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Hardware

PCChips M571 Motherboard (a.k.a. TXPRO II)

Introduction

This board is a "PCChips M571" and is distributed by many resellers under many different names. It is a TXPRO 2 motherboard that goes up to 83 MHz on the FSB with its SiS chipset. It's not PC100-compliant but it will run some faster Cyrix MII chips that run at that weird 83 MHz speed. It features four PCI slots, three ISA slots, and supports both SIMM and DIMM memory. Some resellers will sell you an ATX Form Card which brings two USB connectors, a PS/2 mouse port, and a mini-DIN IRDA connector to the back panel.

Integrated Hardware

Video
There is onboard PCI video (SiS 5597/5598 chipset) that uses up to four megabytes of main memory for the frame buffer. That is more than enough memory for most bottomfeeder users and like other integrated systems you can do a little math to save yourself a few megabytes of system RAM.

Sound System
Some descriptions of this motherboard I have seen in catalogs and on the internet describe a PCI audio device on the motherboard when it is actually an ISA device. The sound chip is labelled "Soundpro HT1869V+ HRTF 3D Audio EAX36 9852 PCI" chipset. In reality, this chip is a relabelled C-Media CM8330/C3D chipset that has 3D HRTF and software wavetable support. The chip itself actually has "PCI" silk-screened onto it which is the probable cause of all the misadvertising. Computer Parts Only and Tiger Software do the right thing and do not claim it is a PCI audio device but I have seen other resellers making this claim. If you think you need a bottomfeeder system with PCI audio then this board probably doesn't have what you want.
I have had no luck disabling the sound system to make way for a PCI audio card. In addition, like another motherboard that has the integrated CM8330 sound system, I could not disable the Windows Sound System in the BIOS. That means I am wasting a total of three IRQ's for MPU-401 (MIDI), SB16, and WSS. Apparently, the old WSS was resurrected to be used as a clever trick to support full-duplex sound for internet phone software. Most cheap sound cards and chipsets are only single duplex which means you can't use internet phone software or certain interactive voice software packages. This chipset achieves full duplex by using the SB16 for playback and the WSS for recording. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to allow us to disabled the WSS because it steals a very precious, high-IRQ ISA interrupt away from the rest of the system which could be better used for your SCSI card, ethernet card, and so on.

Identification

The revision number of this board is next to the keyboard connector. Mine is a v 7.0 which comes from CP Only. With the advent of the Super7 platform this board has fallen out of favor. As a result, it is being sold at substantially low prices at most retailers. It is sold under very many different names at many resellers but you should be able to identify it by the "TXPRO II" on the large yellow/orange BGA heatsink and by the BIOS and sound chips located just under the bottom ISA slot.

Comments and Experiences

If you decide to get this board, make sure you're happy with the sound system. In my experience so far, the BIOS does not appear to be able to fully disable the sound system. I have not been able to get a rather generic PCI sound card to work with this system. Other people have told me they have been able to use PCI sound cards only after a clean Windows 98 installation. I am still puzzling with the sound system and hope to present an update on it soon.

The board has more than enough expansion slots for upgraders. If you have lots of legacy hardware this is definitely the board for you. On the downside, it fits a little too snugly in a mid-tower chassis being 26 cm long. The onboard sound system, described above, takes entirely too many IRQ's that you cannot return to your system and for some reason I can't easily replace it with a PCI sound card that can share its IRQ's. Like other Taiwanese boards the CMOS battery does obstruct some full-size PCI cards. Some day every motherboard manufacturer will take the hint that batteries, IC's, jumpers, and wire pins should be as far away from the card slots as possible.

URLs

PCChips M571 information and drivers: http://www.pcchips.com/m571.html

PCChips: http://www.pcchips.com/

Computer Parts Only: http://cponly.com/

Disclaimer

This information is constantly being updated. Please check back often or contribute your own comments at the contact link at the bottom of this page.