The CPU market doesn't change all too often in comparison to the rest of the computer hardware industry, however when it does change, the changes are usually major.  Back in 1996, very few people would've been able to predict the death of the Socket-7 standard as the flagship CPU interface, and even fewer would've expected the Pentium Pro's short lived Socket-8 to ever experience the early retirement in did after the introduction of the Pentium II.  The bottom line is that in spite of the early specifications released to online and printed publications alike, no one can really predict the direction the market will turn 6 months from now, or a year from now when you're considering your next processor upgrade. 

Today, the major source of debate happens to be over the Socket-370 Celeron processor.  Intel has once again proven the lack of a dire need for the journey over to Slot-1 with the introduction of another socket based CPU interface that is curiously similar to that of the old Socket-7 standard.  Socket-370 is becoming increasingly popular, and by decreasing the supply of Slot-1 Celeron processors, Intel is attempting to steer the entire low-cost market in the direction of Socket-370.  Although the Socket-370 processors aren't any different from their Slot-1 counterparts in terms of performance, they do happen to cost considerably less to manufacture, theoretically causing a drop in the final retail price of the CPUs, unfortunately this isn't the case due to the supply/demand for the chips.  In any case, many users are weary of a commitment to Socket-370 now, as they may want to pursue an upgrade to a Pentium III in the future when prices drop down to a more manageable level, unfortunately with the design of the interface, a Socket-370 motherboard is pretty much limited to Intel's Socket-370 Celeron processors, eliminating a great percentage of the high-end solutions from your future upgrade path.

At the same time, if you're looking to save a few bucks, you definitely don't want to pursue the Slot-1 market now, especially with the incredible cost of the Pentium III not showing any weakening under pressure from the market. 

With Socket-370 you save a little money now, but possibly ruin your upgrade path in the long run.  And with Slot-1 you end up spending more money, but have a more reliable upgrade path for the future.  So which path do you choose?  Using Elitegroup's latest concoction, the BX based P6BXT A+, you may not have to make a choice at all...


New Anand Tech Report Card Rating
80/C

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Slot-1 & Socket-370
Chipset Intel 440BX
L2 Cache N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor ATX
Bus Speeds 66 / 68 / 75 / 83
100 / 103 / 112 / 133
Clock Multipliers 1.5x - 8.0x
Voltages Supported 2.0v - Auto Detect
Memory Slots 3 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots 1 AGP Slot
4 PCI Slots (0 Full Length)
2 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 2 Full Length)
BIOS Award BIOS
The Good

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