There are several other reviews of this motherboard elsewhere on the net,
but since we also recieved this board recently, we would like to tell you
about it from our perspective.
If you want detailed information about the board, you should visit Abit.
We will only cover a simple explanation in this review. For those
that want to jump to the overclocking part, you can go here.
First of all. What's included in this package? The usual stuff. A regular
ata-33 and floppy cable. Abit quality manual, cd-rom with drivers
etc. A disk with htp370 pro drivers for win98, winNT and win2k. 2
extra usb ports are included. Most
important, there are two ata-66 cables. One for each controler. We will
get back to why later.
What does this board look like?
This board look excactly like the old KT7-Raid, that is because it is. The
new KT133A chipset is pin compatible with the old KT133. The main
difference is that the new chipset support 133mhz cpu-bus. When Abit first
were at it, they changed the old southbridge into the new 686B, which
support ata-100. With the highpoint-370 controller you can have 8 IDE
drives connected at the same time. Can't imagine why you should need 8 IDE
drives, but you are welcome to try.
The northbridge chipset is cooled by a fan, that should imply that the
chipset generate much heat. Better cooling could also mean better oc'ing?
Well that remains to be tested. But what we did experience is that we had
to use a lower fsb without the cooling-fan.
The ATX power connector is positioned on the upper edge of the mobo. So
this should not be a problem with big coolers in mind. The power supply,
called 3-phase power solution, consist of 6 mosfet transistors. This power
solution disipate less heat than the usual 4 transistor 2-phase power. It
is also capable om delivering more current to "upcomming" cpu's.
There are 3 sd-ram slots, which should be enough for the
Installing this board with the onboard IDE
controller is no problem at all. Just as any other board. However, there
are some things that you should keep in mind. There have been some reports
of problems with putting cards in pci-slot 5. We recommend that you leave
pci-slot 5 free. And soundcards shold be in pci-slot 2. Pci-slot 5 have
irq shared with the highpoint controller. Also, leave pci-slot 1 free,
this is shared with the agp-slot. With this in mind, you should be ok.
Installing with the Raid-controller, that is a chapter by itself. I had
big problems installing both win2000 and windows 98 on a striped raid.
What I had to do at last was using ghost, and mirror the setup on to the
raid. But then it ran flawless.
Before installing on a raid-array. You have to enter the Highpoint-Bios,
and create an raid-array. This was an easy task. This is where the two
ata-66 cables enter the picture. To get the maximum performance, you need
to put one ide-drive on its separate controller. Both disks on primary
master. This way the disks got their own cable, and no sharing occurs.
The drivers are a sensitive issue with the KT7A. This also includes the
Bios. The latest Bios can be downloaded from Abit.
First I installed Via's 4in1 4.28. I experienced som strange reboots when
I used the cd-rom. Then I installed the old 4.24(except the agp driver)
and everything went ok. Download 4in1's in our DL