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VIA KT333 Put To The Test: 18 Motherboards Compared

An Overview Of All Boards

Abit AT7: Bold Features

Abit AT7.

Retail package for the Abit AT7.

The overclocking king of recent times has delivered the board with the most features in the test. Included with the motherboard are three Ultra DMA/133 cables designed in black. Noteworthy are the eight USB ports, consisting of four USB 2.0 ports and four USB 1.1 ports. The user manual gives you quite a bit of information on installing the board, as well as basic information about BIOS and the bundled software. Abit is the only contestant in the comparison to provide cable holders for installation in the PC case.

Items included with in the Abit AT7 package.

The interfaces of the Abit AT7.

Some basic aspects of the motherboard: the Abit AT7 is the only one here to do away with the traditional parallel and serial ports (COM). Peripheral devices such as the mouse and the keyboard can only be connected via the USB interface. One of the highlights is the Highpoint controller HPT374 integrated on the board, which provides eight extra IDE interfaces. This enables you to connect a total of 12 IDE drives. The four DIMM slots allow up to 4096 MB of RAM, at least in theory. However, the fourth DIMM slot functions as a shuttle, so that in most cases, only one single-sided memory module is recognized. The extensive features also include on-board components such as AC'97 sound (ALC650 - six-channel sound) with optical input, network functionality (Realtek 8100B) and three FireWire interfaces (TI TSB43AB23). Abit uses the well-known Softmenu III, which lets you modify settings for the memory clock, CPU voltage and FSB clock. The AT7 is also the only one in the test that allows you to change the chipset voltage (3.5 Volt or 3.65 Volt). The large number of integrated features also has its disadvantages, though; because a lot of room is required for all of these features, there are only three PCI slots. Regarding AMD thermal protection, the board does not read the thermal diode, so no protection is provided. A positive aspect is that the BIOS boots in two seconds. In all 20 of the benchmark tests, this motherboard lands in the middle of the rankings.

The large Highpoint controller creates many IDE interfaces.

The Softmenu III from Abit AT7.

Abit AT7 with BIOS functions.