In the past few weeks we’ve diligently been working with the Tiger MP, putting it through its paces with a wide variety of hardware. You might be wondering why we’re taking so long, as the regular websites just do a quick review and usually test their products for no more than 72-hours. In our opinion this situation calls for a more thorough evaluation, Tyan’s Tiger MP and Thunder K7 are currently the only motherboards with AMD’s 760MP chipset and thus representative of AMD's 760MP platform.
AMD’s 760MP is somewhat of a milestone, and not just another motherboard with a new chipset. It is AMD’s first step into the SMP workstation market, a market that isn’t as forgiving as the home-user market, especially since Intel has a number of competing solutions available. As you may recall we’ve had numerous issues with the Thunder K7 and Tyan wasn’t too quick about responding to our questions about these issues. They suggested we try all sorts of different ‘compatible’ hardware but none of those solved our problems. Despite Tyan’s suggestions and their disbelief that we could have a defective motherboard the motherboard was sent back and turned out to be malfunctioning.
Fig 1. Tyan Tiger MP system, featuring a 15K RPM Seagate Cheetah, ATi Radeon 8500, Adaptec 29160, Adaptec FireConnect 4300, Soundblaster Live! 5.1, Plextor 40TS Wide and 12/10/32 SCSI CDRW, Toshiba SD-M1401 10/40x SCSI DVD/CDROM and 3Com 3C905TX NIC all mounted in an Antec SX-840 case.
With the Tiger MP we’ve naturally run all tests and benchmarks that failed to run on the Thunder K7 and we’ve haven’t seen any of the issues or problems we saw with the Thunder K7. We’ve used a wide variety of different videocards, NICs, soundcards and other hardware to see whether the Tiger MP or rather the 760MP chipset has any issues with commonly used and popular peripherals. We’ve installed and updated Windows 2000 Pro and all sort of updated drivers countless times whilst evaluating and benchmarking the Tiger MP in the process. So far the Tyan is doing great, apart from a few minor annoyances. The first oddity is the fact that the Tiger MP refuses to shut down, when the system power button is pressed or when shutting down from Windows. The system is halted and the screen goes black, but the power doesn’t shut off. Naturally this looks like a power management issue, but we’ve tried every setting in the BIOS already and nothing solved our problem, all you can do is pull the power cable.
Secondly, there’s some issues with ATi graphics cards, the older Radeon and the Radeon 8500 occasionally garble the display when booting, once you’ve booted into Windows everything looks fine though. But more serious is the fact that with a Radeon 8500 or 7500 installed the Tiger MP is unable to run any 3D games or complete a single run of 3Dmark 2001 or Video 2000 it simply halts the system with a BSOD and reboots. Naturally we’ve tried every driver version, even the beta releases, trying to resolve the issue, none provided a fix. We’ve also run the Tiger MP with just the Radeon 8500 or 7500 installed and a very minimum software configuration, just the drivers and service packs, and that also brought on the same reboots.
But as you’re reading this, a number of emails have already been sent to Tyan and ATi obviously asking them to provide a fix for the problem. I’m sure they’ll be getting back to us soon and provide a solution for the above-mentioned problems. You might feel we’re laying it on a little thick but we feel we should be the ones having to deal with all the problems and any unintentional ‘beta-testing’ rather than you having to deal with any issues or problems. In the meanwhile we’ll be keeping you posted about our progress.