Abit BH7 Motherboard Review

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Review on the Abit BH7 Motherboard
The Legend Continues...

By Robert Maloney
April 9th, 2003


Everyone holds a few memories close to their heart; their first kiss, the first time they drove a car solo, and the first time they got a sweet overclock on a motherboard.  OK, that last one might be a bit of a stretch, but there are a few of us who have clung onto boards, perhaps longer than we should have, because the features and stability made it such a winner.  Abit's BH6 was just such a board.  It was a reputation builder for Abit, and was widely regarded as one of the best 440BX boards of its day.  The BH6 helped herald in the age of jumperless boards, making system setup easier by the addition of the now well-known SoftMenu section in the BIOS.  Within the SoftMenu on the BH6 was the infamous 66/100 MHz FSB toggle, which allowed for overclockers to move beyond the normal specifications for their CPUs.  Thus, the BH6 became almost synonymous with overclocking.

It has been five years since the release of the BH6, and much has changed in the computing world since then.  Until now, Abit had not released any other boards that carried the "BH" tag.  That all changes with the recent release of the BH7, which uses the Intel 845PE chipset at its core.  While this may not be the newest or most technologically advanced chipset out there, it has been out long enough to have become a completely mature chipset.  Abit has tweaked this just a bit to provide stability and power with the BH7, as we shall soon see.

Specifications of the Abit BH7 Motherboard
Measuring it up

Processor Support:
Supports Intel Pentium 4 Socket478 processors
with 400/533 MHz FSB
Supports Intel Hyper-Threading Technology

Chipset
Intel 845PE Chipset:
Intel 82845 (MCH)
Intel 82801DB (ICH4)

Memory
Three 184-pin DIMM sockets (unbuffered Non-ECC)
Supports 3 DDR200/266 DIMMs (2GB Maximum)
or 2 DDR333 DIMMs (2GB Maximum)

Expansion Slots
Five 32-bit PCI Bus Master Slots
One 1.5V AGP Slot (AGP 4x)

External Connections
Two PS/2 ports (keyboard & mouse)
One Serial port
One Parallel port
Five Audio jacks (line-in, mic-in, front speaker,
center/subwoofer, and surround speaker)
One S/PDIF In connector
One S/PDIF Out connector
Four USB 2.0 ports
One RJ-45 LAN connector

 

Internal I/O Connections
One Floppy Disk connector supporting up to 2.88MB
Two IDE Connectors (UltraDMA 100/66/33 Support)
supports only 1 channel when SATA enabled
One Serial ATA 150 Connector
One USB 2.0 header
One CD-IN header and one AUX-IN connector
One IrDA header

Audio Features
On board RealTek ALC650 6-Channel AC '97 CODEC
Digital interface supports 24-bit S/PDIF optical In/Out

Network Features
RealTek RTL8101L 10/100M PCI Ethernet Controller

Serial ATA 150
Marvell® 88i8030 SATA bridge supporting
up to Single Channel S-ATA device

NOTE - Abit's website lists the following:
On board Silicon Image Serial ATA PCI Controller

BIOS
Award BIOS
SoftMenu III technology to set CPU parameters
Supports ACPI, DMI 2.0, PNP
CPU Temperature and Voltage Monitoring

Form Factor
ATX form factor
Size: 30.5cm x 22cm


Below are the items that were included with the sample we received for review:

 
Abit BH7 Motherboard
One 80-pin IDE ribbon cables
One 3.5" floppy drive cable
One Serial ATA cable
I/O shield
User's Manual
Software & Drivers CD
 

The bundle, as you can see in the picture above, is somewhat limited.  There are only the basics that one would need to get a basic system up and running.  Abit has included one floppy cable, one 80-pin IDE cable for a hard drive, or, for those so inclined, a serial ATA cable.  Other than that, all we found were the User's Manual, a driver CD, and the I/O shield that matched the board's external configuration.  While many other manufacturers provide brackets for extra USB ports or audio jacks, there is no need with the BH7 as there are four USB 2.0 ports and five audio jacks, not including the S/PDIF IN and OUT connections, in the external connections array.  The emphasis here is squarely on the board, and not on the add-ons

A first look at the BH7

 


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