Board Revision: 2.0
BIOS Version: 0627F (July 4, 2001)
Though Biostar is less well known than other brands, they have provided motherboards since the late 80's. Their main pillar is the OEM business. That may be positive for motherboard pricing, but can be a disadvantage for home users: The demands of companies are usually quite different from end user wishes.
The board comes with 5 PCI and even one ISA slot, AGP Pro 4x and two DIMM sockets, which is certainly enough for most OEM customers. There is also an AC97 sound codec including two line-ins on board. Overclockers won't be too happy about the fact that only two fan headers are present.
The most interesting feature is the Highpoint HPT370A IDE RAID controller chip. It can be used as additional IDE controller or for RAID modes 0, 1 or 0+1. Though the placement of its connectors is quite good, the connectors for the standard ATA/100 IDE ports and the floppy cable are at the very bottom. In big tower cases, the floppy drive or the CD ROM is often in an upper drive bay, which is sometimes too great a distance for standard flat cables.
Biostar uses the standard Phoenix BIOS. The memory can be set via auto config or manually.
Configuration And Manual
The basic FSB speed (100 or 133 MHz) has to be set via two jumpers on the motherboard. After that, you may choose several alternative settings in the BIOS. Biostar does not give you any option to alter the multiplier, which is still an important issue for Athlon fans, as this CPU can usually be overclocked by increasing the multiplier - but not with this board. Luckily, there is an option to change the CPU core voltage, which allows you to raise the FSB speed for overclocking after all.
The box contained only one 80-pin IDE cable, a floppy cable and a 1-page quick reference - unfortunately the manual was missing. I don't know if Biostar ships this board with or without manual. In case you are looking for it, you can download it here .
Test & Performance
The M7MIA performs within our expectations without any peak up or down.
As already mentioned, inside the box was a quick reference, a CPU installation guide, two cables and a driver CD.