Socket A Is Coming: Test of 10 Boards

Overclocking Masters: Abit And Asus

Most overclocking friends had already dismissed the possibility of changing the multiplier of modern processors, after the Mendocino Celeron 300 Intel and AMD had the multiplier set to a fixed value (multiplier lock). The user was only able to change the Front Side Bus. As we already described in the installation guide for the Asus A7V , it is possible to break the multiplier lock in Socket A CPUs. A good example is the Duron 700 that often can be overclocked to 950 MHz. At a FSB of 100 MHz the multiplier is changed from x7.0 to x9.5. The core voltage has to be increased as well, of course. Currently two Duron and Athlon version are available:

Here the L1 bridges on the processor surface are open.

These are the better overclocking CPUs - the L1 bridges are closed. You can close the open L1 bridges on the first CPUs fairly easily. Silver conducting paste does the trick, and it is available in electronics stores. With a little bit of skill everybody can do that.

Let's now take a look at our favorite overclocking boards. If you insert a Socket A CPU with closed L1 bridges in the Abit KT7, you can set any random multiplier in the Softmenu of the BIOS. The Front Side Bus can also be changed. The Abit KT7 is clearly our favorite. As a second candidate the Asus A7V is quite convincing. Here you should note that there are two retail versions available. The "old" revision does not have multiplier DIPswitches. For a few bucks you can solder the DIPswitch and IC-chip onto the board with a soldering iron, following the instructions in our guide . Then you can change the multiplier again, but only if the L1 bridges are closed. After our installation guide was published Asus decided to ship all new A7V boards with DIPswitches for the multiplier again, thus allowing overclocking. For the customer it is difficult to differentiate between both A7V board versions. The exact location of these DIPswitches is also described in the article .


The winner of the test is the Asus A7V. This board convinces with its excellent performance, leaving all competitors far behind. The updated version comes with DIPswitches that allow changing the multiplier of Socket A CPUs (with closed L1 bridges). This makes this board ideal for overclocking. The A7V also possesses an UltraATA/100 controller that drives newer hard disks to peak performance.

A secret tip for overclocking fans is the Abit KT7. The multiplier can be changed in the Softmenu of the BIOS if the L1 bridges on the Athlon or Duron are closed. The KT7 is also available in a more expensive version with IDE RAID controller. For what it's worth, the KT7 lacks sound functionality. The AOpen AK33 and the Soltek SL-75V are solid products in the medium range. Both boards are well-equipped, run stable and offer good performance. Regarding performance the IWill KV200-R gets last place. It couldn't convince in this category.

Uwe Scheffel