Platform News D - Problems with TNT2 and ALi's Aladdin V Socket 7 Chipset Finally Sorted Out?
So far Nvidia's TNT2 3D chip doesn't run on any Socket7 board that's based on the Aladdin V chipset. I spoke to Ali about this issue and they admit that it is a bug in their chipset, colliding with a special AGP-transfer Nvidia is using in the TNT2-drivers. The problem was finally located last Friday and now ALi and Nvidia have been working on it. I haven't had the chance to see if the problem has been sorted out with the latest driver release from Nvidia (0188), but both companies seem confident that the problem will finally be solved very soon.
Platform News E - Dual Celeron PPGA Platforms
At Computex99 two motherboard makers offered a really nice solution for people who want to take advantage of the fact that Intel's Celeron processors for Socket370 are actually able to run in dual-CPU configuration by using a small trick. The still existing pin for 'GTL+ Input' (pin AN15) needs to be connected to 'GTL+ I/O' and both need to be pulled up to 1.5V. This sounds too technical for most of you, but Abit and QDI came up with a solution that doesn't require any drilling or soldering. As a matter of fact you can just plug in two Celeron CPU in two Socket370s and you can take advantage of SMP. Quake3 will support SMP (multi processing), so that the two solutions may not be that uninteresting to many of you after all.
This is the BP6, Abit's solution for a dual-Celeron platform. It's a lot cheaper than the usage of two special Slot1/Socket370-converter boards with a dual-CPU BX-motherboard, and it's a lot easier to use as well. However, this board is a bad investment once Intel removes the dual-CPU ability from Celeron for S370 completely. The question is if Intel can't just stop bonding AN15 when packaging the chip, or if AN15 is required for other operations as well. Anyway, once Intel gets really annoyed about people using dual-Celeron systems, they will make sure that Celeron doesn't do SMP anymore for good and then Abit will have serious problems selling the BP6.
QDI's solution is called 'TwinMagic' and seems even cooler to me. So far you cannot purchase the dual Socket370 card for Slot1 on its own, you have to get the BX-motherboard with it. This makes sense though, because not every single BX-motherboard supports dual-CPU operations, dual operation requires a special ASIC on the board.
We will see which solution proves to be better. Abit has the advantage of providing less sensitive connectors, the CPUs are directly plugged into the board. On the other hand, the QDI-solution is less wasteful. The single BX-motherboard can still be used for any current Intel P6-CPU, either by directly plugging it in to the Slot1 or via a converter card. If Intel removes the AN15-bonding wire from the Celeron PPGA CPUs it doesn't become quite as pointless as the Abit BP6. Anyway, I'd like to congratulate each of the two board makers for their innovative idea, which won't make them a lot of friends within Intel though.