (2006/2007), I did this easily, as K6 were processors that I just found in the trash because they weren't worth anything, but nowadays, the market is scarce, and they are getting more and more expensive. For those curious: The K6 without the IHS looks like an AMD Duron 🤣

Take a look at my retro blog: https://rikintosh.blogspot.com/
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 9 of 24, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

When I get all my socket 7 stuff unburied, I'm going to have to do a fair test, K6-2-400 in the P5A with 32MB PC66, Riva128, K6-2-400 in the 5AX with 32MB PC-66, Riva128 and a K6-2+-570 in the M571 with 128MB PC133 and a Voodoo3... 😉 ... okay I'll throw in some Intel competition, P2L97 with a top of the range 300Mhz Covington.... (Okay, you got me, I don't have a covington, but I could chisel the cache off a PII for science, or just maybe disable it in CMOS setup, I guess that's an option too, but I've got the chisel sharpened.)

For realz though, I gotta get some of those k6-2+ 570s up in here and give the 5AX a good going over for peaking it, probably add i/o voltage adjustment and heatsinks to the chipset and cache. Get it into a case that breathes good.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 10 of 24, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-19, 00:07:

I did some test some years ago and they were on par as for performance (I may have posted the results here on the forum). I was able to overclock a k6-3+ at 633 mhz (105x6) with the Gigabyte, this definitely make me consider it better than the asus p5a.

In my fastest SS7 build, I have a K6-3+ 400 on the P5A, which is also running great at 633 MHz (5.5 x 115 MHz).
Overclocking capabilities can differ greatly even between two identical boards, so I would say that it's not enough to draw a conclusion as to which is better.
I have two Asus P5A rev 1.04 boards and they both run perfectly stable @ FSB 115MHz (120 MHz is also doable, but not entirely stable in my case).

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 11 of 24, by Nemo1985

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Rikintosh wrote on 2021-12-19, 04:50:

I also think gigabyte is better, but I think people were talking about P5a being better, because 20 years ago, asus was already a big, well-known manufacturer in America, so most people had or had an asus board, while gigabyte was only really popular in the pentium 4 generation, especially because of the beauty of their boards, with colorful slots (I love them).

That could be right, I was mainly wondering why people nowdays consider the asus as being better, surely today we have access (in this very community) to many more info than it was available back in the past.

Rikintosh wrote on 2021-12-19, 04:50:

My P5A is rock solid, I had a soyo before, but it was terribly unstable (a little oxidation on the i/o chip must be the cause), so I went back to my good old K6-2.

By the way, it's running at almost 50 degrees (40/45 if I remove the case cover), I know they're hot, but is it getting too hot? I didn't overclock, and I'm using a reasonable quality aluminum cooler and new thermal grease. I even thought about doing delid (to change the internal thermal grease), but I'm afraid of breaking the die. Many years ago (2006/2007), I did this easily, as K6 were processors that I just found in the trash because they weren't worth anything, but nowadays, the market is scarce, and they are getting more and more expensive. For those curious: The K6 without the IHS looks like an AMD Duron 🤣

Well soyo has always been a cheap brand, for what I know. About the temperature, it's not so high, k6 were rated for 75 or 85 °C as max temperature.

bloodem wrote on 2021-12-19, 06:54:
In my fastest SS7 build, I have a K6-3+ 400 on the P5A, which is also running great at 633 MHz (5.5 x 115 MHz). Overclocking cap […]
Show full quote
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-19, 00:07:

I did some test some years ago and they were on par as for performance (I may have posted the results here on the forum). I was able to overclock a k6-3+ at 633 mhz (105x6) with the Gigabyte, this definitely make me consider it better than the asus p5a.

In my fastest SS7 build, I have a K6-3+ 400 on the P5A, which is also running great at 633 MHz (5.5 x 115 MHz).
Overclocking capabilities can differ greatly even between two identical boards, so I would say that it's not enough to draw a conclusion as to which is better.
I have two Asus P5A rev 1.04 boards and they both run perfectly stable @ FSB 115MHz (120 MHz is also doable, but not entirely stable in my case).

Cool, that's with l2 enabled cache?

Reply 12 of 24, by bloodem

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-12-19, 08:51:

Cool, that's with l2 enabled cache?

Yes, disabling the L2 cache (well, L3 in the case of the K6-2+/3(+) chips), will usually decrease performance by ~ 5 - 10%.
So, based on my experience, it's usually better to have a lower FSB frequency with the L2/L3 cache enabled, than to have a higher FSB frequency without it.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 14 of 24, by havli

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
bloodem wrote on 2021-12-19, 06:54:

In my fastest SS7 build, I have a K6-3+ 400 on the P5A, which is also running great at 633 MHz (5.5 x 115 MHz).
Overclocking capabilities can differ greatly even between two identical boards, so I would say that it's not enough to draw a conclusion as to which is better.
I have two Asus P5A rev 1.04 boards and they both run perfectly stable @ FSB 115MHz (120 MHz is also doable, but not entirely stable in my case).

I can add my GA-5AX to the table - as far as I remember, it can do 125 MHz stable with the cache enabled. https://hwbot.org/submission/2421984_havli_su … min_36sec_956ms

HW museum.cz - my collection of PC hardware

Reply 15 of 24, by Rikintosh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I've reached 700 mhz with a K6-2 550afr or something like that in the past, but this was just artificial, to validate online benchmarks, in practice it wasn't so fast as it wouldn't work with cache enabled. I believe that the latest K6s already work at the limit of what they can deliver to the home user (this includes gamers) overclocking they're a waste of time, no matter how much you raise the mhz, you don't feel a big improvement.

It reminded me of the 166 MMX, they were good overclocking processors (I don't know why) but whenever I got my hands on one, it ran at 233mhz with ease, and solid as a rock. Some friends of mine, enthusiasts, say they got up to 280mhz with a 166mmx.

Take a look at my retro blog: https://rikintosh.blogspot.com/
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 16 of 24, by Sphere478

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
dionb wrote on 2021-12-18, 00:55:

What "tests" exactly?

The P5A is (apart from K6plus bugs in rev 1.05 and later) a solid ALi Aladdin V design, but that should put it on par with say an i440BX system in terms of I/O, and even with the best CPU you can put on it. a board with Coppermine P3 and ATA-66 should totally outclass it in all metrics. The ALi IDE isn't bad, but nothing special for ATA-33. Same for the mem controller - not bad, slightly faster than Via MVP3 clock-for-clock, but that's about it, no i440BX beater or better.

I'm a big fan of P5A, and my 1.04 is stable at 133MHz FSB letting me run a K6-3+ at 4.5x133=600MHz which is about as good as So7 gets - but a P3-600EB runs rings around it, let alone faster systems.

Can you share your jumper and bios settings?

Ydee wrote on 2021-12-19, 09:58:
Sphere478 wrote on 2021-12-18, 07:01:

I think the awesome memory controller seems to be a large part of it. Got nearly 200MB/sec out of mine.

What are you measuring it in?

Memtest86+

SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)
-
Socket 5/7/SS7 (Motherboard) Tweaker
-
The coolest socket 7 motherboard that you’ve never heard of

Reply 17 of 24, by soviet conscript

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Doornkaat wrote on 2021-12-18, 11:34:
Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge? It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543 […]
Show full quote

Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge?
It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543C B1 south bridge too.
If rev. H also has built in cache and tag it may just be a contender for the ALi Super7 throne. 😉

I have a Rev 5.2 board somewhere in storage but I don't know which NB rev. mine has. I also don't have any of the plus CPUs.

I have a GA-5AX with 512KB of L2 cache and the revision H northbridge. I've been running a K6-III+ @ 550MHz in it for years, rock solid though it's unstable at 600MHz, maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Reply 18 of 24, by Doornkaat

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
soviet conscript wrote on 2021-12-27, 21:01:
Doornkaat wrote on 2021-12-18, 11:34:
Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge? It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543 […]
Show full quote

Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge?
It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543C B1 south bridge too.
If rev. H also has built in cache and tag it may just be a contender for the ALi Super7 throne. 😉

I have a Rev 5.2 board somewhere in storage but I don't know which NB rev. mine has. I also don't have any of the plus CPUs.

I have a GA-5AX with 512KB of L2 cache and the revision H northbridge. I've been running a K6-III+ @ 550MHz in it for years, rock solid though it's unstable at 600MHz, maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Thanks for the feedback!👍
Stability is up to the individual chip I guess.
Do you have the cache chip and the rev H northbridge? Is there no internal cache on the NB like on rev G?

Reply 19 of 24, by soviet conscript

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Doornkaat wrote on 2021-12-27, 21:12:
Thanks for the feedback!👍 Stability is up to the individual chip I guess. Do you have the cache chip and the rev H northbridge? […]
Show full quote
soviet conscript wrote on 2021-12-27, 21:01:
Doornkaat wrote on 2021-12-18, 11:34:
Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge? It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543 […]
Show full quote

Speaking of GA-5AX: Has anyone tried the GA-5AX Rev. 5.2 with rev. H northbridge?
It has the 512kB cache chip, tag RAM and M1543C B1 south bridge too.
If rev. H also has built in cache and tag it may just be a contender for the ALi Super7 throne. 😉

I have a Rev 5.2 board somewhere in storage but I don't know which NB rev. mine has. I also don't have any of the plus CPUs.

I have a GA-5AX with 512KB of L2 cache and the revision H northbridge. I've been running a K6-III+ @ 550MHz in it for years, rock solid though it's unstable at 600MHz, maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Thanks for the feedback!👍
Stability is up to the individual chip I guess.
Do you have the cache chip and the rev H northbridge? Is there no internal cache on the NB like on rev G?

It is the rev H NB and the board does have 512KB of L2 cache on-board. Board revision is REV. 5.2