Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-6VM7-4E

Today’s main-board is from my person desktop PC from around 2000-2001. I bought it after my Pentium II machine started acting up. I didn’t have much money at the time being a student, so I bought a relatively cheap system from a friend who happened to work in the industry.

It’s a Gigabyte GA-6VM7-4E coupled with a Celeron 800Mhz (coppermine with FSB @100Mhz) which unfortunately since being in storage seems to no longer work. This is an unusual case where I suspect the CPU over the main-board that I’ll go into later. It could take up to a Pentium III at about 1.1Ghz with an 133Mhz FSB.

This board has a similar chip-set to the board I looked at last time, it has a Via Apollo Pro according to the manual and spec sheets. The south-bridge chip has almost exactly the same markings as those on the Asus board, the main difference being the date code. There is about 17 weeks between them in terms of manufacture date. Of course it makes sense that the south-bridge is likely an identical part, it’s the north-bridge under the heatsink that will be different.

Whilst it is certainly a lower end board, it has some features I didn’t expect such as the ability to use ECC SDRAM. Also interesting is the choice of a Creative CT5880 for on-board sound, these were usually (and often still are) Realtek chips instead.  Luckily it doesn’t stick you with on-board video, opting for an AGP 4x slot instead.

It seems this board has the facility for overclocking, allowing an FSB up to 150Mhz, which would have been good if your cards and RAM could accommodate the speed increase. The Coppermine Celeron I had was meant to be one good for overclocking although I never tried.

In service this board turned out to be quite reliable and performed reasonably well considering the lacklustre CPU I had in it. It worked for about 5 years as my desktop and a further 2 as a file server before being retired and stored. The silk-screen on the board isn’t as informative as I’d like, so the manual is a good thing to have when configuring the board. They probably didn’t have enough room because of the mATX form factor.

Here’s the reason I suspect the CPU is the reason this system doesn’t work anymore. It may be hard to see, but the CPU appears to have some damage around its edges. It was working before it was put into storage, so I’d say that the damage has probably occurred during a house move. This is rather unfortunate as this system was quite power efficient in service, but I have a few other coppermine processors that may get this board working again.

This would have to be the first CPU I’ve seen like this, I hope it’s the last! Most of them have been stored separate to the boards in padding, so they should be ok.


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