The Next 'BX': 13 Motherboards For Pentium 4 With Intel's 845 Chipset and Socket mPGA478

The Boards


Board Revision: 1.0

BIOS Version : July 16, 2001

The BL7 comes with an extraordinary list of features: AGP 4x; six PCI slots; CNR slot; AC97 on-board audio; three DIMM sockets; HighPoint HPT370 IDE RAID controller; on-board LED debug system; three USB ports at the back panel; on-board PC speaker; and optional LAN. In addition, it features ABit's Soft Menu III, which moves all CPU and clock speed options into the BIOS, thus making overclocking as easy as possible.

There are three line-ins for the sound system and a total of three fan headers. Next to the connectors for the LEDs, reset and power switches are two little buttons: one for power-on; the other for reset. They can be used to start or restart the system without finding the required connector pins. This is a useful add-on that does not raise the motherboard's price.

A look at the design reveals good work from ABit. All IDE connectors are placed as high as possible (not interfering with long PCI cards), which ensures that the maximum IDE cable length of 40 cm will be enough, even in huge tower cases. The AGP connector with card lock system prevents the graphics card from falling out of the slot during shipping.

ABit includes a comprehensive manual, a driver and utility CD, a driver disk for the RAID controller, a game port adapter cable (the game port is not included in the backpanel), a suitable ATX cover, two 80-pin IDEs and one floppy cable. It performed as expected, there were neither positive nor negative surprises.