18
Sep
15

Motherboard: ASUS SP97-V

Today we’re looking at another socket 7, the ASUS SP97-V. This particular model was made around mid to late 1997 judging by date codes, putting it fairly later in the life of the socket 7 standard. Some notable features include dual power input and optional on-board video.

ASUS SP97-V

Here is the board is all its glory, note how integrated this chipset is. There are far fewer chips on this board compared to the older Gigabyte board I photographed last time. This one has a SIS 5598 chipset, which whilst reasonably good hardware wise didn’t enjoy good software support under windows 9x.

PSU connectors

Like the Dataexpert board, this one comes from a transitional time for computer technology. However it isn’t the RAM in this case, the power supply connections reflect the change. Note it has both the old style AT connectors as well as the newer ATX one. The ATX standard is superior in terms of electrical safety, and cannot be connected incorrectly.

The board only supports 72 pin FPM or EDO RAM which was starting to be replaced by SDRAM at the time. I suspect the reason for omitting SDRAM sockets is to save money, as this would have been a budget board. The newer memory would have been more expensive per Megabyte, so excluding the sockets was probably not a big deal for cost minded consumers.

L2 Cache Like other boards this age it has L2 cache chips, in this case 512K pipeline burst cache. This is an important feature for faster processors that can consume data from the bus faster than memory of the time could deliver. For socket 7 boards in particular the bus speed would make a big difference to the maximum performance of the system as a whole. Later Super Socket 7 boards increased performance for pretty much any processor because of this.

From the perspective of a technician this board is pretty good. There are not too many jumpers to configure, and those that are present have a silkscreen label to aid setting them. The jumpers are mostly for setting parameters for the processor such as the multiplier, voltage, and bus speed. The manual wasn’t too hard to find on the web if you have any trouble, but you’re unlikely to really need it. I’ve not seen this board in service so I won’t comment on reliability. I’ve not tested this board recently but some of the VRM capacitors are bulging.

The fastest CPU it can support is the AMD K6-2 rated at 333Mhz equivalent. I doubt that part would achieve full performance on the particular board as the bus speed maximum is 75Mhz. I think a part of around 233Mhz would probably suite it better.

This particular offering from ASUS was obviously a commodity board with sockets for the older but cheaper main memory, the lower chip count and small form factor. The on-board video is a nice feature if you were trying to save cash, but would have been a problem for anyone looking for better performance. Although the RedHill guide says the graphic performance was reasonable compared to low-end cards. The other integrated features were pretty much standard for the time, but impressively are mostly integrated into the main chip. Only a few ports like serial and parallel have external chips driving them.

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