Articles: Mainboards

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Practical Experiments

To check out the practical potential of our today’s hero, abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI mainboard, we assembled the following open test stand:

  • abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI mainboard, rev 1.0, BIOS 1.2;
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU (1.86MHz, FSB 266MHz, rev. B2);
  • 2x1024MB Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics card;
  • Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L200M0 HDD, SATA 200GB;
  • Zalman CNPS9700 LED CPU cooler;
  • Sunbeamtech Nuuo SUNNU550-EUAP PSU (550W).

We discovered the very first drawback almost immediately after boot-up: when the CPU wasn’t loaded heavily, its multiplier and voltage didn’t get reduced. Among the fixes that have been done in the new BIOS version 1.2 at the time of testing, they listed “Fixed the C1E function”. Looked like they had fixed it really harshly, because the processor frequency on abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI mainboard didn’t get any lower in idle mode. Besides, we couldn’t find any options to control the C1E function in the Advanced BIOS Feature section of the mainboard BIOS.

The second drawback was mainboard’s inability to work with Command Rate set to 1T. In fact, the number can be changed but the mainboard is still working at Command Rate 2T setting, no matter what you put in there.

The next three issues we discovered are very closely connected with one another:

  1. Mainboard doesn’t boot up stably every time after overclocking;
  2. There is no POST stage check or it is not working properly;
  3. The BIOS doesn’t allow saving preset profiles.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor we used in our test session could work stably at 490MHz FSB. Unfortunately, on abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI mainboard it could only start at 375MHz FSB. This slight overclocking usually doesn’t require any voltage increase, but in this case we absolutely had to raise the chipset voltage to 1.4-1.45V. Even at higher frequencies the mainboard can work at NB Voltage set to 1.3-1.35V, but it has to be increased for the first boot-up.

If the voltage is not set high enough of the starting FSB frequency is over 375MHz, the board would freeze. It doesn’t matter when the issue occurs: during memory, HDD or USB initialization – when you restart the system there will always be error 11 on the POST code indicator. The mainboard doesn’t have a built-in POST indicator, so we used an add-on card for that.

You can eliminate the issue (error code 11) only by clearing CMOS, i.e. resetting all BIOS settings. Without the automatic POST monitoring and because of the mainboard’s inability to restart automatically overclocking becomes hardly possible at all. In this case having an option to save user settings in the BIOS could be of some help, but abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI doesn’t have anything like that, too.

It may seem like a very small problem, you may think that I am exaggerating the issues here, but it the impression you may get at first glance. Let’s try to count how many extra movements we have to make after clearing CMOS to continue working. We will keep track of our count in brackets not to get confused.

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