Half a year has passed since our last Socket7 motherboard review and a lot has changed in the last months once again. This report is meant to give you an overview on the most important products, facts and improvements. If you want to skip the 'basics'.
Recently I stumbled across a motherboard review in a German publication, which painted a pretty bad picture of the current Super7 motherboards, particularly in terms of quality and reliability. I now have to draw a preliminary finish line to give you my opinion about the current state. Compared to the big socket 7 review I did last year I have to say that I didn't have more troubles this time than I had back then. The majority of the tested boards runs reliably at 100 MHz front side bus clock with PC-100 SDRAM. Nevertheless I can only recommend boards I've tested. Avoid buying a 100 MHz motherboard that has not proved its stability in an elaborately test. As Tom has been saying for months, you shouldn't always go for the fastest board, because stability is a very delicate topic with 100 MHz systems still. That the tested motherboards run reliably doesn't have to mean that other will also work that well
The most important fact for choosing a certain system architecture has always been a fast CPU. Fresh air has blown in the market with AMD's K6-2 for game and multimedia computers. The new CPU with its 3DNow! instruction set and Microsoft's DirectX6 substantially provides 3D gaming performance you can directly compare to a Pentium II at the same clock speed - at a much smaller price.
The second alternative is the 6x86MX CPU, now at PR300 and PR333 also officially called MII. This processor has always impressed with an excellent relation between price and business performance. As you know this CPU can only be recommended for people who work (!) with their computer, since the FPU is ghastly slow as ever for all 3D gamers ...
Last but not least you could also go for a good old Pentium MMX CPU with its steadily decreasing advantages: Quite good FPU performance and suited for overclocking: 250 MHz (83x3) or 262 MHz (75x3.5) should be no problem. In my opinion the 'original' has become rather unattractive since the 266 MHz K6-2 is costing about the same now and consumes much less power as well.