Pentium III 550

One of the first Pentium IIIs not for a high-end market, 550MHz Slot 1 CPU with cache chips on board separate from core (Katmai). The CPU has been installed in Abit BE6 mainboard with AGP video card, audio and network boards. There is a CD-RW drive and a 18GB HDD too. Everything is packed into quite fancy ATX case.
Late Pentium II and early Pentium III mainboards contained different additions not typically seen in earlier computers - this mainboard has, in addition to standard ATA controllers, faster IDE 66 hard disk controller with own ROM (HighPoint HPT366).
Katmai Pentium IIIs became cheaper and more accessible in early 2000, being the first affordable Pentium IIIs for home segment. This was mostly related to better Coppermine core which, with 133MHz bus and built-in fast cache, became a first choice for a high-end, multimedia authoring and gaming segment while existing stock of Katmai CPUs had been sold with lower prices. It was much more than enough to run ofice application and play older games and it was still much better than even cheaper Celerons which were chosen for office purposes.

Approx. year 2000

Class ATX
CPU Intel Pentium III
Speed 550MHz
(DIMM PC100)
ROM Award
Mainboard Abit BE6
Graphics AGP nVidia TNT2
Sound ES1373 PCI card
Ports I/O Onboard USB, COM, 1x LPT,
PS/2, 4xPATA, FDD.
Network Realtek RTL8139
System expansion bus 1x AGP slot
5x PCI slot
2x ISA slot
Floppy/removable media drives 1x 3.5" 1.44MB floppy disk drive
Hard disks/ATA devices: SSeagate 18GB (PATA)

Peripherals in collection:
 - None

Other boards:


Casing ATX tower
Non-standard expansions: None
Operating system(s): MS Windows 98

My unit has been bought as a home computer. It was built by a local computer shop and service (they still exist, but their main sales now are notebooks), and later it was upgraded a few times. It has been rebuilt using the leftovers form upgrades to be as close to primary spec as possible.

Contents: Starting, usage Drivers  


The most important thing here is the PATA setup, if a drive doesn't work as autodetected, it should be configured in second ROM.
Next, if a drive in ATA66 is installed, it should be installed in a system with controller's drivers because without it will run in reduced speed.

Some boards don't easily fit into PCI, causing system to lag. After replacing their locations it works. Especially vulnerable configuration is a network adapter in the second PCI slot looking from AGP slot.





Mainboard manual and drivers:
Drivers for nVidia TNT2 can still be found on nVidia archive pages:

ES1373 Win9x driver for sound card
RTL8139 driver - network adapter driver for Win98/ME