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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.14.00]
Manufactured by: Tyan


That Damn Ram

If you've ever read a review of an Apollo Pro 133 board, you would know that it was plagued with *ultra* slow Ram bandwidth.  Well, here's something that should cheer you up, if you're considering a 133a:

Right on par with the BX Chipset.  The thing is, this is using 133 MHz bus, and in turbo mode, and it is still slightly slower.  Also note that I am using CAS3 ram; if it were CAS2, the CPU/Memory bandwidth score should be in the 300's.  So while the memory BUS on the Tyan 1854 is still slightly slower than that of a BX board, it's not by much.  I am using SiSoft's Sandra 2000 Benchmarking Utility, in case you're wondering.

Awesome RAM Settings

Now this is something you have to LOVE about this board! The Tyan 1854 supports a FSB of 133 MHz, but for those of you with PC100 RAM that may not be up to the task of 133 MHz, the bios allows you to downclock the RAM speed! You can set the RAM speed to match the FSB, or set it 33MHz higher or lower! And yes, you can set it to 133 MHz + 33, and it does benchmark slightly faster.

You can also set the speed timing.  This board allows you to set it at 8 ns, 10 ns, Normal, Fast, or Turbo.  I'm not quite sure what the specifics of these are but after some testing, I found that Turbo seems to be the fastest, and 10 ns the slowest.  I haven't had any stability problems at Turbo, either.


Have your doubts about ATA/66? Or even Via's ability to built a chipset with integrated ATA/66? Check this out:

Is that fast enough for ya? I thought so.  Keep in mind though, you NEED to install the Via 4 in 1 drivers to get ANY sort of performance (especially AGP).  Get the latest ones right here. Also, make sure DMA is turned on.  The drive used in this benchmark is a freshly defragged Maxtor 7200 RPM 13 gig.  It is the only drive on the Primary IDE Channel (pretty important; if you put a slower drive on the same channel, it will default at the slowest speed possible).

The Graphics

Wondering how well AGP performs with this board? Not bad at all, thank you very much.  Unfortunately, I'm unable to post comparison benchmarks at the time, since I only have one motherboard.  Look for a Pro 133a vs. Intel 440 BX Shootout soon though.  If you are dying to find out what kind of numbers this board delivers, check out the Creative Labs Annihilator Pro review.  There are some Quake 3 benchmarks there, using this board.

I Love You, CPU IOQ

Another cool setting in the Tyan 1854 BIOS is the ability to set the CPU IOQ order.  You can set it to either 1 or 4, 4 being the fastest (and default) setting.  Many 133a boards don't offer this feature, so it is definitely a plus on the Tyan.


Wondering what kind of speeds you'll get with your CPU? I'm using the infamous Intel Coppermine 550e; this CPU is pretty much guaranteed to get 733 MHz, and that is what I got.  I won't go THAT much into detail with overclocking with this board, since I am limited by a shitty Slot 1 adapter.  Since I am unable to change the voltage (many people find 1.65v to be the sweet spot), I am unable to run stable at anything higher than a 133 MHz bus.  I will update this review as soon as I get a better adapter.  In case you're wondering, the board offers BUS speeds of 138, 140 and 150 MHz speeds above 133 MHz... Not a lot of room... I would have like a setting between 140 and 150.

I will mention, though, that you may run into some problems with overclocking.  If you hit a setting that you can't even POST with, you'll have to reset the CMOS with jumpers.  This becomes a pain in the ass if you have the BIOS set just how you like it, then decide to overclock.  I suggest that you find the right CPU speed FIRST, then set your BIOS once you know it's stable.

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