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Tyan's Tiger MPX motherboard

MOESI like Sunday morning
— 12:00 AM on March 7, 2002

ModelTiger MPX
Price (street)$220

FOR QUITE A WHILE, Tyan's Tiger MP motherboard was the first and only dual-processor Athlon motherboard that was really intended to find its way into a desktop PC. Heck, the Tiger MP and its big brother, Tyan's Thunder K7, were the only motherboards anywhere based on AMD's 760MP chipset. We took a look at the Tiger MP when we previewed AMD's Athlon MP 1800+ and again, more extensively, with our Athlon MP 1900+ review.

The Tiger MP was a good board, but it didn't quite light up the enthusiast's mobo scene, despite packing two—count 'em—front-side busses. Now, AMD's 760MPX chipset promises to boost dually Athlon performance while cutting costs, and Tyan is back with the Tiger MPX. Can this new board bring the creamy smoothness of dual processing to a larger audience? More importantly, will Damage be able to make it through this review without going completely overboard waxing rhapsodic about the joys of multiple CPUs? Read on...

We've spent a fair amount of time playing with the Tiger MPX, and we'll walk you through those ups and downs. But first, let's take a look at the specs, so you can see just what the Tiger MPX has to offer.

CPU supportSocket 462-based CPUs, including AMD Duron and Athlon/XP/MP processors (only Athlon MPs are officially supported in dual configurations)
Form factorATX
ChipsetAMD 760 MPX (762 North Bridge, 768 South Bridge, National Semi 83627 Super I/O ASIC)
Interconnect64-bit/66MHz PCI  (533MB/s)
PCI slots6 (2 64-bit/66MHz; 4 32-bit/33MHz)
AGP slots1, 2X/4X AGP
AMR/CNR slotsNone
Memory4 184-pin DIMM sockets for up to 4GB of PC1600/PC2100 Registered DDR SDRAM (w/ECC support)
Will support unbuffered DIMMs in slots 1 and 2
Storage I/OFloppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Ports1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse,
2 serial, 1 parallel, 2 USB (non functional),
4 additional USB ports via included PCI card
1 3Com 10/100 Ethernet NIC (optional)
Bus speeds100/133MHz (200/266MHz DDR)
MonitoringVoltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

That's pretty much it for the spec sheet, but there are a number of things there that need explaining. We'll discuss those below, after we take a look at the board's layout.

The Tiger MPX is a relatively large mobo, if you're comparing to competing single-processor boards. However, it's not too big to fit into an average mid-tower ATX case with a little effort.

The Tiger MPX mobo—a little bigger than most boards, but not huge.
Those long expansion slots are 64-bit, 66MHz PCI slots.

The Tiger MPX's layout is similar to the Tiger MP's, but it's clearly a different board, not just a minor revision. Overall, the Tiger MPX's design is very solid. There are quite a few capacitors packed in close near the two CPU sockets, but none that got in my way during frequent CPU swapping as I prepared this review. In fact, my only substantial gripes are about the placement of the IDE and floppy drive connectors. They're all grouped near the "bottom" edge of the board, and folks with tall tower cases will face an all-too-familiar quandary trying to figure out how to get drive cables to reach.

Beyond that, the Tiger MPX has a few unique quirks worth mentioning. Right next to the standard ATX power connector are two supplemental power connectors, and you'll need to use at least one of them. There's a four-pin ATX12V connector like on Pentium 4 motherboards, and there's a standard hard drive power connector. Tyan included both connector types so those of us without ATX12V power supplies wouldn't have to pony up for a new PSU.

Supplemental power can come from an ATX 12V connector or a hard drive power connector

The Tiger MPX also includes one very useful goodie that the Tiger MP lacks: a built-in 3Com 3C920 Ethernet controller with a 10/100 Ethernet port.

The Tiger MPX's ports: nothing "extra" but Ethernet