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ABIT BE6-II v2.0

Company: ABIT
BE6-II v2.0 Motherboard
Street Price: ~ $120
Complete Motherboard Spec's: http://www.abit-usa.com/english/product/motherboards/be6r2-20.htm
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2000
Reviewed By: Jason


History 101:

Before I dive into this review, let me give you a little history lesson on the BE6 line of motherboards. Way back in the days when the BX chipset was the only solution for 100Mhz+ front side bus speeds, ABIT began creating a line of motherboards that have made global history. All the boards from the first BX6 up to the most recent BE6-II v2.0 have been in the spotlight some time or another. The BH6 was a particularly popular board with it's outstanding stability & well designed layout.

Then came along the BE6, which has an extra chip on it from a little known company (at the time) called High Point Technologies. This chip (the HPT366) gave the ability to have two extra IDE ports that supported ATA/66. No longer must extra cards be bought to support these ultra fast hard drives that were coming into the market!

The next evolutionary step was the BF6 / BE6-II which sported ABIT's latest SoftMENU III giving FSB settings in 1Mhz increments up to 200Mhz, among other things. These two boards are just about identical cousins except for the fact the BF6 has 6 PCI & 1 ISA slot and no High Point (HPT) chip, and the BE6-II has only 5 PCI & 2 ISA slots and does have the HPT chip.

Hail to the king baby! (Go rent Army of Darkness if you didn't get that quote.) Having so many rich features made the BE6-II an instant success with the overclocking crowd!

With time came new innovations like the the High Point 368 & Promise Fastrak66 which spawned cheap IDE RAID 0, 1, and 0+1 abilities to the masses. Many people went out and bought the Promise Ultra 66 controller and soldered a resistor on it to covert it to a Fastrak66. (Ah, how time goes by so fast...) It seemed almost overnight that the HPT370 chip overtook the HPT366 & HPT368 by offering not only ATA/100, but also RAID ability; Promise too came out with a ATA/100 line about the same time. If you want to learn more about RAID you can go to the Promise or High Point Tech website.

Likewise, with minimal effort (for the manufacturers) the HPT370 chip was a drop in replacement (in the assembly line) for the existing boards with the HPT366 & HPT368. Instant ATA/100 & RAID brought a new revision of older motherboards! Having the power of RAID come in a cheap chip gave ABIT the ability to create the BX133-RAID & The BE6-II v2.0. The BX133-RAID is a new creation and is a s370 format, whereas the BE6-II v2.0 is descendent from the BE6-II v1.0 and is a Slot 1 board. Now all of ABIT's new boards include the HPT370 chip to provide two extra IDE channels that support RAID, a key selling point.

The BE6-II v2.0:

Just to make things clear, the older BE6-II v1.0 had the HPT366 chip, and the new BE6-II v2.0 has the HPT370 chip. There is a BE6-II v1.2 which also has the HPT370, but I believe this was just a short run until they could finalize everything and call it v2.0. As far as the rest of the board is concerned there are no visible changes (or any that ABIT mentions) other than the change in the High Point chip (and change in the BIOS to reflect it). So all the BE6-II goodness hasn't been tampered with, like the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Just replacing the High Point chip brought new life to this aging BX board. Without adding any more cost to the consumer, the great BE6-II now supports ATA/100 & RAID! While it is still held back by the limitations of the BX chipset, mainly not having a 1/2 AGP divisor, even when compared to newer chipset it will constantly out perform them because the BX was such an excellent design.

The BE6-II v2.0 In All It's Glory

(Click For Bigger Picture)

ABIT BE6-II v2.0 Specifications

Interface Slot 1
Type / Size ATX Form Factor
Supports Intel PentiumŪ III 450~1GHz processor cartridge based on 100MHzFSB
Supports Intel PentiumŪ II 233~450 MHz processor cartridge based on 66/100MHzFSB
Supports Intel CeleronTM 266~533MHz processor based on 66MHzFSB
Reserves support for future Intel PentiumŪ III processors
Chipset IntelŪ440BX chipset (82443BX and 82371EB)
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Bus Speeds 66Mhz - 200Mhz, with 84 - 200 in 1Mhz increments!
FSB Multipliers 2.0 - 8.0+ in .5 increments
Voltages CPU core adjustable in .05v increments, I/O adjustable in .1 increments
Memory Slots 3 - 168-pin SDRAM DIMM sockets - up to 768MB
Expansion Slots 5 - 32-bit PCI slots
1 - 16-bit ISA slot
1 - AGP slot (support 1x/2x (Sideband) 3.3V)
BIOS Award Plug and Play BIOS version 6.0

As you can see from the picture and the quick specifications, the BE6-II is a fully loaded motherboard. The layout is excellent with the exception of the external thermistor connector. It's located almost inline with the AGP slot! Realistically if you ever want to put it in our out you have to remove the AGP card, but then again, unless you are constantly removing your CPU from your computer this isn't a big deal.


Lets Get On With The Tests On Page 2!


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