A motherboard with an abundant supply of free PCI slots for future expansion is hard to come by these days.  With PCI Slot real estate a major seller for high end gaming systems as well as workstation power houses, a motherboard with more than enough PCI slots to accommodate the needs of the high end user now while allowing for future expandability is just what the market needs.  When 5 PCI slots just won't cut it anymore, how do you solve the age old problem of getting more for less?  It seems as if Tyan might have the solution we've been looking for with their new S1836DLUAN Thunder 100 Pentium II BX Motherboard. 


Anand Tech Report Card Rating
94/A

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Dual Slot-1
Chipset Intel 440BX
L2 Cache N/A On-Chip
Form Factor ATX
Bus Speeds 66 / 68 / 75 / 83 / 100 / 103 / 112 MHz
Clock Multipliers 2.5x - 5.0x
Voltages Supported Auto Detect
Memory Slots 4 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots 1 AGP Slot
6 PCI Slots (6 Full Length - 1 RAID Port)
1 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 1 Full Length)
BIOS AMI WinBIOS

 

The Good

Giving you the impression that you're getting much more than you expected out of this monster of a motherboard, the Thunder 100 DLUAN comes in an oversized ATX layout which is quite reminiscent of older Tyan Pentium II motherboards and some of the larger Supermicro motherboards.  This layout is accommodating for the extremely unusual and one of a kind 6/1/1/1 Expansion Slot (PCI/ISA/AGP/RAID) configuration as well as the 4 DIMM slots for memory expansion.  Taking expansion to a new level, Tyan made sure that all of this power could be properly harnessed by the Intel Pentium II CPU...or CPU's if you will as the Thunder 100 DLUAN supports a total of 2 processors using the second Slot present on the enormous motherboard.  Be sure you have at least a full tower ATX case if you plan on using this motherboard. Tyan S1836DLUAN Thunder 100

As if the 6 PCI slots weren't enough to take care of all of your needs, the Thunder 100 DLUAN features a variety of components built directly on to the motherboard.  For starters, the Thunder 100 features an on-board Intel 82558 10/100 Ethernet controller with a RJ-45 ATX connector on the backplate of the motherboard.  This eliminates the need for a PCI Ethernet card saving one of the already plentiful PCI slots.  Accenting the already well equipped motherboard is the Adaptec AIC-7895 Dual Channel SCSI controller chip which powers the 2 - 68-pin UltraWide and 1 - 50-pin SCSI connectors on board.  With on-board SCSI and on-board Ethernet, what could possibly make this motherboard more complete other than integrated sound?   Creative Labs makes their presence known on the Thunder 100 with the Vibra 16XV which takes care of your basic sound needs, the ports on the ATX backplate include the Joystick, Audio in, Speaker out and mic-in connectors for your basic sound operation.   Of course, if you don't wish to use any of the three on-board devices in favor of your own peripheral card (i.e. sound) you can easily disable them using a combination of jumper and BIOS settings. 

The AMI WinBIOS, classic of most Tyan Pentium II motherboards, makes its entrance once again with the Thunder 100 allowing for a wide variety of settings to be controlled and manipulated.  Like the newer Supermicro BX and GX motherboards, the Thunder 100 allows for the manual selection of your CPU's FSB from within the BIOS' Chipset Setup window.  While the 2.5x - 5.0x clock multipliers (the Thunder 100 DLUAN does support the Pentium II - 450) are selected via the easy to reach jumpers on the motherboard, the FSB speed can be selected from a list provided for in the BIOS.  The list includes the standard 66/100MHz settings as well as the overclocked, 68/75/83/103/112MHz FSB settings for those that are interested in pushing the limits. 

Unlike the Tsunami AT which lacked the high quality electrolytic capacitors designed to reduce electromagnetic interference, the Thunder 100 removes the shame from the Tyan logo by achieving a great level of stability even at overclocked speeds.  Considering that the Thunder 100 is a motherboard intended for server or high end workstation situations, where a failure is unacceptable, the stability of the board is critical and definitely well accounted for by the excellent design of the board.  Even using the 112MHz FSB setting on the Thunder 100 proved to be quite reliable as the Pentium II - 400 test CPU ran at 448 without a single hiccup during the reliability testing AnandTech conducted. 

Tyan's well written User's Manual is back again with the Thunder 100, and in spite of the immense amount of data it must cover the manual addresses all features of the board to the usual levels of excellence we've come to expect from a company like Tyan.  All drivers for the on-board devices are included on Tyan's standard supplementary CD-ROM which was found comfortably tucked in between two pages of the manual.  Windows 98 had no problems installing the drivers and configuring the board for optimal usage.  The performance of the on-board Ethernet and SCSI controller was high enough to consider this board a viable alternative to grabbing a board with 5 PCI slots and no on-board Ethernet and SCSI.

The performance of the Thunder 100 is about on par with the other Tyan BX motherboards, the Tsunami-ATX and AT both have an equally performing brother which happens to boast a few more features that it can take home to mom at the end of the day.  Overall, a very well designed motherboard...with its own set of flaws of course...

The Bad

The size of the motherboard may be the discouraging factor of the Thunder 100 as it will only fit in the largest of ATX cases.   While most users don't have the money to buy the $650 Supermicro SC-801A Monster Tower case that can easily handle the Thunder 100, a $200 investment in the SC-750A should prove to be worth while as the Thunder 100 will fit quite nicely into a case of that size.  

The price of the motherboard is also a discouraging factor as the board retails for around $600, however once you subtract the price of the on-board Dual Channel Adaptec SCSI and the on-board 10/100 Ethernet, the Thunder 100 becomes much more appealing of a motherboard. 

The Test

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