The DFI CA61 mainboard

Thursday, February 17, 2000


Always quick to jump into line, DFI has not dawdled in manufacturing motherboards designed for Intel's FC-PGA Coppermine processors. In fact, its not only with one, but with two boards that DFI is leading off in this field - first with the CA61 which we will be reviewing here, and with the CB61 that we'll be looking at a bit later. While little seems to distinguish the CA61 and CB61 from eachother, the chipsets that they implement are the Via Apollo Pro 133A as concerns the CA61, and - believe it or not - the good old Intel 440BX for the CB61 Thus, without further ado, let's get on with the review.

The features

The CA61 expansion possibility are ensured by 4 PCI slots, 3 ISA slots, and - of course - a single AGP port. As far as memory goes, the CA61 sports 3 168-pin DIMM slots which can support 768MB of RAM. In my opinion, this configuration is a bit weird, as the current fashion tends towards boards with a maximum of PCI slots, and a minimal of ISA slots. I personally would have opted for 6 PCI, and 1 ISA slot, or else 5 PCI slots and 2 ISA slots, in order to fill the need for 7 expansion connectors. Wouldn't anyone?

Configuration of the CA61 is accomplished via a set of functions in the BIOS, supported by a series of DIP switches, and jumpers on the board itself. Among the jumpers one finds are JP7, which allows the choice of Cyrix, or Intel processors, and JP2/JP4 which permit one to choose between 66Mhz-100Mhz, and 133Mhz as the FSB frequency. The set of DIPs labeled SW1 permit the selection of a clock multiplier, but as Intel processors now ignore this function, it may not prove very useful. A function within the BIOS allows the main bus frequency to be modified between selections including: 66Mhz, 75Mhz, 83.5Mhz, 100Mhz, 103Mhz, 105Mhz, 110Mhz, 112Mhz, 115Mhz, 120Mhz, 124Mhz, 133Mhz, 140Mhz, and 150Mhz, with clock multiplier of 3X to 8X in steps of 0.5X.

Finally, like many of its brethren, the CA61 supports the option of setting memory bus to 100Mhz, or to 133Mhz.

Next: The features (continued).