PcChips M817 LMR board, Socket A/DDR

Velocet math at velocet.ca
Tue Jun 5 15:12:27 PDT 2001

Got one of these babies today, $135 CDN ($88 USD). Very sweet.

Socket A, has 2 DIMM slots each for DDR or regular SDRAM. Supports
133Mhz FSB Tbird CPUs up to 1.3Ghz (does that mean 1.333?). Of course
also does 100Mhz FSB. Cant use SDRAM and DDR simul, there are a whack of
8 pair jumper pins with jump blocks you gotta move (small effort to

ATA 100 on board (which I dont need), AGP as well (which I dont

Has an RTL 8139 NIC on board as well, but on a seperate header which is a bit
of a pain, the RJ45 port board has to hang off the mainboard. (I found I
could wedge the edge of the L-backplane cover dealy into the back plastic of
the joystick port so it stays out of the way and doenst flop around and
short something out. :)

It supports PXE for boot, but you can also pull up a menu and do PnP/BEV
(what's that?) as well as RPL (novell style, not IBM, which is different
apparently). I am not sure if you can force it to try RPL when it boots,
didnt notice in the BIOS, but not completely sure. PXE is so much better

Im running off a regular old ATA-33 for now, getting ATLAS to compile
under Linux debian 2.2 cuz I have assloads of problems with it under
FreeBSD (anyone try it)?

The most wonderful thing about the whole unit is that it boots without
a video card. Its not a serial console unfortunately, I dont think,
but I havent tested it (seems unlikely).

More info as I check this thing out. I've got a TB900 on it now, and
going to do some benches with it under G98 with a 1.2Ghz Tbird tommorow
possibly including some more standard G98 benchmarks. Its definitely
quick with 512Mb DDR ram onboard! :)

For the price ($135 CDN board, $300 1.333Ghz Tbird, sink/fan/power $40,
DDR ECC ram from Crucial.com $108 CDN = $583 CDN), its a great barebones
node for a beowulf, if you dont need scads of ram (starts getting expensive
to buy 512Mb and 1Gb DDR dimms...).

Yes, $70USD for www.Crucial.com DDR ECC 256Mb DIMMS, shipped for free to
Canada/US. Cant beat that price. 2 day shipping too...

Ken Chase, math at velocet.ca  *  Velocet Communications Inc.  *  Toronto, CANADA 

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