Athlon Hit Parade: 10 mobos with the nForce2 Ultra400

Abit NF7-S

Board Revision: 2.0

BIOS version: 1.6 (June 25, 2003)

Abit, known for years as an overclocking specialist, has also developed an nForce2 board. The NF7-S 2.0 impresses primarily with its wisely chosen equipment, as it does away with CNR, AMR and ACR slots, which aren't much use for private users anyway. The gap was left directly beneath the AGP slots, which means that complex cooling solutions for the graphics card can be implemented with this motherboard.

A Texas Instruments controller means that two FireWire ports are available. Abit also thought to include a suitable slot module as well as a module with two extra USB ports. Ribbon cable for IDE and floppy drive are obligatory features.

We also like the way the floppy port is positioned in the top right-hand corner. Even if the disk drive is used less and less, it is still rather hard to install if it is located at the top of the tower while the port is at the bottom of the motherboard.

The configuration and (over-) clocking of the system are brilliantly arranged in the BIOS. Besides being able to select the FSB in MHz increments it is also possible to adjust the supply voltage for the processor, the RAM and the chipset within practical ranges. The manual, containing brief instructions in six languages as well as a detailed documentation of the hardware and BIOS (in English), is also very useful. The enclosed CD is limited to complete driver support and a Winbond monitoring utility called Hardware Doctor.

Winbond's Hardware Doctor stays active in the taskbar and warns of strange monitoring results for supply voltage, fan speed and temperatures. ...