View Full Version : 1394 on new Asus P3B motherboard

1st October 1999, 00:17
Anyone have any experience (positive or negative) with the new P3B-1394 motherboard? It is basically a souped-up P2B (a la the rest of the P3B line) with firewire and a3d sound on-board. It also seems to be a micro-atx instead of full atx board.

I'm wondering if anyone is running into any issues with either software supporting/not supporting the interface or with it talking to other firewire devices (I've heard there are incompatibilities with some cameras and various 1394 implementations).

(It's also relatively cheap -- ~US$200 for a *nice* mobo plus sound and dv capabilities. Sure, it only has three pci slots, but what else do you need on there besides a nice g400 max, a 10/100 nic, and a 2940u2w?)

Any input would be nice.


[This message has been edited by tsi (edited 10-01-1999).]

[This message has been edited by tsi (edited 10-01-1999).]

1st October 1999, 00:44
For any firewire board, the most valuable thing is the ability of software to work with DV devices:
1. Capture capability.
2. Device control.
3. Batch captures/indexing of tape clips, ability to capture >2G video.
4. Premiere or MSPRO support for export to tape from the timeline.

I don't know what DV support is offered by Asustek. However, without these 4 points, firewire capability becomes of limited use for video editing.
Is there any info on these points?


Brian Ellis
1st October 1999, 02:17
Don't know about P3B, but I do know from bitter experience that the P2B installation I first tried to run Marvel on was a load of c..p. I have also had similar bad experiences with other Asus boards, including a P200Pro one, none of them really suitable for either video or sound apps. I use sound recognition a lot and I've NEVER managed to get good results on an ASUS m/b machine. My company no longer has any ASUS-boarded computers and I have only one at home, used strictly for non-multimedia apps.

By this, I am not saying the P3B is bad: they may have got up to speed by now. What I am saying is that I, personally, have lost comfidence in ASUS-boarded machines.

My advice, therefore, is be careful.

Brian (the terrible)

1st October 1999, 07:27

What board(s) have you found to work well with the Marvel and other multimedia hardware?

1st October 1999, 08:44
I just installed an Asus P3B-F w/C466 last night in my main system, but it isn't the 1394 model. Mine is the one with 6 PCI's and a single ISA.

So far it's a fast, stable board with TONS of overclock settings and a SoftMenu type BIOS. I loved that feature on the BH6 and now Asus has it too. Onboard temp and fan speed monitoring is also supported with Windows software so you can monitor from the desktop.

Interestingly enough you also have the option of using DIP switches for the CPU0 setups of you prefer. The DIP's are also VERY SIMPLE to use, there is only ONE set in a very accessable location and they are very well documented with pix for clarity.

The bus speeds go all the way up to 150 mhz, multipliers up to 8.5 and 133 mhz memory is supported . One other point of interest is that it supports STR (Suspend To RAM). In this state the systems hardware is shut down except for the RAM. This provides "instant on". The limitation? No ISA devices will recover after the system wakes up.

The main suggestion I'd have with this board woiuld be to refresh your PowerDesk/Video Tools installation if you were previously running a SS7/K6-x.

After my BH6 ate itself I was running a SS7/K6-2 backup board and happened to install a new set of PowerDesk/Video Tools. After swapping in the P3B-F/C466 I had some problems with the mouse freezing. They disappeared once I refreshed the driver installations.

Dr. Mordrid

[This message has been edited by DrMordrid (edited 10-02-1999).]

1st October 1999, 10:12
Correct name for motherboard is
ASUS P3B-1394

The manual is available at: http://www.asus.com/Products/Motherboard/manual_slot1.html#p3b-1394

1st October 1999, 11:30
Thank you Dr. Mordrid. The P3B-F is the board I have been planning on using with the RT2000.

1st October 1999, 21:56
The Abit BH6 board I used previously was very good until its AGP socket gave up the ghost. This was probably caused by all the board swapping I've been doing running tests but eventually none of my AGP cards would POST. Not really the BH6's fault IMHO.

Other than that I've had no problems with the BH6 and highly recommend it. I understand a new version of the BE6, the BE6-II, is due in early October. That has gotten real good previews. It's basically an advanced BH6 with both ATA33 and ATA66 drive connectors.

Why did I go with the Asus? 6 PCI's and the advanced setups. We'll see if Brians fears are justified soon enough, but right now it looks good.

The Matrix is playing on the DVD while I'm online and no problems or glitches halfway through. Also captures and edits work as before so....

Dr. Mordrid

[This message has been edited by DrMordrid (edited 10-02-1999).]

1st October 1999, 23:04
I've currently got a BH6 and don't know how anyone can reasonably recommend it. It only has two PCI slots that get individual IRQs, meaning you can't put more than two busmastering devices. I have an A3D Vortex, an adaptec 2940UW, a sigma DVD decoder and a Linksys PCI nic, and I *cannot* get them all to work at the same time. The worst offender is the sound card.

That's the main reason I'm looking to upgrade mobos. I was going to go the BX6 route, but I have no interest in overclocking. I want STABILITY and COMPATIBILITY more than anything else. Speed is nice, but not at the cost of system crashes or faulty device functioning.

I've been looking at the Intel Seattle board, not because it's any stellar performer, but if because if it's good enough for Dell, Gateway, and VA Linux, it should work well on my desktop. In my experience (and this is apparently not shared by others judging by this thread), Asus boards are relatively stable. Of course, I've only used one asus PII board -- the rest were back in the days of Socket 7 (and 5, hehe).

You didn't mention which video card you're using. Could you please share your experiences regarding video directly? If I ever go to an RT-2000 [Santa, are you listening?], I'd like to make sure a G400 is happy on a P3B before I start spending the moolah.


Brian Ellis
2nd October 1999, 01:02

I changed the ASUS P2B against an obscure Taiwanese one called Bravo Baby (I forget the model #) with similar specs and have never looked back, either for video or sound. Works fine with the very hairy combination of Marvel AND Live! I have not found any single feature which is inferior to the Asus and plenty which are streets ahead. I think BB is on the net.

Brian (the terrible)

4th October 1999, 10:15
For anyone else interested, I found Bravo Baby at http://www.bravobaby.com.tw

The P3B-F looks good so far, depending on how Dr. Mordrid's experience with the board goes and what other new boards may come out before the RT2000 is available. The 6 PCI slots and 4 DIMM slots are a big plus for me.

Mark F
4th October 1999, 11:10
I use an AOpen AX6BC (older -not Pro or Gold), there are many reviews on the net of their boards, with remarkes on how well they shair resorces, and are able to correctly assign them even with all 5 PCI slots used( and remain stable doing it). They are not as "populare" as ABIT and ASUS boards, but they must be doing something right; they are the second largest MOBO makers (after Intel).
Newer boards (PRO and Gold) even have VCore adjustments. I have seen where the same prossesor needs VCore increases to be stable on other boards and runns fine at 2.0V on mine. I run a PIII at 124MHZ 2.0V, weeks at a time (heavy use w/no reboots), with no stability isues.
IMHO, they are great boards.

Mark F.

OH NO, my retractable cup holder swallowed a CD

4th October 1999, 11:39
Since it's been released I guess I can confirm I'm using a Marvel G400-TV. Works great.

Now for tsi's IRQ problem;

An IRQ is just a direct means of getting the CPU's attention. Having more than 4 PCI slots guarantees some IRQ's will be shared since there are only 4 INT lines available for PCI slots. "INT lines"?

Legacy busses like ISA require each expansion device to use a different, unique IRQ in order to communicate with the CPU. The OS is required to set the IRQ for each ISA device. The PCI bus uses INT lines instead, which are then routed to IRQs by the PCI BIOS.

There are four INT lines named INTA, INTB, INTC and INTD. The PCI BIOS assigns an INT line to a PCI device at initialization. PCI devices then use whatever INT line is assigned to access a system IRQ.

Using this routing method the PCI BIOS is capable of assigning more than one IRQ to any particular INT line. This allows IRQ's to be shared between devices. Since only one busmastering device is active at any given time several devices can share the same INT line.

As long as the device drivers are written correcly sharing is no big deal. Using BOTH the BH6 and P3B-F cards my system had the USB, PCI modem and PCI LAN card all sharing IRQ 12 with no problems at all. Sound cards are another issue....

What kind of sound card are you using? My audio is on an AWE64 ISA and it's alone on IRQ5, as is typical for them. One more advantage for ISA audio on an editing system ;-)

Dr. Mordrid

[This message has been edited by DrMordrid (edited 10-05-1999).]