Shuttle has been known for cranking out great products, their HOT-569 did the Intel TX chipset justice, and their newly fossilized HOT-603 proved that the AMD640/VIA VP2 chipset could easily give Intel a run for their money.  In a few weeks manufacturers will begin releasing their latest motherboards based on the Aladdin V and VIA MVP3 chipsets, both sporting the 100MHz Front Side Bus, and AGP support, it would take a lot of confidence in a product for a manufacturer to release a Socket-7 board based on anything other than those two, Shuttle did.  Using the VP3 chipset, Shuttle continued the 5xx Socket-7 line of motherboards with the Shuttle HOT-595, just weeks before the first generation "Super7" motherboards make their debut..was Shuttle's confidence misplaced in the 595?  Let's find out.

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Socket-7
Chipset VIA VP3
L2 Cache 512KB
Form Factor ATX
Bus Speeds 50 / 55 / 60 / 66 / 75 / 83 MHz
Clock Multipliers 1.5x / 2.0x / 2.5x / 3.0x / 3.5x / 4.0x / 4.5x / 5.0x / 5.5x
Voltages Supported 2.0v - 3.52v in 0.1v increments
Memory Slots 3 168pin DIMM Slots (EDO/SDRAM)
Expansion Slots 1 AGP Slot
4 PCI Slots
3 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 3 Full Length)

The Good

It seems like nearly every VP3 motherboard out there today has two things in common: 1) an AT form factor, and 2) SIMM slots.

If you're looking for a motherboard that follows the trends, stop reading here, the Shuttle HOT-595 breaks all of the rules that seemed to have been implied by the competing VP3 motherboards out there, is the HOT-595 a trend setter?  It isn't a motherboard that will set trends for others in its class, but it will have an influence on the next generation Socket-7 motherboards. 

Shuttle chose to do away with the pesky SIMM slots that previously appeared in all of their motherboards, much like unwanted guests in some cases, getting them to leave took months of hard work but it finally happened, the HOT-595 comes in clean with a total of 3 DIMM slots and 0 SIMM slots.  The 595 is nothing more than a reality check, telling the computer hardware world that the reign of the EDO SIMM is quickly coming to an end, making way for SDRAM, PC100, and eventually, moving on to bigger and better things.

The HOT-595 is designed around a very spacious ATX layout, much like that of the FIC PA-2012, which on paper was the "First Socket-7 AGP Motherboard" although that can be debated.  Boasting high quality Sanyo capacitors around the Socket-7 IC, switching voltage regulators, not to mention featuring 4 PCI slots, 3 ISA and that one beloved AGP slot.  The 595 does obviously emphasize, quality, as well as the need for more PCI slots, while remembering that many users would like to hang on to their sound cards, modems, and whatever they may populate that third, shared, ISA slot with.
With the release of the AMD K6/266 so close to the release of the HOT-595, Shuttle was left with no option but to include support for this processor.   Not only did they manage to include a 2.2v core voltage setting, required by the K6/266, but they went the extra mile by offering voltage settings ranging from 2.0v to 3.52v in 0.1v increments.  This will prove to be very useful in overclocking the K6/266 which has been proven to be very sensitive to voltage settings, too much or too little current could result in an undesired effect, making the highly configurable voltage settings of the 595 ideal for this processor.  Like previous Shuttle motherboards, the HOT-595 boasts an auto-detect feature for the Voltage Setup, not a bad feature at all if you don't plan on overclocking much.  It makes the initial setup of the motherboard even easier than you would think from a motherboard like this.

Configuring the HOT-595 could almost be considered the "routine Shuttle setup procedure."  Using the supplied HOT-595 Installation Guide the dip switch settings for the Bus Speed/Clock Multiplier were quickly derived, not a problem there.  An interesting thing to note, the HOT-595 manual not only documents the Bus Speed/Clock Multiplier and Voltage settings for the most common Socket-7 processors (including the K6/266), but it also documents the 2.2v core voltage setting for use with certain K6/233's. 

Unlike some manufacturers that choose to go with a dip switch setup vs the conventional jumpers that must be capped or left open in order to configure their motherboard, Shuttle decided to make things easy on the user by implementing a 8-switch block that is used to configure the clock multiplier/bus speed, while a 4 row jumper block is used to setup the voltage.  Using the supplied 4 row jumper cap, you can activate the Auto-Detect Voltage Settings option the HOT-595 provides you with as mentioned above.  The auto-detect setting had no problem with the Pentium MMX up to 262.5MHz, with the K6/266, or with the 6x86MX-200+.  The HOT-595 included a jumper to enable or disable Linear Burst Mode for use with the Cyrix/IBM 6x86 processors, unfortunately, when enabled, the setting wouldn't allow the system to boot properly.   

Windows 95 had no problem configuring the HOT-595 upon its initial boot process, while Shuttle didn't include the standard Manual/Drivers CD-ROM disk that normally comes with their motherboards in the box of the 595 reviewed here, you can expect to receive one if you do pick up one of these boards.   The performance of the HOT-595 was nothing to scream about, not that it was a poor performer, basically the HOT-595 is an example of diminishing returns when it comes to motherboards.  You can optimize a chipset from the minute it is released, till the second it is discontinued, however after a while the performance increases you receive from all of that tweaking begin to decrease almost exponentially.  The HOT-595 is a definite option in the VP3 world, it gives the PA-2012 a good run for its money, not because of performance, but because of features and quality.

The Bad

The HOT-595 is a down right decent VP3 motherboard, it does breathe some life back into the nearly deceased chipset (the chipset is being put to death by the upcoming MVP3 chipset which retains, more or less, all of the features of the VP3 while adding support for the 100MHz bus speed), however the 595 is only an option if you aren't going to wait for the Aladdin V/MVP3 Super7 motherboards to make their entrance into the market in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, the 83.3MHz bus speed setting documented both on the motherboard itself and in the Quick Reference Installation Guide did not boot at all, this limits the overclocking potential of the HOT-595, but of course, not everyone is that big of an overclocker, and very few VP3 boards out there actually support the 83MHz bus speed.  A fully functional Linear Burst Mode setting would have been nice too.

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