Building on success is one thing, living off of past success is another.  One of the previous two can be respected and admired, the latter, frowned upon and degrading to the individual or individuals that managed to ruin their reputation by engaging in such a feat.  Where does Tyan fit into all of this?  Well, their products in the past have almost always given users reasons for driving down the Tyan route rather than the competitions' path, however their newest motherboard, the Single Processor Tsunami ATX based on the Intel 440BX chipset provides users with a new perspective on Tyan's product line...and it isn't one of quality. 


Anand Tech Report Card Rating
90/B+

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Slot-1
Chipset Intel 440BX
L2 Cache N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor ATX
Bus Speeds 66 / 100 MHz
Clock Multipliers 2.0x - 5.0x
Voltages Supported 1.5v - 3.5v (Auto Detect)
Memory Slots 3 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots 1 AGP Slot
5 PCI Slots
2 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 3 Full Length)
BIOS AMI WinBIOS

The Good

Exploring uncharted waters, Tyan became one of two manufacturers (the other being the newly established MTech/Soyo team) to outfit their single processor BX motherboard with 5 PCI slots to complement the 1 AGP and 2 ISA slots.   Filling the space between the Slot-1 and the 3 DIMM slots at the edge of the ATX form factor motherboard is the formidable opponent, the Intel 440BX chipset, providing the Tsunami ATX with the 100MHz Front Side Bus Frequency that the market has patiently waited for eagerly throughout the last year.

As with most Tyan motherboards, the Tsunami ATX features the oh-so-useful Green Power LED on the board in addition to the relatively tiny PC Speaker located in the lower left hand corner of the motherboard.  The latter would seem like a pointless feature, however by placing the PC Speaker on the motherboard itself, Tyan allows you to rip the bulky unit out of your case and replace it with something much more productive and much less useful, a secondary case fan would be ideal, all of this is made possible while retaining the full functionality of a PC Speaker in your system.  As to how useful that would be in normal everyday situations, that is an entirely different review in itself. 

The unusual location of the CMOS Battery in the crowded lower right hand corner of the motherboard gives way to the interesting layout of the Tsunami, however the crowded battery itself is the power behind keeping all of the information stored in the "user friendly" AMI WinBIOS up to date. 

For those of you not familiar with the AMI WinBIOS Setup, it closely resembles the now abandoned interface of Windows 3.11.   By using this interface American Megatrends, the creators of the BIOS, managed to mask the high-end and extremely configurable core of their top notch BIOS Setup behind a layer of good-looks and a hardly intimidating interface.

Like its competing Supermicro counterpart, the Tyan Tsunami's AMI WinBIOS Setup takes advantage of the Serial Presence Detect on PC100 SDRAM modules to automatically configure your SDRAM timings with the ideal balance of performance/stability in mind, making AnandTech's Suggested BIOS Settings redundant and therefore pointless in listing for PC100 owners (using non-PC100 memory at the 100MHz bus speed is virtually impossible). 

In this case, building upon their past successes, Tyan once again delicately put together a great looking and definitely useful User's Manual whose class can be ranked among the ABIT's, ASUS', and AOpen's in the market.  The attractive cover of the manual, and the informative back including information about Tyan as well as how to reach them are the icing on the cake, making this Manual one of the best in the business. 

The uncommonly easy to configure jumpers on the Tsunami make the initial setup and configuration of Tyan's BX Pride a breeze, you can either follow the directions on the manual or those printed on the motherboard itself, either way you will have very little trouble setting this board up.

The Bad

If Tyan had paid as much attention to laying out the motherboard as they did to laying out the manual, maybe this part of the review would've been featured in the Good section, unfortunately they didn't, so here we go.   Have fun plugging in your ATX Power Supply cable, which passes over not only the Slot-1 SEC and the BX Chipset, but also over the DIMM slots stopping at the very feet of the IDE connectors.  Once you get all of your HDD/FDD cables plugged in, expect a grand ol' mess in your ATX case, regardless of how much room you have in there. 

Tyan had the attention to detail to place a Green Power LED on the board, as well as a PC Speaker on the board...but why is it that they didn't have the attention to detail to place even a relatively cheap heatsink on the BX chipset like every single manufacturer has done with their BX boards?  Even the low cost DFI P2XBL features this little addition while keeping the cost well below most of the competition. 

The presence of only 3 DIMM slots shouldn't be a problem for most users, however the reasoning behind this is most likely because the lack of capacitors between the BX chipset and the Memory Banks could possibly cause instability when using more than 3 DIMMs in conjunction with each other, even with 3 DIMMs installed you can't expect the most stability out of the Tsunami ATX as a result of this.  

Finally, don't plan on overclocking with the Tsunami ATX other than with a Pentium II - 233 or 266 (taking them up to 300/66 at most).   Tyan seems to have abandoned their brief affair with overclocking on their Socket-7 motherboards with their BX boards, since the Tsunami takes the extra step to detect what Bus Speed it should run your processor at depending on whether it is a Pentium II 233/266/300/333 or a Pentium II - 350/400.  Since the 350/400's aren't overclockable using the 100MHz bus speed, this leaves Pentium II - 233 and 266 owners (provided that their chips aren't clock-locked, Celeron 266 owners can also take their chips up to 333MHz on this board) with the option of overclocking on this board. 

The Test

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