Shuttle Hot-597 Review
Shuttle's Hot 597 Super7 ATX mainboard has finally arrived. Plagued by red-tape delays and amidst rumors and announcements of SRAM shortages and price hikes and the impending release of the Pentium III, it would seem on the surface that Shuttle's timing for bringing this board to market couldn't be worse. Perhaps holding it's release to coincide with AMD's upcoming K6-3 would have been the way to go. The super7 market has reached near saturation stagnancy, and with socket 370 Celeron CPUs and mainboards combinations available at extremely competitive prices, the sub-$1000 PC arena seems to be leaning in Intel's direction right now. On the other hand, for the performance-minded upgrader on a budget, the Hot-597 offers excellent features and scalability.
Shuttle's first super7 offering, the Hot-591P, garnered mixed reviews, as testified by the numerous comments we've received here.
I tend to believe that many of the
complaints originated with first time upgraders, who, in the rush for high-performance,
may not have done their homework as carefully as they should. Even amidst the flaming
rants and glowing testimonials, the Hot-591P, released early in the super7 race, found
itself a reasonably strong market niche that had a number of us wondering when Shuttle
would release it's own ATX version of the VIA MVP3 based super7 mainboard.
With completely standard back panel I/O connectors all set up, the Hot-597 comes bundled with only IDE and floppy cables, a five sheet Installation Guide (in English and German) and Shuttle's Driver and Utility CD. Unfortunately the Driver's CD-ROM that accompanied the sample I received from Shuttle was completely blank. This was quickly remedied by posting an email and a replacement CD-ROM arrived the next day. The Installation Guide is reasonably concise at presenting the correct jumper settings depending on your configuration but offers nothing more and it's promise of a full manual on the Shuttle CD-ROM suprised me in that the only manual I found on the CD-ROM was the same five pages in .pdf format. This board, however is an early sample and I would guess that a more thorough manual will accompany the Hot-597 when it ships.
The Hot-597 offers a wide external clock frequency range as 66/68/75/83/95/100/112 and 124MHz settings and clock multipliers from 2.0 to 5.5 are all available, and the core voltage jumper block give excellent control over allocated CPU voltages as it can be set to auto detect the CPU voltage or set manually from 1.8 up to 3.5v in 0.1v increments fully documented save only the setting of 2.4 & 2.7v. Based as it is on VIA's MVP3 core logic, the Hot-597's three DIMM slots can support up to 768MB of EDO or up to 384MB of PC100 or standard SDRAM. The chipset also support the 2 Ultra DMA/33 dual-channel IDE bus master ports and 2 16550 Fast UART compatible serial ports, 1 Parallel port, supports SPP, ECP, and EPP mode, 2 Rev. 1.0 USB ports, PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors and an IrDA connector, as well as the FDD connector. Shuttle's smart and effective use of the Winbond 83781D allows for it's own System Manager applet to monitor a great deal of your hardware, including up the 3 fans, and CPU and system temperature monitoring.
But, the System Manager doesn't stop there, also offering system-wide hardware information and monitoring of your HDD space and virtual memory usage, which can be set to sound an alarm when the parameters you set are in danger of being breached.
Also, hidden away on the drivers disk is the Award Zero-Voltage Data Suspend Utility, which although I did not get around to trying, sounds nevertheless intriguing. The zero-volt data-suspend utility, ZVHDD.EXE, stores all the information about your current operating session on your hard drive when you turn off your system, using just one Windows function to replace the sometimes tedious process of closing data files, applications, and the Windows environment. Next time you turn your system on, the complete session resumes, just as it was. The saved session data includes all the programs and data files loaded into system memory during the session. For example, you may be running multiple applications, such as Microsoft Excel, WordPerfect, and CorelDraw, under Windows 95. Normally, to turn off your computer, you must close all open data files and applications and then exit Windows. When you want to resume work where you left off, you must boot the computer, wait for Windows to open, open your applications, and load the data files you were editing.
ZVHDD.EXE offers a quick and convenient way to, by simply issuing just one command, end
your current session and resume it later exactly where you left off next time you turn on the computer.
Board Layout and Setup