Physical Features and Layout
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.The layout of the Tiger MP is somewhat similar to the Thunder K7. There is a considerable less amount of PCB used, which cuts down on the size as there are fewer features that need board space. In general, if the Thunder K7 had the same features as the Tiger MP, this is what I would have thought it to look like. 🙂
Analyzing it the same way as I would any other motherboard, the first thing to notice is that the ATX power connector is at the very top of the board, getting it out of the way of the processor heatsinks and fans. The processor sockets themselves have a pretty tight fit. Tyan was trying to keep the size of the motherboard down to as low as possible, so squeezing the 462-pin sockets closer together and around more capacitors was the only way to do it. I didn’t have much difficulty getting the Tai Sol Copper Bottom HSF installed, but anything with a larger clip may run into some trouble.
The four DDR DRAM memory slots are positioned to the right. The DIMM 1 slot is slightly off-set from the other three, but I was told the only reasoning for it is simply for layout and design purposes. There isn’t any performance changes or necessities for it or because of it. Do note that Tyan is only supporting the use of two DDR slots with standard memory and that you must have registered memory to use the third and/or fourth DDR slot.
The AMD-762 North bridge is now covered by a somewhat long heatsink. Because the second revision of the Thunder K7 had a heatsink on the chipset, there must have been some concerns over the intense heat it was generating. Especially in small cases, such as rackmounts, the heat of the chipset might have been broken the tolerance level without enough cooling through the system. So, to keep the consumers happy with the product, Tyan added a non-active cooling solution to the Tiger MP as well. While you may no longer get to see the impressive K6-2’ish quality of the north bridge now, system safety and reliability should come first!
The slot configuration is similar to the Thunder K7 as well. There is an AGP 4x port and six PCI slots. Four of these six PCI slots are able to use 64-bit cards while the other two are only standard 32-bit. Admittedly, most home users do not have any 64-bit PCI cards in there system but many workstations use SCSI cards that take advantage of the extra bandwidth the 64-bit PCI bus offers. The bottom two PCI slots were changed to 32-bit due to space limitations. You can see from the images that the IDE channels and bios would have had to been moved accommodate the additional length of 64-bit slots.
The original Thunder K7 dual-Athlon board had many more features, including dual-channel on-board Adaptec SCSI, dual on-board 3Com LAN, an optional system monitor and ATI SVGA video. The Tiger MP has none of these and the reasoning is to keep the cost as low as possible.