Athlon Hit Parade: 10 mobos with the nForce2 Ultra400

Gigabyte GA-7NNXP

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BIOS version:

The 7NNXP from Gigabyte has no intention of being just another average motherboard. The package is really bulky and heavy, and once you've opened it you have to rummage through the impressive amount of equipment supplied. Once you get to the motherboard you are dazzled by the mass of bright colors. But don't worry; the saying "all show and no substance" does not apply in this case - quite the opposite, in fact.

The extroverted appearance is borne out on closer inspection. Gigabyte has two network connectors, the first of which is also Gigabit-compatible, thanks to an Intel 82540EM. One of few suppliers to do so, Gigabyte equips the 7NNXP with four DIMM sockets instead of the usual three. However, this is merely for convenience, because the chipset does not support any more than six rows or three double-sided, 1 GB DIMMs.

The number of available IDE interfaces is outstanding. In addition to the two UltraATA/133 connectors of the nForce2, this board serves up an IDE RAID controller from ITE as well as a serial ATA controller from Silicon Image. This means that a total of ten ATA devices can be operated - provided you have a big case and an impressive power unit.