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Tyan Tomcat i815T Motherboard

One thing that has possibly affected Intel's sales of Pentium III and Celeron 2 based systems in the aftermarket has been the lack of interest from the average consumer. While there are certainly high end solutions available, the OEM market thrived on the the original i815 chipset. With its integrated video and the possibility of integrated LAN and sound capabilities it was a no brainer why large computer builders liked the cost efficient i815 chipset. But the average consumer shopping the aftermarket wants more than a very basic experience with their 3D games or for use with their applications. Intel not too long ago released the i815E chipset - or B-step chipset. Simultaneously Intel released their new B-step Pentium III CPU which offered higher clockspeeds and would only work with a B-step motherboard. The B-step Pentium III now runs at 133 MHz FSB and supports PC133 memory. Is this a viable alternative to the consumer who is used to getting their chipset solutions from VIA? Tyan was kind enough to send their Tomcat i815T motherboard and as we'll see the platform is very mature even at its recent release.

The Board
  • Socket 370 support (including B-step CPUs)
  • PC133 Support
  • Intel i815E chipset
  • ATA-100 Support
  • 1 AGP, 6 PCI
  • 3 Dimm slots
  • 12" x 8" ATX layout


(click for a larger picture)

Tyan Tomcat i815T website
Approx $150 USD

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First Impressions

The first thing that jumped out at me about the i815T Tomcat was its very clean layout - and lack of onboard sound. We have seen this arrangement with Tyan's motherobards previously and we've come to expect that Tyan caters to users who expect better sound than what is shipped with most motherboards.

The next thing that is quite interesting is that Tyan has chosen to include 6 PCI slots. It has been quite a while since I can remember seeing so many PCI slots. Considering the flexability this affords I believe most will be very happy to give up onboard sound for the inclusion of the extra PCI slot.


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