Since I last reviewed this motherboard, a bit has been discovered. Apparently, it DOES support the 83.3MHz bus speed. The settings for the 83.3MHz bus speed are as follows:

JP5: 1-2
JP6: 1-2
JP7: 2-3

With the discovery of the 83.3MHz setting, the SuperMicro P5MMA turns out to be a much better board than originally thought. I'll be running some more tests using the 83.3MHz bus speed as soon as I get the time to. Until then enjoy the additions to the review...


Motherboard Specifications

Socket Style: AMP Socket 7
Chipset: i82430TX
Cache: 512KB
Form Factor: ATX
BUS Speeds: 50 / 60 / 66 / 75 / 83 MHz
Clock Multipliers: 1.5x / 2.0x / 2.5x / 3.0x / 3.5x
Voltages Supported: 2.8 / 2.9 / 3.2 / 3.3 / 3.5
RAM Slots: 4 72pin SIMM Slots (EDO/FPM)
2 168pin DIMM Slots (EDO/FPM/SDRAM)
PCI/ISA Slots: 4 PCI Slots
3 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 3 Full Length)
BIOS: AMI WinBIOS or MrBIOS
PCI EIDE Controller: Super I/O
2 EIDE Channels
1 FDD Channel
2 Serial /1 EPP

 


The Good

What's good about this board? How about what's GREAT about it. The layout is much better than that of the HX83, mostly because it is based on the ATX form factor. It is very stable, even with EDO DRAM. The lack of an 83.3MHz bus speed option is a major downside although its AT counterpart the P5MMS does support it completely. Its a very fast board, especially when used with the NEW (v3.00) Intel Busmaster IDE Drivers as you might be able to tell by the chart below. I was amazed at how well my Western Digital Caviar (AC21600H) performed on this board. The overall scores rivaled those of high end SCSI drives on Ultra Wide controllers, and although you may have a much better multitasking experience with a SCSI drive, my WD Caviar began to look quite appetizing when paired up with the P5MMA. The manuals (yes, plural, there are two manuals, one for the motherboard and one for the AMI WinBIOS) are very well written and organized. Unfortunately, they can't even rival the quality put into my KN97-X motherboard manual. All of the jumper settings are accurately portrayed in the mainboard manual as well as on the physical mainboard. Since it is in an ATX form factor the board's EIDE Channels are located perfectly underneath the HDD cage in my Enlight case and therefore are nice and out of the way of the jumpers. There is a nicely oversized heatsink on the Voltage regulator which provides ample power for any CPU, including my Cyrix 6x86-150+. This board, much like the HX83, was designed with quality and stability in mind. Even the minor details were given the utmost attention to, from the easy fitting Socket 7 to the smoothly constructed PCI and ISA slots.

The Bad

The lack of an 83.3MHz bus speed option and therefore fewer overclocking possibilities make up the bad aspects of this board. I personally haven't had any problems with it so I can't really say anything bad about this board.

 


IRQ Usage

The usage of IRQs is a very important factor when choosing and configuring any peripheral, including a motherboard. How the motherboard manages and uses IRQs is very important, and often causes conflicts with other peripherals. The P5MMA does not skimp in this area, the AMI BIOS included with the P5MMA allows the user to enable or disable the usage of IRQ12 for a PS/2 mouse if one is present. Also you can individually set the IRQs for each Legacy ISA card just in case some are present in your system. You have the option of manually setting an IRQ for your Video Card if you desire to do so. The P5MMA is truly a board for the tweaker, it allows you to configure each and every IRQ usage setting to the max. As with most boards, you can select which IRQ your Serial and Parallel Port(s) use which often comes in handy when you have devices such as modems, printers, and serial mice attached to your system. The board definitely does a great job of allow you to allocate IRQs in order prevent possible conflicts with other devices.

 


The Test

Test Configuration

Processor(s): AMD K6 - PR2/200 ALR & Intel Pentium MMX 200
BIOS Revision: Original BIOS Revision
RAM: 2 - 32MB Micron 50ns EDO SIMMs
Hard Drive(s): Western Digital Caviar AC21600H
Video Card: ATI 3DXpression+ PC2TV (2MB SDRAM)
Busmaster EIDE Drivers: Intel v3.00
Video Card Drivers: ATI DirectDraw v4.03.2162
OS: Windows 95 Service Release 2
Notes: Write Allocate ENABLED

Windows 95 Performance of the P5MMA

CPU Business Winstone 97
AMD K6-PR2/166 49.1
AMD K6-PR2/187.5 52.6
AMD K6-PR2/200 51.1
AMD K6-PR2/225 55.7

High End Diskmark 97 in Thousand Bytes per Second

Overall High End Diskmark 97

5200

Application Development

8850

Image Editing

5510

CAD/3D

4430

AVS

3020

Microstation

5220

Photoshop

9510

Picture Publisher

3880

PV-WAVE

6250

Visual C++

8850

As you can see, the TX chipset has a dramatic effect on my Western Digital Caviar AC21600H (Fast ATA) HDD. By using the latest bus master IDE drivers (v 3.00) I can get the Overall High End Disk Mark to SCSI performance. Below you can see the amazing performance of the K6 on this board. The results are very self explanatory. Keep checking back for more updates...

 


The Final Decision

If you are looking for a stable alternative based on the TX chipset, along with stability and the ability to overclock using higher bus speeds this is definitely the board for you. Although the price tag is a bit more than some of the other boards, it is a great price considering what you get with the board. The K6 performs ok on this board, it could be better. However the Pentium MMX simply flies on this thing. Definitely a great piece of work. Not exactly what I would expect from Intel's "latest" and "greatest" chipset, but it is still a very solid performer. Given the choice between this board and the HX83 I would choose the HX83 without a doubt. Unless of course, I had some SDRAM or an UltraDMA HDD laying around on my couch, then I would have to reconsider.

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