Gigabyte 7VAXPA Ultra KT400A

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Gigabyte's 7VAXP-A Ultra KT400A Motherboard
Competition For The nForce 2

By, Tom Laverriere
May 27, 2003

If anyone has ever been part of a team, not just in sports but in any part of life, there is one valuable lesson to learn and that is competition within the team makes the team better.  There are many reasons for this.  Competitiveness pushes individuals on the team to perform at higher levels to ensure their spot on the team.  The ones that don't play a starting role, nevertheless, keep working hard trying to become that next strong player on the team.  In any event, competition is a good thing.  Competition is even better when it comes to computer technology.  With every new piece of technology that gets announced, the top players in the industry flaunt their hardware sporting this new technology.  Who's product is better?  Which company has the better name?  Readers like you then jump to PC Hardware sites and get the scoop on how the new technology performs.  This, my friends, is competition at its best.  These companies are fighting for your hard-earned Benjamins and in doing so are constantly improving the final product.  This can only mean one thing, we are the winners of this ongoing endeavor of the hardware game.

Intel and AMD have been waging battle for some time now obviously and to claim highest performance over all, is the almighty crown.  Intel pushes the envelope with megahertz while AMD offers "slower" processors that perform more efficiently and seem to execute just as quickly.  Motherboard chipsets offer the latest support to get the most speed and efficiency out of these brand spanking new processors.  While dual channel DDR memory support has been all the talk lately, there are still some other chipsets out there that offer similar performance with single channel solutions.  For AMD'ers, Nvidia's nForce2 chipset seems to be the perfect match, but VIA has ideas of their own.  Today we take a look at Gigabyte's motherboard sporting VIA's latest chipset the KT400A.  The Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra has many of the bells and whistles one could hope for.  However, while the KT400A chipset does not offer dual channel DDR memory, it offers what VIA likes to call, a "more efficient" memory architecture which will compete and possibly surpass the nForce2.  Is this it?  Have we found an nForce2 killer?  Grab a seat and get comfy while we give you the inside scoop as to how this motherboard performs.


Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra: Featureset

Via KT400A - Gigabyte's Ultra KT400A Motherboard
Feature Rich

Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra KT400A Motherboard

Via KT400A Memory / AGP / PCI Controller ( PAC )

Via VT8235 Integrated Peripheral Controller ( PSIPC )


Socket A Processor AMD Athlon / Athlon XP / Duron ( K7 ) 128K L1 & 512K / 256K 64K L2 cache on die

200 / 266 / 333MHz FSB and DDR Bus speeds

Supports 1.4GHz and faster



3 184-pin DDR sockets

Supports DDR DRAM PC2100 / PC2700 / PC3200

Supports up to 3.0GB DDR ( Max )

Supports only 2.5V DDR DIMM


I/O Control



Expansion Slots
1 AGP Slot supports 8X / 4X / 2X mode ( 1.5V ) & AGP 3.0 Compliant

5 PCI Slots supports 33MHz & PCI 2.2 Compliant


On-Board Peripherals

1 Floppy supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88M bytes

1 Parallel port supports Normal / EPP / ECP mode

2 Serial ports ( COMA & COMB )

6 x USB 2.0 / 1.1 ( 4 by cable )

3 x IEEE 1394 by cable

1 IrDA connector for IR

1 Smart Card Reader connector for SCR


On-Board Sound

Realtek ALC650 CODEC

Line Out / 2 front speaker

Line In / 2 rear speaker ( by s/w switch )

Mic In / center & subwoofer ( by s/w switch )


CD In / AUX In / Game port


On-Board LAN

Realtek RTL8100BL


On-Board IEEE 1394

Via VT6306


On-Board IDE

2 IDE Controllers provides IDE HDD / CD-ROM ( IDE1, IDE2 ) with PIO, Bus Master ( UltraDMA 33 / ATA66 / ATA100 / ATA133 ) operation modes

IDE3 and IDE4 Compatible with RAID, Ultra ATA 133 / 100, EIDE



On-Board RAID

Onboard Promise PDC20276

Supports data striping ( RAID 0 ) or mirroring ( RAID 1 )

Supports concurrent dual IDE controller operation

Supports IDE Bus Master operation

Displays status and error checking messages on start up

Mirroring supports automatic background rebuilds

Features LBA and Extended Interrupt 13 drive translation in controller onboard BIOS



Onboard Silicon Image Sil3112A

Supports disk striping ( RAID 0 ) or DISK Mirroring ( RAID 1 )

Supports UDMA up to 150 MB/s

AIL UDMA and PIO Modes

Up to 2 SATA Devices



H/W Monitoring
CPU / System Fan Revolution Detect

CPU / System Temperature Detect

System Voltage Detect

Thermal Shutdown function


PS/2 Connector

PS/2 Keyboard interface and PS/2 Mouse interface



Licensed Award BIOS, 2Mbit flash ROM

Supports Dual BIOS / Q-Flash



Over Voltage ( DDR / AGP / CPU ) by BIOS

Over Clock ( DDR / AGP / CPU / PCI ) by BIOS


Additional Features
PS/2 Keyboard power on by password, PS/2 Mouse power on

External Modem wake up

STR ( Suspend-To-RAM )

Wake on LAN ( WOL )

AC Recovery

Poly fuse for keyboard over-current protection

USB KB/Mouse wake up from S3

Supports @BIOS

Supports EasyTune 4


Form Factor

30.5cm x 24.4cm ATX size form factor

4 layers PCB






Via KT400A Architecture


In the diagram above, its easy to see that the KT400A chipset is feature-rich and Gigabyte has not left anything out.  The Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra, is named rightly so.  This motherboard incorporates all of the KT400A's capabilities.  RAID support is offered in both the IDE and SATA flavors.  There is support for USB 2.0, Firewire, and much more.  Let's take a closer look at the motherboard itself and see how all of these features were laid out.

A Closer Look: Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra

Tags:  Gigabyte, XP, t400, Ultra, T4, ULT, K

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