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AT-Style K7 Motherboards? 12

yhetti asks: "I'm pretty old school and I love my K7. But there seems to be some sentiment around the cubicles and whatnot that there should be AT form factor K7 boards. The arguements of AT vs ATX are pointless and, like so much other stuff, it comes down to preference and use. My main qualm with ATX is that as nice as the BIOS softpower and power settings might be, they don't always work. You all know what I mean. AT is at least garenteed to start back up on power fail. In a perfect world everything is on an UPS. But then...HAH. So are there any plans for an AT style Athlon board coming down the pipe? Some sort of arch. problem that won't let it happen? Maybe power requirments? Are any of the major companies (read as: "Asus, Tyan, and FIC") thinking about this? I'd buy a dozen... " I too must state my desire to see something like this.
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AT-Style K7 Motherboards?

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  • Usually, the biggest problem with this is power supplys and board layout. True, you can easily obtain 250/300W AT power supplys (and I *do* prefer a nice switch instead of soft power), and a lot of the newer AT form boards support ATX power, too, so that's not a big deal. Layout is always a factor, and, as an owner of an AT Slot1 board (Soyo 6Y-BB), I can personally tell you that having to saw off part of the hidden drive cage for tall DIMMS is kind of a pain 8^) Cooling is always a factor, but this can always be alleviated with extra fans, cutouts, etc, and isn't always necessary (however, given the power draw on the Athlons, it might be more of an issue - I don't own an Athlon yet (or a follow-on), so I can't tell you).

    There's not necessarily a lot of physical reasing that you can't have an AT style board, but manufacurers may consider it a little to much of a niche product, especially since, given the cost of the other parts involved, the case ends up being fairly negligable... unless you want to replace a *nice* case (I've got 6 5" bays, 2 3" bays, and 5 internal mounts on my AT, and I can't give it up - my big ATX case has 5 5", 1 3", and 7 internal mounts - I'm a sucker for expandibility... and I believe in SCSI)[/offtopic]

    So, technically feasible, but financially questionable, given:
    1) SlotA - A lot of AT cases may not have the juice/cooling and a new supply can cost as much as a case
    2) SlotA - Athlons still don't make up the majority of the marketplace (some Intel company, I think)
    3) $$$ Creating a line of boards for a small user base would price the boards higher, or eliminate all profit. Either way, not good buisness sense.

    Sorry, but that's just my e^(-j*Pi) cents...
  • Power requirements cannot be an issue, as a motherboard can get more power from an AT power supply than from an ATX (Dell actually uses a hybrid connector on some of its boards that allows the board to get enough power from an ATX supply). And whoever thought the soft-power idea was a good one should be drug into the street and shot! Also, ATX cases tend to be cheaply made and pretty flimsy compared to AT cases. The positioning of components on ATX boards is better than on AT boards, though. If the soft-power "feature" is the only problem you have with ATX boards, it is pretty easy to circumvent it. Just get an ATX power supply with a hard-switch capability (I think PC Power & Cooling makes one) and put a jumper cap across the pins on your board where the power switch plugs in. Then it will act pretty much like an AT, although it may behave strangely if you try and power it off in software (just don't compile "power off on shutdown" into your kernel and you will be fine).
  • s/negligable/negligible/
    [/beating head]
  • The newer K7s (Thunderbird/Spitfire) will not be Slot A, they'll be Socket A. Perhaps motherboard manufacturers will find it easier to design AT-style Socket A boards (but don't bet on it.)

    Are there even any Socket 370 or Slot 1 (or 2) AT-style boards?

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Tower touched on this, but it really is a big advantage of the ATX design. The power supply pulls air across the CPU, and the K7 does get very hot, especially at high clock speeds. I doubt I would trust it in an AT case without several extra fans, and motherboard manufacturers probably see AT as a dying breed anyways.
  • The air flow on AT cases can vary greatly, for example my case has great air flow running my PIII 500 at 30 degrees C at 100% CPU. My friend's Celeron 466 ATX runs at nearly 50 degrees C at 100% CPU.
  • > Cooling is always a factor, but this can always be alleviated with extra fans, cutouts, etc,

    I found a nifty solution for my K6-III-450, which many people have reported as giving problems under Linux when not sufficiently cooled. You can get little disk drive cooling fans, which are a front-panel drive mount with a couple of tiny fans that suck in the front of the box and over a disk drive mounted there. I just stuck one in the front of my box without a drive in it, and put it in the opening that would make it blow the most air over the heatsink.

    Cost me about $12US, IIRC.

  • yes, I believe the Tyan 1830s is Slot 1 (Pentium II and III) AT style, but not Socket 370
  • Newer ATX motherboards with newer BIOSes have a setting in the BIOS for power failure behavior. I.e., you can decide if you want the machine to automatically resume the last state (i.e. boot up when the power returns after a power failure that killed the machine, or remain off if it was already off when the power failure occured) or if you want it to always remain off when a power failure occurs, until you start the machine again manually (a setting for those who always want to monitor the boot process ;)

    So my advice would be that go for an ATX mobo and an ATX case. The soft-power off is really nice, and as you've found out, there aren't really many newer AT motherboards out there.
    I've been going for ATX all the way since 1996 (back when AT was still the standard, and an ATX system cost more) and I must say that I haven't regret it. It made switching motherboards since then much easier, since ATX is "the standard" now.
    And ATX is also a spec for some of the board layout on the mobo. All ATX mobos have the CPU slot on the top half, so there is no risk of having a stupid mobo where the CPU sits in the way for full-length PCI cards. Such simple things, that makes life easier... =)

    Of course, before you buy the mobo, make sure that it has this "resume state on power failure" option. Ask the dealer or the manufacturer.

  • A few, less than a handfull, Asus ($130) I don't believe that it is ultra ATA. Does have AGP though. Been thinking about putting one in my wife's old ZEOS. Got a couple of Zeos towers I'm converting to ATX so's I can play with an Athlon. Let you know how it goes :>)
  • I too owned the Soyo 6Y-BB, until it unceremoniously died on me. As far as I could tell it was the only AT Slot 1 board out there, but I heard it wasn't completely reliable. Of course my hard drive died a month after so maybe I was cursed. Nonetheless I bought a Soyo 6BA+III, along with an ATX case, and it has been rock solid with my poor celeron 300A o/c'ed to 450, unlike the 6BB. Unfortunately the cheapo case I bought at Fry's to go with it doesn't allow my cards to plug in completely when the case is assembled! So I am stuck with the guts of my computer hanging out all over. Not that I care much, other than the fact that I will occasionally drop things on the mobo and freeze the computer, and I have nightmarish visions of snapping all the cards off while they are plugged in.

    My advice: buy a good ATX case and don't sweat it - the power will go on.

    This pointless rant brought to you by caffeine & codeine! (It's not fun to be sick during finals)

  • Asus makes an SMP Slot-1 (not Slot A) motherboard with I2O and on-board SCSI. This is probably the best AT motherboard on the market and it's priced as such (CDN$1200)

    Info on this board is on this page []

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel