We’re currently witnessing the slow demise of one of the PC’s greatest architectures. Like Intel or not, you have to admit that the P6 architecture has had an incredible run. From the first 0.35um Pentium Pro, to the latest 0.13um Tualatins, the P6 architecture has scaled to almost ten times its introductory frequency, and that’s something very few other architectures can boast. Just try to imagine a 13 GHz Pentium 4.
However, there’s a saying about all good things. The P6 has had its day, and now finds itself lagging behind the newer K7 and NetBurst architectures. Within the next few months, P6-based systems will be limited to a few very low-end Celerons, and even fewer Tualatin-based servers. But as long as there are systems, there will be boards.
The good news is that Socket-370 boards have been available for so long that they’ve become incredibly mature. A large part of that maturity can be attributed to Intel’s 815 chipset, which, despite some inherent limitations, has proved to be a speedy, stable, and incredibly reliable platform. Even the poorest of today’s 815 boards are solid enough to be the basis for a pretty reliable system. The strongest still find homes in many low- to mid-range servers.
As a result, and due to the recent introduction of the Tualatin, we’ve seen a flurry of new 815 Universal releases, in most cases just upgrades of existing 815 boards. Abit, however, has offered a partially redesigned 815EP solution to replace its SA6R, called the ST6-RAID. It offers six PCI slots, on-board ATA100 RAID, and the infamous jumper-free tweakability that made Abit famous. Read on as we take the board for a spin.
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