The gentleman who "Broke the 1GHz barrier" with one of these boards also wrote the first Linux credit card terminal software, which was awesome, simple and quite reliably rugged.
I had caught a small office client that needed new desktops all around just as someone cut an amazing sale on these boards. The cheap Celerons were of course abundant so these folks got dual CPU workstations with Voodoo3 graphics cards for an incredible price and wound up being an extra effective company for a couple years due to the Quake3 matches boosting morale.
I think I still have a couple of those on the pile. As I recall I had one running my house audio up til 2008 or so, probably holding a SoundBlaster 64 card.
Loved my BP6, tricked out with dual overclocked Celeron chips and was my daily driver running Win2000 in the most absurdly large case ever, just in case I needed to install many hard drives and CD ROMs! Lots of empty space. It ended its life doing service in a data centre for 4 more years as a temp WAP Gateway running Red Hat 8.something. Only motherboard I ever got excited about.
The BP6 is what got me interested in SMP, but I really moved into SMP with the Tyan Tiger MP (and then MPX when my MP got replaced under warranty, don't remember why). That machine "survived" (with motherboard replacement) from 2001-2007(or 8) when I moved to an Abit IP35-Pro with a Q6600 that lasted me as my daily driver for 10+ years.
There's even a forum about this motherboard: https://www.bp6.com
I had one of these for years, with two 400 MHz Celerons clocked up to 500 MHz. The setup was not really stable, though. Used it on Windows NT4, Linux and FreeBSD.
I used it with 2x 466Mhz Celerons on stock speed. It was my first experience with SMP. When compiling something with 'make -j1' on one CPU, Netscape 4.5 would run smooth on the other CPU.
It did crumble under load though. Compiling C++ software would fill the CPU caches and the shared memory bus at 66Mhz could not handle all the I/O.
I used it with Windows 2000 and Linux.
It was imcompatibled with the Alcatel Speed touch USB (ADSL modem): after few minutes, the PC was rebooting. The driver was not SMP compatible. It took some weeks before I could change the modem, "hopefully" a friend in the same school year had the same motherboard and the same issue.
I actually had 3 of these with PII 300MHz @ 450MHz running OpenMOSIX. Good times.
Ah memories... Had this with overclocked Celerons and the Thermaltake Golden Orb coolers. Looked awesome!
Was my first experience overclocking as well. Quickly learned the difference between boot stable and still working after a night of Prime95.
Was my first SMP programming experience as well. Had been writing multithreaded code for a while before, but never had access to anything but a single core machine. Most of my existing code promptly crashed on the BP6. Took a while to realize access to OS resources had to be managed as well.
Ended up running Citrix Metaframe on NT4, so I could do remote login. Got me hooked on RDP, the primary reason I've never been able to use Linux as my main desktop.
Had it for many years until it was just too slow and noisy. Felt sad when I had to get rid of it.
AFAIK this was the best board for BeOS, which was made to take advantage of the two CPUs.
A pair of Celeron 300-A overclocked to 450MHz running BeOS R5, those were the days.
I never ran BeOS or had this motherboard, but I immediately had memories of the Celeron 300A from 1998. Was virtually guaranteed to run at 450Mhz. It replaced my parents’ Pentium 133 which was released just 3 years earlier (I say that now but 3 years earlier for a 16 year old is huge). Voodoo2 came out in the same year. You couldn’t even get this stuff in a prebuilt PC so people taught each other how to build from components. High speed internet was just becoming widely available in North America. Linux was just starting to spread beyond CS people to nerdy young people. Several other OSs and architectures had promise but ultimately failed.
I’m too young to remember the first PC boom, but at least in my lifetime there was never a more exciting time for home computing than 1998.
What i remember most about that era is burning mix CDs of pirated music at about 1x speed, and having to leave the computer alone during that time so nothing crashed.
good reason to go on a bike ride.
strangely enough I was and to buy back my childhood computer at this years Vintage Computer Fest Midwest, amongst heathkits, macintosh, and sun servers - a lonesome Compaq iPaq Pentium III with 8MB RAM, for $25 I was the only bidder, go figure.
My first foray into Linux was because burning CDs on Windows was a crapshoot - but the same hardware on RedHat with nice -20 would let cdrecord finish successfully each time.
Burning cds got me interested in Linux. I found it very unreliable in windows and “cdrecord” or whatever it was called worked flawlessly.
Running this with BeOS was the best computing experience I've ever had. BeOS was good with resources before, but absolutely screamed with dual Celerons.
And the Win2000 experience was fantastic too.
I loved my Beos on that machine, and it was the first time I was writing true multi-processor code.
Acorp 6A815EPD1 also had dual Socket370.
Have spent weeks to hunt down two identical CPUs for it, then somehow managed to insta-kill the first one during installing the cooler. Hell yeah, those coolers were monstrous beasts back then, hard to tame, with a locking mechanism invented by the Devil itself. After that never had a dual-CPU setup...
Had the Spire WhisperRock III
As I recall Intel was none too happy with Abit for unlocking multiprocessing capability in Celerons. I don't recall that Abit lasted very long after the BP6. i wonder if Abit was punished by Intel?
Abit was around for quite a while after. I had a Core 2 Quad with an Abit motherboard.
I had a VIA chipset motherboard with socket 370. It had a celeron 1.2 GHz, but I set the FSB to 133 MHz and it ran smoothly at 1.6 GHz without changing the voltage. It beat first generation Pentium 4 CPU's up until 2 GHz something, depending on the application. After that system was obsolete I threw it away but now I miss it because it would make a great Win XP retro gaming system.
I got one of these before going to university. Abit BP6, dual Malaysian C300a overclocked to 450 MHz on the slotkets, an ATI Rage 128, an SB Live, all sitting in an Inwin Q500 case. I was chasing the SMP dream to try it in Quake 3.
I donated the machine to a Goodwill store a few years ago before realizing there's a retro scene who would've appreciated it more.
Thanks for the nostalgia trip!
Good times. Sort of. I had one of these boards and I couldn’t get it stable. After about two months of being annoyed by it I replaced it with an Intel board and single slot Pentium III and sold the rest to a friend who was convinced they could do a better job than me (they were probably right).
Then I bought a G4 Mac.
IIRC ABit is the pioneer to overclocking in BIOS, rather than adjust hardware jump manually.
I've used AN7-Ultra and AN8-Ultra boards. They had a dedicated monitoring chip (uGuru), and special BIOS settings for overclocking. Also they're made with utmost quality.
I overclocked a Thoroughbred Athlon XP 1433MHz to 2200MHz (200 x 11) without any stability problems. Moreover, since AMD didn't have any (200 x 11) processors out of the line, it was faster than the "king of the hill" 3200+ of that time.
That PC still lives on today, with no problems whatsoever.
> With more and more SMP applications appearing, the day will come (perhaps in another year or so) when games, applications and the whole load of software out there will support SMP.
He was only off by a decade or so :-)
I miss abit. they made some great boards.
A friend at university had one of these in an aluminium Lian-Li case, courtesy of a well-paid summer job before he started. There was some serious jealousy on my part.
A decade ago I got Gigabyte-GA-7DPXDW server motherboard with dual CPU Socket A slots for CPUs.
It was meant to use server CPUs named Athlon MP but they were very expensive ... but you could get 'casual' Athlon XP (desktop) processors and easily modify to ‘be’ Athlon MP (server) ones with one single connect on the top. Two Athlon XP 2000+ along with 1 GB of ECC RAM made FreeBSD run beautifully on it :)
Was this before FreeBSD 6? If I remember correctly smp wasn’t fully cooked in before that. Every smp system back then I used Linux cause yah know. Linux.
I am not sure I will remember that exactly ...
I started with FreeBSD with 5.4 while 5.0 was the first FreeBSD version with SMP support. I recall that I moved to 6.0 quite fast without touching the 5.5.
I have a screenshot from 2006/07 with FreeBSD 6.1-STABLE ... so I would suspect that it rather was 6.x series.
FreeBSD before 6 really wasn’t suitable for smp workloads even claiming to be. Right now as Netflix has shown their smp implementation is easily tweaked for application specific purposes. At least in my dealings there be dragons in Linux smp. When openbsd really moped out of something like HT and is super pokey about stuff I always get a whiff something’s amiss.
Oh man I used to drool this stuff when I was young. Just looked at ebay, seems like they're still going for a lot of money (400+)
Welp. I finally got to disposing of mine, which had become first a hand-me-down to the parents, then a decade long fixture on the parents porch.
I still have a writeup from my January 2000 build of a BP6-based Linux box. https://www.neilvandyke.org/cheap-pc-2000/
I had an Abit BP6 with 2 Celeron 366 CPUs overclocked to 533 running Linux. It was great being able to have great compiling stuff while stuff having great interactive performance without slowdowns.
Ahh, good memories of my bp6 dual boot win2k and beos. Overclocked of course and lots of star craft and counter strike
> Games such as Quake3 will support SMP
Wow, I didn't know that. Way ahead of it's time
Had one, was great! For me, it wasn't quite as amazing since I had SMP at work (university research lab).
Is the hacker ethos (in the "repurposing" sense) pretty much dormant?
I remember this board as the créme de la créme of consumer PC hardware, almost a fabled myth or unicorn of motherboards. Few were the go-getters who ventured into that segment.
I had one with dual PIII's, 1GHz IIRC. Running the just released Win2k.
On top was a Promise IDE RAID controller with 4x40GB WD drives in Raid 0 for a massive 160GB!
Purpose: Dune Emperor
Good read, brings fond memories, thank you for this post.
I remember running a Celeron 300a @ 450 MHz for years on another Abit card from i guess one or two generations previous to this board
Was this the one you could overclock celerons to 733MHz? IIRC I built a cluster around 2000 based on these.
I loved this board. Nostalgia for the win.
I but one on these in 99 and never looked at single core systems again.
This is really important blog. thanks for sharing.