Can A System Board Be Sleek & Sexy?

Hot-597 is, at a mere 7 1/2in. in width, one of the narrowest super7 ATX boards I've seen. Reasonably well lain out, if offers full-length expansion card support on each of the PCI and ISA slots as well as an AGP card fan connector, for the hardcore 3D gamer. There are a few minor points that could have stood improvement, such as moving the CPU socket more toward the center of the system board and increasing the area surrounding it. As it stands now, the CPU socket is far in the upper-right corner and closely surrounded by electrolytic capacitors which can impede the use of an oversized heatsink/fan combo and its position on the board could make for conflicts in space for your CD-ROM or DVD drive (depending on your choice of cases). Also, the placement of the FDD connector far to the left, while not without precedent, could tend to resrict airflow somewhat, but again, this would depend upon your choice of cases. And finally, the dipswitches and jumper-block that allow for adjustment to the external frequency, clock multiplier and CPU/Memory bus speed are somewhat inconvenient to manipulate when the system board is mounted within it's case.

As previously stated, the Installation Guide is greatly lacking in depth but, it nevertheless provides adequate documentation for getting your system up and running. Outside it's case, the system board's jumpers and dipswitches are easily configured and the front panel I/O quickly connected.  To hazard a guess, I would estimate that the entire process of removing the earlier board and installing the Hot-597 took less than a half hour and booted up without a hitch.

BIOS setup, though fairly standard does offer great functionality and control of your hardware. Especially of note was the setting which allows you to choose the IRQ routing table of your preference (Win95, Win98 or VIA). Which was somewhat helpful in resolving a few graphics/sound/modem card conflicts.

Windows 98 Performance


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