Chaintech 7VJL KT333 Motherboard Review

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The Chaintech 7VJL Motherboard Review
KT333 and Gold, Lots of Gold

By -Chris Angelini
August 2nd, 2002

Someone over at Chaintech must have the Midas Touch.  Or, maybe they have been watching too many Dr. Dre music videos.  Regardless, everything we've seen from Chaintech lately has been heavily accented by gold.  Companies like ASUS, ABIT, MSI, and Gigabyte may have more corporate clout here in the United States, but Chaintech claims to be the fastest growing motherboard manufacturer in the world and is obviously sparing no expense to prove it.  The "bling bling" began with the A-GT61 GeForce4 Ti 4600 that we reviewed back in May, and it continues with the 7VJL KT333 motherboard - one in a series of fully featured high-end boards in Chaintech's Apogee line.

It has been shown, to varying degrees, that VIA's KT333 chipset doesn't offer a world of difference from the preceding KT266A.  Of course the reason for this lies in the Athlon's front side bus.  At 266MHz, the FSB is capable of transferring a theoretical maximum of 2.1GB per second of information.  The 333MHz memory bus introduced with the KT333 chipset exceeds that amount, transferring up to 2.7GB per second.  Simply put, the EV6 front side bus can't keep pace with the faster memory bus, making it difficult for motherboard manufacturers to build KT333 boards that offer a discernable difference from their older counterparts.  Chaintech has distinguished the 7VJL by incorporating VIA's VT8235 South Bridge with ATA-133 and USB 2.0 support.  But that's only the beginning...

Specifications of the Chaintech 7VJL Motherboard
High-end KT333 With All Of The Bells and Whistles
Special Features
Supports USB 2.0 through VT8235
Integrated 10/100Mbps LAN controller
CBOX Front Panel with USB connectivity
Round Floppy and IDE Cables

CPU
Socket 462 for Athlon XP/Athlon/Duron

Chipset
VIA KT333
AGP 4x
Support for PC1600/2100/2700 DDR SDRAM

FSB
 266MHzFSB/333MHz Memory Bus

Main Memory
Three, 184-pin sockets
Maximum memory size up to 3GB

Slots
One AGP 4X slot
Six PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI bus slots
On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the VIA 8235 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 66/100 operation modes
Can connect up to four IDE devices

Audio
C-Media 8738 six channel audio

On-Board Peripherals
1 Floppy port supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
2 Serial port (COM A), 1 Parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
6 USB 2.0 ports (2 rear and 4 front)

USB Interface
6x USB 2.0 ports

BIOS
The mainboard BIOS provides Award "Plug & Play" Flash BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically

Dimension
ATX Form Factor
305mm x 230mm

 

Below is a list of the items that accompany the Chaintech 7VJL  Motherboard

2 - 40-pin 80 Conductor UDMA 100 Round Ribbon Cable
1 - Floppy Round Ribbon Cable
1 - Support CD
1 - CBOX front panel
1 - Body Theater headphone
1 - User's manual
1 - Thiz Linux CD

Setup and Installation:

Since the 7VJL comes with a few more gadgets than the average KT333 motherboard, it takes some time to decide what to use and what to set aside.  The CBOX front panel is very useful if you've got multiple USB devices that may not be in constant use.  For instance, an external USB 2.0 CD-RW and an MP3 player can be interfaced to the front of a system when in use, and then tucked away, avoiding the common "rat's nest" behind many computers. 

On the other hand, what Chaintech calls the Body Theater simulated six-channel headphone is more of a novelty than anything.  Sound quality is difficult enough to perfect with a set of ear buds.  Never mind trying to simulate six channels of audio.  The 7VJL itself features an integrated five watt headphone amplifier, which helps properly drive the Body Theater.  Even still, I'll stick to my Sennheiser HD600 cans. 

The round cables included with the 7VJL are invaluable.  Like the CBOX, rounded cables help eliminate a mess, only within the case - a luxury for which many enthusiasts are willing to pay handsomely.  The inclusion of Norton Anti-virus will be helpful to many, but the rest of the software bundle isn't overly inspiring.

Layout, BIOS, and Overclocking

 

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