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Discussion Starter #1
I am putting together a HTPC from some old stuff I have. I want to upgrade piece by piece, but I want the new stuff I buy to be what I want long term.


To the point. I want to buy a Radeon LE AGP card, and system requirements include a AGP 2x or 4x slot. Does this mean it flat out won't work in my old abit BH6 mb with it's AGP 1x slot?


I would really prefer not to get the PCI Radeon. Unless, of course, everyone has had them work fine for HTPC, noting that I may play games on this system. I don't have the cash for a new case/mb/chip/v-card all at once right now.


Should I:


1. Use the system as is for now (Matrox Mystique w/ Rainbow runner) and buy all new stuff in few months.


2. Buy the PCI Radeon and upgrade other pieces later.


3. Buy the AGP Radeon, stick it in the slot, and call Tech Support.


4. Buy all the new stuff I need, stimulate the economy, and risk the wrath of the wife.


Thanks,

-nathan
 

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Hi Nathan:


___The Abit BH6 was built around the Intel BX chipset and has native 2X AGP support w/ Sideband Addressing. My parents PC built from my older Abit BH6 ver. 1.01 runs a Radeon quite handily w/ a PIII 750 at 1 GHz if I do say so myself ;) It still is one of my all-time favorite boards …


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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{Edit} Doh! Wayne beat me to the punch again, and with better info! Curses, foiled again! ;)


I'm also a bit confused about all these different AGP variations, but I think that the different versions supply voltage on different pins, so that stuffing a card into an incompatible slot won't work (even if you get past the slot keying). Most newer mobos seem to have slots which support more than one type of AGP card, but I have a feeling that it doesn't work the other way around.


Supposedly the PCI Radeon is fine for DVD, but I don't think it will give you the 3D performance you probably want. I personally would hate to settle for PCI-based speeds in the long run.


Assuming I'm right, that eliminates options 2) and 3), so my guess is that you'll have to wait, and maybe do the mobo upgrade first. Probably not what you wanted, but there are some technology divides that can't be bridged easily. The mobo contains all the host chipsets, so that's usually where the new-standard bottlenecks show up.
 

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Hi Dcheesi:


___You can answer the next one ;) I worked all night last night and am literally hanging by a thread here in my chair :( Nothing 4 hours or so won’t fix starting in a few minutes …


___Nathan, I should also add that most video cards do not like the 133 MHz FSB/89 MHz AGP so make sure you disable sideband addressing if your CPU can make it to 133 MHz FSB stable. Forcing AGP to 1X via various utilities around the net (PowerStrip works best for this ;)) may help if you find a particular card is stubborn as well. The PCI/IDE bus on the BX chipsets comes back in spec at 133 MHz. Just stay away from 124 if you can possibly help it as this was a HD killer frequency let alone a SCSI adapters nightmare if you do decide to OC!


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great! This solves all my problems quite well. Thanks for the responses guys.


Sounds like the info on the abit-usa.com site was a little outdated. (checking again) Ooops, not quite. Looks like the PDF did say it is 2x compatable (in one spot). Darn! RT#$%M! Sorry.


xcel: The chip I am using is a 450 Mhz PII (barely cuts it, i know) which needs a 100Mhz FSB speed I believe. So I am going to have to run everything at a 100Mhz. Is this going to be a problem for the Radeon, or were you only concerned about trying to use the BH6's AGP 2x slot with the FSB at 133Mhz.


Thanks again,

-nathan
 

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Actually, the BX chipset doesn't determine the frequency of the PCI bus. There is a separate clock driver IC that needs to have a 1/4 divider to get 33 MHz PCI from 133 MHz sytem bus. I have several BX motherboards that only have 1/3 dividers so 133 MHz doesn't get you 33 MHz with all BX motherboards.


Mark
 

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Hi Nathan:


___An HTPC built around an Intel PII 450 is fast enough for everything but DScaler IMO. Running at 100 MHz FSB places the PCI/IDE/ISA and AGP spec’s right on and will work magnificently with the Radeon “LEâ€. In fact, most of us here cut our HTPC teeth on HW very similar to what you are about to use yourself ;)


___Mark: Take a look at this article entitled 133MHz FSB & 33MHz PCI on the ASUS P2B from 1997 in regards to the dividers available from Anandtech. The discussions that followed in the Anandtech forums afterwards indicated that most if not all the BX chipset based boards had this ¼ divider and that it was built into the chipset specifications. From your post, it appears that lower tier non-enthusiast boards did not implement this feature than? I would not have purchased the many Abit or Asus boards I have used without this knowledge. In fact, it was not two to three hours after that article was posted and I was running a multiplier limited PII 233 at 333 MHz at 133 MHz FSB x 2.5 w/ Samsung GH (PC100 CAS2) on Samsung PCB’s with the Abit BH6 myself. Fastest and best deal available at the time. Two items came from this in the years that followed.


1) Why was Intel hiding this ¼ divider way back in early to mid 1997 and 2) Why did Intel release the native 133 MHz FSB I815 when the BX at 133 MHz was 5 to 10% faster and only needed ATA 100 support, a ½ AGP divider, and 4X AGP support to meet the latest PC performance spec’s in late 1999/early 2000? There was some serious backlash towards Intel afterwards given the I820 fiasco’s as they were being pushed quite heavily about this time frame.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I know this is getting off my original topic, but I was hoping to clarify a few things I have been researching.


Apparently my BH6 will support PIIIs up to like 850Mhz, assuming I have updated the bios. Or, are there only certain versions of the board that are required?


Since the BH6 seems to be a good board, I would simply like to upgrade the CPU (eventually) to like a 700Mhz and be done with it for a while. I am just a little confused as to the FSB clocking. If I have PC133 SDRAM and a 700EB 133Mhz FSB CPU, my new Radeon, and probably Zoltrix Pro6 audio, would anything be out of spec at 133Mhz FSB? Or is that out of spec for the board itself. If upgrading the CPU should I not bother OC'ing the FSB, or just go for a little boost at 112Mhz?


Most everything I could find at sharky's and bxboards about OC'ing the BH6 was back in the days before PC133 so it is hard to apply it to what I am wanting to do. Basically, I want to know what relatively cheap PIII chip can I put in this thing (and OC perhaps).


Sorry for the barrage of questions. Thanks, guys.
 

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Hi Nathan:


___You can even place 1.0 GHz SECC2 based PIII in it. The multipliers are overwritten buy the chips themselves. The item you will need for a std. E model (100 MHz FSB version of the PIII) is a slotket (Slot1 to FC-PGA – socket 370 converter). They are fast becoming extinct so I would look for one very soon if you want the minor and cheap upgrade. I liked only two in the MSI 6905 Master and/or the IWILL II. They were short enough to fit in an InWin A500 case which was a deciding factor for me way back than. Both Asus and Abit also make good slotkets but again, they are not so easy to find. Even the Computer Shows locally are only providing me with Chinese no-name knock off’s that I would not purchase myself. AS for OC’ing, don’t worry about that right now. You have a lot more to deal with in terms of setup than that currently. The older information available is invaluable when you do get to the point of your build so just leave those pages in your favorites menu’s as a bookmark and revisit them later when you want to experiment a little.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think i got it figured out. My board is a version 1.01 so I will (no pun intended) definately need a slotkey card to run any kind of coppermine cpu. Looks like the iwill is a good choice, apparently a lot of people have had problems with the abit slotkey in the BH6.


I will worry about that later if I choose to go that route. Like you said, it will be enough work just getting everything together. The really sad thing is, if I had known what I was doing when this became the backup computer 2 upgrades ago, I could have used this board with the PIII 650 I bought and saved the $150 I paid for the BE6II I bought. Oh well, live and learn.


Thanks a ton!


-nathan
 
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