ABIT KA7

URL: http://www.abit.com.tw/

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

My review of the KA7 is coming from the angle of building a PC from the ground up for the first time. I bought this board to fulfill the requirements of my fall semester class in Computer Architecture. One of the goals of this class is to be able to assemble a computer and understand the interior workings. Having never put together a computer before, I was looking forward to the start of the semester and being able to put them all together. Of course, having all my parts packaged up at home was beginning to make me anxious. So I did what any other anxious person with a load of parts would do and started assembling them.

What the ABIT KA7 offers

 

  1. Supports AMD-K7 Athlon 200MHz FSB Processors
  2. VIA VT8371(KX133) / VIA 686A
  3. Four 168-pin DIMM sockets support PC100/PC133 SDRAM module
  4. Supports up to 2 GB MAX. (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512MB SDRAM)
  5. 1 AGP slot, 6 PCI slots and 1 ISA slots
  6. Supports AGP 2X/4X (Sideband) 3.3V device
  7. SOFTMENUTM III Technology
  8. On board Bus Master IDE Ports supporting UDMA 33/66

Overall, it took about 30 minutes to get a working PC. Reading the manual on each step and double checking everything took up most of the time.

The ABIT manual is an excellent piece of work for a manual. A blessing for the novice, it describes each jumper, pin connector, slot, and port in detail. Within minutes I was able to get the motherboard into the case and the connectors attached and felt pretty confident about what was going where. Again, excellent job with the manual.

The board layout allows for easy installation of peripherals. No squeezing wires and ribbon cable over memory chips or wires bent at 45 degrees immediately at the plug to snug around other pieces on this board. A lot of comfortable leg room to work with. The chip slot is positioned to accommodate even the most menacing CPU cooling fan system. I opted for a dual fan for the meantime to see how the system temperatures hold up.

The ABIT comes with SOFTMENU III in the BIOS. No fooling with jumpers to set your clock speeds here, just boot into the BIOS and select your desired clock speed (it will automatically detect your processor’s default speed). I would assume that is would be an overclocker’s dream, but since I don’t dream of overclocking very often, I keep the default settings. The BIOS option menu is very easy to navigate and most of the options are described to the user by way of the display. Very user friendly.

The only problem I have had with the board to date is getting it cooperate with an ISA SCSI adapter from an my older system. [See “ISA SCSI & ABIT KA-7: Help?”] After setting all of the ‘legacy ISA’ options in BIOS and tinkering with various settings, it appeared that possibly the bus was operating so fast that it wasn’t communicating properly with the ISA at all times. I finally bit the bullet and picked up a PCI SCSI controller and all has been well since. A quirk? Possibly, but nothing I hold against the motherboard.

Needless to say, I am pretty happy with the board. I opted for an Athlon 800MHz processor and life is good. So good, in fact, that I am running the KA7 at home and opted to bring my older computer in the lab for my class. I give ABIT a ‘very well done’ on this board.

Submitted by: Rabbi Bob

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