[ KB ] Interview with Abit

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[ KB ] Interview with Abit

Post by Derek »

Important: This interview occurred at 2:40 AM CST June 28th 2000 via ICQ with questions being asked by Tim. The date of this post will be March 14th of 2003 as this was the day it was added to the new articles database.

First of all Question 1. Was the BP6 mobo discontinued?
Yes, about a month ago. We decided to discontinue it because compatible CPU's (i.e. old Celerons) are simply getting harder and harder to find.

Did Abit ever plan for the BP6 to support PIII's? Single or SMP mode?
We knew from the very beginning that SMP with PIIIs was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Our guys tried and tried, and paid very close attention to all the wild speculation on the web. But no, the BP6 was never going to support dual PIIIs, and that's what we've been telling people all along. We were pretty sure that FC-PGA to PPGA adaptors would make single CPUs work, or that if people were prepared to start clipping off pins and do some SERIOUS soldering, they might make it work, but other than that, the BP6 was intended for PPGA Celerons only.

Do you own a BP6? If not then why not?
It's funny you should ask that. I've been working at ABIT since September, and when I got here, the system they had set up for me had a really outdated motherboard.... like a PX5 or something. I knew I was going to need an upgrade, so ABIT started putting through all the paperwork to take care of it....
But when the system came, they gave me a BE6 and a Celeron 433 with a SlotKET. Now that's not a bad setup, mind you, but by that time I had learned enough about ABIT to know what were the REALLY cool models. And I KNEW that the BP6 was the motherboard I HAD TO HAVE. I mean, it's sooo cool.

So I went up to the engineering labs and swiped one. And that's what I've got in my box to this day. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Cool, So what are your system specs and is it overclocked?
Specs: Let's see.... BP6 with two Celeron 433's (ABIT gave me one, I bought the other)... 256MB RAM.... a grand total of about 17GB hard drive space, and an ABIT Siluro GF256 graphics card.

Overclocking? I've fiddled around with it, but right now I've just got those two Celerons running at spec. Heh... I guess your readers will think I'm wasting the best part of what otherwise is an awesome setup....

We'll I think you need to put 2 modified golden orbs to make your system complete and a little FSB tweaking couldn't hurt. :-)
Don't the metal levers on the 370-pin Sockets get in the way of Golden Orbs, or when you say "modified" is it more of an issue of capacitor placement?

...capacitor placement (The capacitors hit the bottom of the G.O.) . Read the Golden Orb How-To on BP6.com :-)
Will do.

So... How do you like your job? And what exactly do you do again? :-)
Regarding my job: I love it. My job title is "PR Specialist," but it's actually a little more involved than that. When I first started working here, I thought I was just going to be doing PR for just another Taiwanese computer component manufacturer. But after I was here a couple months, I started to see how ABIT actually make s some really cool products, and that makes me enjoy my job more.

As far as what I actually do goes, it's tough to explain. ABIT is a Taiwanese company, right? So they need people like me to do anything that involves the English language, or people in English-speaking markets. I answer e-mails, keep in touch with editors and journalists such as yourself, I keep the bigwigs here clued in as to what the public wants from us. I also keep in contact with the companies that provide us with components (i.e. Intel and VIA), and with the people we sell motherboards to.

Is there such a position as a in-house overclocking specialist that torture tests the mobos and returns results to R&D?
Yes, all our engineers are in-house overclocking specialists. They always put our motherboards through rigorous testing before they get mass produced.

Getting paid to overclock, what a job! So where do r�sum�'s get sent? :-)

So a little off topic, If you had one mobo to take with you onto a deserted Island, which mobo would it be?
What a truly excellent question. I guess it would depend on what I was using it for. If price isn't a consideration, I might go with an ABIT CX6, which is our i820 model with Rambus. Or I might consider a BP6, except for one thing: a lot of our newer models have one thing that the BP6 doesn't, which is the ATA100/RAID controller.
So I guess in the end I would have to go with one of our newest models (So new, it hasn't even been announced officially yet.): We're calling it the BX133-RAID, or "CopperRAID" board. It's the last and best BX board ABIT will make.

BX chipset, FC-PGA socket for PIIIs or Celeron IIs, SoftMenu III, 3 DIMMs, 5 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 ISA, and the ATA100/RAID controller for up to 8 IDE devices and hardware RAID.

HPT 370 Controller? What is the estimated release date?
It's already out there.
We've got it on the KA7-100, and you'll soon be seeing it on a lot more ABIT models. Regardless of how much of a performance increase you're going to see from ATA/100 over ATA/66, our customers love being able to have up to 8 hard drives. And now that hardware RAID is included in the package, it makes the whole thing all the more sweet.
Sorry, I mean theBX133-Raid.
Sorry.... hang on just a sec... lemme look that up.

The BX133-RAID has gone through what they call the "evaluation" stage and into the "ECN" stage, which means that right now the engineers are making some last minute changes. It's slated to go to mass production next week, and then will take a few more weeks to filter through the channels.
I believe the official announcement is set for June 1, but people won't start seeing it in stores until roughly less than a month from now.

I see you had a little Y2K glitch with your date setting? You said June, what year are you on over there? :-) Did you mean July 1st?
Yes, I meant July 1st.

Cool I can't wait, since we are on the subject of new upcoming mobo's, "The BIG question of the day (drum roll)" Will there be a BP6 v.2 or another Dual FC-PGA mobo. If so and it's not the called the BP6 V.2, can we send a petition to persuade Abit to call it the BP6.2? Just kidding.. :-) but seriously would it work?
If I wanted to be nasty, I could give you my boss' e-mail address for any petitions about our naming conventions.... but I won't do that.

But yes, ABIT does intend to continue providing our customers with SMP products. We're looking at a couple different dual FC-PGA solutions right now. One option would be to use the Intel 815E chipset, the other would be VIA Apollo Pro 133A. Both possibilities have their advantages and drawbacks.
I'm sure many of your readers saw this: after Computex here in Taiwan, both HardOCP and Anandtech posted pictures of a model of ours called the VP-20. It's gotten a lot of people excited because it's a dual flip-chip board with the VIA chipset, but I want to make sure that everybody knows it's an OEM/SI model only. You're not going to see it in any stores.
It is really cool, though, if for no other reason than that the engineers were able to get a dual socket setup on a micro ATX board! But you will probably see a full ATX version of it in stores in the next few months. (I have no idea what it's going to be named yet.).

Any chance of getting list of OEM's that will be using the boards? If not can we expect to possibly see one up for bid on ebay anytime soon?
Heh... I'll try to get that for you later, Tim, but it's going to have to be strictly off the record. :-)

What are your thoughts about the VTT problems people have been having with the BP6? And what is the official action being taken by Abit to remedy it?
My personal thoughts? I think it's atrocious. I have no idea how it happened.

What is ABIT doing? We're doing the best we can. Anyone with this problem should contact the ABIT branch office for their region, and send the board to us for replacement. Then there's the added problem (and we're very aware of this) that the process takes some time. A couple of weeks at least. But I ask your readers to bear with us, and we'll try to help them as quickly as possible.
There's another option, but of course, ABIT doesn't officially endorse this: If anyone is familiar enough with a solder gun, they could replace the capacitor themselves, or have someone (say, they person at the shop where they bought the board) do it for them. But all in all, we'd prefer to have them send it to us instead.

Ok, so if our soldering skillz suck then we should RMA it or ask a soldering guru to for help. I got it...

Next question: Did Abit get in trouble with Intel when the BP6 was introduced?
Not even a little bit.
Heck, we've had Intel execs come over here and gush over the BP6 and tell us how (and I'm not making this up) "absolutely beautiful" it is!

Hmm, if only they would enable the SMP in the new Celeron II's. Does Abit encourage overclocking? Do you think Intel supports overclocking?
Well, no, of course ABIT can't officially endorse overclocking. But oddly enough, ABIT motherboards seem to have a whole bunch of fantastic overclocking features. Hmmm.........

Does Intel endorse overclocking? I'm in no position to decipher what Intel does and doesn't endorse, but my guess would be an emphatic "No."

Big props to you guys for catering to the overclocking community and for making the BP6 mobo. BTW. What does Abit think of BP6.com and the huge online community that supports this mobo?
We love it. We absolutely love it. As far as I know, we are the only motherboard maker this devoted to supporting web journalism and the internet presence of our products. Your site is great. All the sites out there that are big ABIT fans are great. Heck, did you know that Andy Drake, who runs BXBoards.com started his page as a BX6 fan page? And now it's the biggest hardware review site in the UK.
We're extremely grateful to you guys for helping promote our products, and we try really hard to support you as best we can. Our main priority is to continue to earn your admiration by making great, innovative products. That's the only way we'll continue to have the high visibility on the web that we currently enjoy.
(ok.. it's almost done :-) )

Yep, I'm a fan of Andy's site also. If your reading this Andy (Whhaassssupppp!). What do you think of Powerleap's NEO S370 adapters?
What do I think of them? I think they're great. That company was really smart: they saw a need and they filled it. Those adapters won't permit Flip-Chip SMP on the BP6, but at least they'll allow people to extend the lives of their BP6es.

Actually they are planning on realeasing a BP6 version complete with it's own onboard VRM's and jumpers to make SMP possible.
I hadn't heard that. That's fantastic! Those guys are doing some cool stuff.

Will there be any new BIOS's out for the BP6 other than than the RU?
Sure. We always continue to support even our discontinued models with BIOS udates.

Can you give us the specs on the VP20 and maybe send BP6.com a sample?
I've had a lot of requests for VP-20 samples since Computex, but so far I haven't been able to get my hands on any, but I'll keep trying. The basic problem is that it won't be available for purchase in stores, so we'd prefer to hold off until the full ATX version is ready. And quite frankly, I think that'll be a preferable product to you and your readers.

VP-20 Specs:
Micro ATX, Dual Flip-Chip, VIA Aopllo Pro 133A chipset (hence AGP 4X support), 3 DIMMs, 1 AGP, 3 PCI, onboard LAN and audio controllers.
It's an OEM model, so no SoftMenu.

No soft menu? bummer. I take it that the new upcoming Dual FC-PGA Full ATX mobo will have Soft menu right? I just want to make sure. :-)
Oh, yes. Definitely.

Are you tired of these questions yet?
No, not at all. I love talking about this stuff.

I noticed Abit has started a multimedia line of products, are their plans for other types of products such as cases, monitors, or telecom devices?
That's not outside the realm of possibility. But first we have to make a successful go at all the things we've branched off into recently.

Anything you want to add, or want to tell the BP6 users out there? I'm out of questions at the moment?
No, I think we've covered most bases. Thanks Tim, for the most down-to-earth interview I've done. (It still amazes me that people are interested in reading the words of a PR dude. Maybe next time I can set you up with an engineer who can answer some technical questions better than I can!)

No Problemo, Thanks for your time and patience, and doing an interview this late. :-) Oh wait a minute the 14 hour time difference makes it daytime over there...

BTW. Is is ok to post up your identity and should I have signed an NDA before doing this Interview?

Go ahead. Post away!

Special thanks to Eric Boeing PR Specialist at the Abit headquarters in Taiwan. He's a real down to earth guy and a fellow BP6 user.

Interview by Tim (Tim@BP6.Com)
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Post by Derek »

DP wrote:That is a very nice and informative interview. How come it's only here three years later?
It was posted on the old site when it was first conducted. It just disappeared in the clutter of the other articles only to be posted permanently a week ago.
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