Changing Of The Guard: Four Athlon Motherboards For DDR400

The Boards

Asus A7V8X

Board Revision: 1.03

BIOS Version: 1006-01 (2. September 2002)

As usual, the design of the Asus board is organized and well thought out. Accordingly, the features listed in the user manual read like the menu of a high-class restaurant: AGP 8X; six PCI slots; six USB 2.0 ports; three UltraATA/133 channels plus two Serial ATA ports (or two ATA/133 and four Serial ATA ports); VIA FireWire controller; Gigabit-Ethernet adapter from Broadcom; six-channel AC97 sound system from Realtek; and the typical Asus qualities - overclockability and reliability in particular.

The sound system offers two internal inputs (e.g., for DVD-ROM and CD recorder), as well as a coaxial digital-in and digital-out. Even the game port was not forgotten - even though the latest joysticks and steering wheels today are mostly connected via USB. Speaking of USB: four USB ports are firmly soldered to the board and can be used directly from the connector panel. An adapter cable for two further ports is included in the package.

Up till now, Asus always gave you the choice of making CPU settings manually with the DIP switch or using the Soft Menu of the well-structured BIOS. The latter was always a must if you wanted to overclock. Now, Asus no longer offers the DIP switch option, which should mean a loss for system integrators.

Asus did away with a fan for the KT400 chip - we view this as a positive thing because if a component doesn't exist (and if the component is unnecessary), then it can't break down.

The Serial ATA controller from Promise (indicated by the blue arrow) offers transfer rates of up to 150 MB/s. Two ports can be used directly (red arrows), and in the lower part of the image you can see a 40-pin IDE connection, which can be used for two Serial ATA connections via the adapter (included).

Complete set of accessories, including user guide, software CD, three IDE cables, two Serial ATA cables and various adapters for game port, USB 2.0, FireWire, etc.