To cut costs, Abit decided to base the BE6-II and the BF6 on the same basic design. This form of "platform sharing" is common in all manufacturing industries. Simply sketch out the layout and design of your high-end product, then remove a few high-priced components/extra's and you've got a less expensive product you can sell to the low-end market.
Expect this trend to only increase as time goes on. By doing this, Abit is able to sell two similar products to two distinctly different markets, all at a cost that is significantly less than if they decided to manufacture the two products on separate designs.
Since the BE6-II and BF6 are based on the same design the same location gripes present in the BF6 review still apply.
For starters, we're a little unhappy to see the DIP switches at the top of the motherboard. By placing them at the top of the motherboard, they're in an awful position to access once the motherboard is installed inside a system case. Since the majority of BE6-II owners will use Soft Menu III to adjust CPU settings this isn't as major a problem as it could be. We're glad Abit decided to use DIP switches over jumpers, which in our opinion are much tougher to manipulate once the motherboard is seated inside a case.
The DIP switches are placed in a position
that's difficult to reach inside a case.
We also would have liked to see more room between the IDE cables and the DIMM sockets. While this isn't a major issue, we would have liked a little more space to work with when installing a 3rd DIMM.
We just mentioned needing more space between the DIMM sockets and the IDE connectors, during CPU installation however we noticed another important spacing issue. For those of you with larger heatsink/fan setups, the first DIMM socket is awfully close to the Slot 1 interface. You may have to leave this DIMM socket open to comfortably fit your CPU cooling setup.
There isn't much space between
the CPU and the first DIMM.
For powering fans, Abit included 3 fan headers - 2 located between the DIMM sockets and the Slot 1 interface, and another nestled near the battery at the bottom of the motherboard.
Unlike the BF6, the BE6-II only features 5 PCI slots. With the inclusion of the HighPoint ATA-66 controller one of the PCI slots had to be removed to prevent IRQ conflicts.
Cutout for the 6th PCI slot
available on the BF6.