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Review of Slot 1 Motherboards with Intel 440BX Chipset - Spring 1998
Краткое содержание статьи: Intel won the run and is the first to ship a chipset that is running at 100 MHz system or front side bus clock.

Review of Slot 1 Motherboards with Intel 440BX Chipset - Spring 1998

Редакция THG,  26 мая 1998
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Intel won the run and is the first to ship a chipset that is running at 100 MHz system or front side bus clock. People who want to have the fastest Pentium II CPUs will now have to take advantage of this chipset, because 333 MHz is as far as Intel will let you get in a board with 440LX chipset. 350, 400 and 450 MHz will require 100 MHz FSB and so 440BX. 100 MHz FSB alone are hardly giving any performance increase over 66 MHz, as you know from my article about the performance differences between 66 to 100 MHz FSB Slot 1 systems, but 350 or 400 Mhz CPU clock will make sure that a BX system will indeed be faster than even an LX chipset with a 333 MHz CPU.

Ram Timing Negligible

You certainly remember the fact that the higher data bandwidth of main memory at 100 MHz FSB is only responsible for a mere 3% performance increase over 66 MHz FSB in most software, which is due to the L2 cache of a Pentium II CPU, that runs always at half the CPU clock, unchanged by the FSB. This may be surprising to a lot of you, because things are so different in Socket 7 systems. However, the reason for this difference is the direct relation between bus clock and L2 cache speed in Socket 7 systems. Now although it is surprising that a 50% bandwidth increase from 528 MB/s to 800 MB/s has only a little 3% impact on overall system performance, there is a good side to it as well. In the past I advised all people who wanted to get the most out of their system to tune their memory timings in the BIOS setup. This could improve performance particularly in Socket 7 systems, but even Slot 1 systems with 440LX chipset could notice a difference. This time has changed with 440BX and the 100 MHz FSB. The data bandwidth is now so high, that even if it was double it would have hardly any impact on overall system performance anymore. Thus little differences in memory timing have no influence on system performance at all anymore, if the data bandwidth is 830 MB/s or only 760 MB/s, the difference in performance is minimal. The consequence is that many motherboard manufacturers removed the memory timing options from the BIOS setup, but made sure that every SDRAM is running safely and reliably instead. Others cut down the timing adjustments to only one and the ones who still offer 4 different adjustments for memory timing must be asked if they want to impress or confuse the user. In this case you are still not doing anything wrong when choosing the slowest and therefore safest settings, the system will run the same as if you would use the fastest but most dangerous settings.
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