Features and Expansion
Many of the BX6 2's advanced features are derived from the new Winbond I/O chip, which allows for the following:
- Multiple bus speed and 1/4 PCI divider
- More flexible voltage range
- CPU temp sensor ability
- Temp warning and shut down
- Keyboard powerup
- Mouse powerup
- Assign IRQ to PCI slots
One of the most interesting features is the PC98-like "Instant-on" feature. Using the keyboard/mouse powerup, you can actually turn on the system without having to reach for the power button - yet another nifty "well, the Mac has had it for YEARS" feature nobody can't live without, but cool nonetheless.
The days of the 4/3 PCI/ISA slot motherboard are quickly dawning to an end. Every mainstream component, even modems and sound cards, have made the transition to PCI, and most manufacturers have found that supporting PCI is in fact less expensive than legacy ISA cards. With an MX300, a Sportster PCI, and a Voodoo2 3D card, that leaves one free PCI slot. Will it be for SCSI, a LAN card, an additional Voodoo2 for SLI, a TV Tuner card? The fact is that nowadays, the more slots, the better. The BX6 2.0 offers 5 PCI slots and 2 ISA slots, 1 of each shared. This 5/2/1 configuration is much more expansion-friendly, and is a design gladly carried over from the BH6.
Another improvement over the original BX6 and BH6 is the ability to specify individual IRQs for each of the PCI slots. This feature has long been missing from Abit's BX boards, and it's a welcome addition to the BX6 2. No more swapping PCI cards in and out! In addition, the menu for selecting IRQs for PCI/ISA has been cleaned up, and now no longer appears in an arcane table format.
Another place you won't find Abit skimping on is the manual. Written in better English than most printed products out of Taiwan, the 100+ page booklet clearly explains each and every feature of the motherboard, and more importantly, the BIOS. Instead of "AGP Aperture Size: Select the AGP Aperture Size," the BX6 manual explains:
"Seven options are available: 4> 8> 16> 32> 64> 128> 256> back to 4. This option specifies the amount of system memory that can be used by the AGP device. The aperture is a portion of the PCI memory address range dedicated for graphics memory address space."
A similar blurb is offered for each hardware feature and BIOS setting, and for those of us who don't wish to consult a current reference book for each BIOS tweak, it's a great feature, and unfortunately one which stands out in the industry.