Quality and Setup of the
ABIT KX7-333R Motherboard
ABIT KX7-333R Motherboard:
KX7-333R may not be quite as flashy as some of the other
KT333 motherboards we've reviewed recently, but it comes equally equipped as some of the
more expensive motherboards.
What it lacks in a flashy exterior, it more than makes up
for with a powerful, feature rich interior. The unit comes with 4 DIMM
slots for up
to 3GBs of 100/133/166MHz. DDR-RAM. An ample supply of
capacitors are placed around the DIMM slots, ATX power, and Socket
A to insure that clean, constant current is provided,
crucial for maintaining a stable system. We feel that
the ATX power connector is placed in an optimal position to
minimize its impact on surrounding components, virtually
eliminating the chance
of the power supply cables interfering with proper airflow
of the CPU cooler. The board comes with a total of 5
fan headers, one for the CPU HSF, one for the Northbridge
active cooling and three more for additional cooling
Two standard IDE connectors are
positioned behind the DIMM slots for connecting up to 4 drives.
With the KX7-333R, these ports support ATA133, allowing for
burst transfer rates of up to 133MBs per second with ATA133
capable drives. Two more IDE connectors are placed
behind the PCI slots to accommodate the on-board HPT372 RAID
controller. Note how these are positioned so the data
cables will have little affect on the airflow of a lower,
front side chassis fan. Just past the RAID IDE
connectors is the floppy drive connector as well as the Power
LED headers. These headers are clearly marked, leaving
little guess work as to matching the case connectors to the
proper pins on the board.
The CPU socket is placed in such
a way that there should be few problems installing an
oversized cooling package. A total of 6 PCI slots are
available on the KX7-333R for maximum expandability. We were
disappointed to see the lack of a retention clip on the AGP
slot to help secure the video card in place, however,
we were pleased to see active cooling on the Northbridge.
Underneath the HSF on the Northbridge was a decent layer of thermal paste applied to
aid in proper heat transfer, although we feel that the coverage could
have been more uniform.
The KX7-333R comes equipped with 3
status LEDs that provide visual clues to the status of the
board. One light shows
that the system has standby power being supplied to it.
Another illuminates to show that the power is on, and one shows
that the reset button has been depressed. These are all
useful when trying to diagnose a system problem, and they
simple reminder that power is still being supplied to the
Now that we've seen what the ABIT
KX7-333R is made of, let's take a look and see what makes it
The Phoenix - AwardBIOS:
When it come to
the BIOS of the KX7-333R, it was love at first site for this
reviewer. This is by far the most complete and "tweakable"
BIOS we've seen with any of the KT333 based boards that we've
reviewed to date.
Between their trademark "Soft Menu III" and an exceptional
DRAM Clock Drive Control screen, the hardcore enthusiast
should be quite pleased with what ABIT has to offer.
When we first accessed the Soft Menu III, we found the
screen to be very thorough. Not only
does the BIOS detect the processor by model (AthlonXP
1800+), it also provides information and adjustments for such
items as the multiplier, CPU FSB, and core voltage to name a
One of the more
uncommon settings we found in the Soft Menu III screen was
an item called 'Enhance for Benchmark." Simply put,
enabling this setting can "improve your processor and system
performance." Aside from the description in the owners
manual, that is all we can tell you about it the "Enhance
for Benchmark" setting until we get more information from
When we accessed the DRAM
Clock/Driving Control window, we found an excellent
selection of settings to really hone the memory performance of the
KX7-333R. Aside from the DRAM timing settings commonly
found in a KT333 BIOS, ABIT has added some advanced settings
to streamline memory performance while helping to maintain a good
degree of stability. Another one of the "enhance"
settings we found available was the "Enhance DRAM Performance" option.
The name is pretty self-explanatory, although we hope to
have more details for you in the near future.
If you are one of those users who is constantly
trying to increase the performance of their rig, this board
should be right for you. The ABIT
KX7-333R has more than enough advanced settings to pique the
interest of even the most savvy enthusiast, keeping him occupied for quite some time.
One thing we should mention, however, is that although these
settings would obviously have some effect on the overall
systems performance, we left these items at their default
settings, disabled. The reason we did this was to keep a
level playing field during the benchmarking phase of this
review. It would hardly seem fair to compare the
performance of the ABIT KX7-333R motherboard to a reference
system that didn't have the same options available.
We're fairly confident that some increased gains could be achieved
multiple variations of these settings. Unfortunately, this would not only
require additional time to complete the review, it would
also make for an exceptionally long piece with enough
benchmark scores to put one to sleep. On the other
hand, we are quite interested in these settings and would
like to gather some more details about them for a possible follow-up piece demonstrating some of the
advantages of these options.
With that said, why don't we go
ahead and get things started with a little overclocking...shall
Sandra 2002 Pro