Iwill XA100 Plus Conclusions

Comments & Tips

Introduction - Features - Set Up - BIOS Configuration
Testbed - AMD K62 Performance - Cyrix MII Performance
Intel Pentium Performance - Comments and Tips - Conclusion

As you can no doubt discern, I am quite excited by the prospects this system board makes available.  At this juncture it is easily my first choice for ATX Super7 mainboard of the year.  I have pushed it to the bleeding edge and, although I choose not to report on setting where core voltages are unsafe and external clock speeds are unstable I do want to make a few observations.  First and foremost, in order to enjoy the maximum capabilities of this system board it is absolutely necessary to get the best system memory (DRAM) you can find.  When I first set the board up, I grabbed the first DIMM out of the box and, although it was PC100 SDRAM (CAS3-8ns) the system was not stable at anything over 110MHz. 
Also, something I must mention is that, it is a very bad idea to introduce new hardware into the system when running the external clock frequency at anything above 100MHz.   Twice, when introducing new hardware into the system (an AGP graphics card and PCI sound card) errors occurred that were nearly unrecoverable (corruption of VFAT and File Allocation Table) when the FSB was set to 110MHz.
You will need to get the latest ALI AGP and Bus Master IDE drivers to enjoy the best performance from the system board and please make sure to uninstall the old ones before upgrading to the new or you may run into trouble.

Iwill has, in what is currently a pretty tough market, risen to the occasion in a most impressive way with this system board.  With the demise of the socket 7 platform looming on the horizon, this system board will definitely serve until the bitter end.


Conclusion
While I'd love to see this system board incorporate a few more PCI slots, a larger write-through capable L2 cache and a bit more room around the ZIF socket, to make the installation of the CPU fan a little easier, the XA100 Plus is hands down the winner of  The Super 7 Hardware Guide's Best ATX Mainboard Award.

Note:  As of 12/21/98 Iwill's XA100 Plus' title of Best ATX Super7 Mainboard has been usurped by EPoX EP-MVP3G Mainboard.  This board is now first runner-up...

While its suggested retail price ($115.00) is a bit high when compared to other current super7 mainboards, it features, tweakability, stability and reliability, make the little bit of extra cash up front a mere drop in the bucket against the return in value you'll receive if you purchase the XA100 Plus.

Three Cheers for Iwill - Hip-Hip-Hooray!

 

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