All in one mobo with Via C3 1 Ghz Soldered In CPU

Dead ended for upgradeability? Not really

reviewed by Victoria Chan--February 5th 2002


INTRODUCTION With the cost of this mobo at street prices costing equal to Celeron 1Ghz, you can consider this mobo as "buy this mobo - cpu is free" or "buy this cpu - mobo is free". Either way you ;look at it, this truly is value for money with decent performance. The Via C3 Centaur Hauls! It runs at 133Mhz FSB as compared to same clock Celeron running at 100Mhz. Do not confuse this cpu with it's predecessors, like Josh-who? (Joshua) or Samuel, or the even earlier Cyrix MII.

Why is this cpu so hot? It runs very cool! So cool that it has a smaller heatsink than most Chipsets or AGP heatsink. It comes with a Ball Bearing Fan mounted on a tiny heatsink, reminiscent of 486DX2/66. That's cool!

MARKETS for the Via C3 Value desktop, of course with the PcChips 787CLR. What else? How about very low powered and cool running Portables, high performance Windows CE or high density server, featuring 280 servers in a 42U rack, featuring 316Ghz aggregate performance at less than 50W per server? All shipping, so no vapour-ware here.

First Looks - First impressions This mobo is bundled with every conceivable goodie a value PC might want. These include on board AGP video, 10/100 Ethernet with PXE and RPL remote boot, Sound, USB, ATA66/100, 2 x SDRAM slots (2 x 512mb--max 1gb), 3 x PCI Slots, 1 x ISA Slot, 1 x AMR Slot complete with a 56K AMR Modem. Very complete! MicroATX with PXE, I am thinking diskless boot.

Build The build went sour on the first 2 mobo's I received, but their replacement units worked flawlessly. Do not forget to re-jumper JBAT1 to short out Pins 1 & 2. This is the Clear CMOS Jumper. PcChips always ships with CMOS set at clear. This makes it so that it always appears as a DOA. PcChips must like lots of RMAs. Duh?

The system was built with Win98SE, 256Mb SDRAM, Quantum 5.2gb ATA66 HDD, 1.44Mb FDD, 40X Cdrom, 24x10x40x Mitsumi CD-RW. The system is shipped with a Manual, a System CD ver 7.82, FDD Cable, ATA66/100 Cable, and an ATX back plate. This ATX back plate is specific to mobos with built in Network Adapter above the USB ports.

On the supplied System CD, all the needed drivers are there, including Video, Lan, Sound, IDE and modem. You can also install other bundled applications as well.

Performance With a 133Mhz FSB, 128KB L1 and 64KB L2 Cache, 0.13 micron offers a very cool processor. The Via C3 is pin compatible with Socket 370, and will require specific Bioses to support this CPU. Check the Via website for mobo compatibility .The performance of this 1 Giga Pro CPU fits neatly between the Celeron 1Ghz and the more powerful AMD Duron 1Ghz. The edge that the Via C3 has over Intel Celeron and AMD Duron is it's cost, not to mention lower power consumption and low cooling requirements.

Conclusion This is definitely a buy. I like the way the system performs, both as a value PC and the performance will meet any Business PC needs. I would not recommend this to a Power Gamer, however, as it lacks an AGP slot.

With the PXE support, I will testing this function in a diskless boot configuration, in a pizza box MicroATX case. In such a configuration, bundled with the right boot server, you have a dynamite combination for a small, cost conscious business. Too bad it does not have S-Video out or TV out. That would be way cool!

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