Abit KV8 Pro Motherboard - The K8T800 Pro Has Arrived

Article Index

HotHardware Test System and Synthetic Testing

The HotHardware Test Bed
Athlon 64 Power

Hardware

ABIT KV8 Pro (K8T800Pro)
EPoX EP-8KDA3+ (NF3 250Gb)
MSI K8N Neo Platinum (NF3 250Gb)

Foxconn 755A01-6EKRS (SiS755)
MSI K8T Neo (VIA K8T800) 

AMD Athlon 64 - 3200+
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
512MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 CAS 2
Integrated Audio
Western Digital ATA100
30GB - 7200RPM
Artec DVD+/-R/RW

Software

Windows XP Professional SP-1
DirectX 9.0b
VIA 4-in-1 v4.51
NVIDIA Forceware - Graphics v56.72
NVIDIA Forceware - NFORCE v4.24
SiS IDE Driver v2.04
SiS AGP Driver v1.17


Before We Begin:

When we started the benchmarking phase of the review, we had a few issues to contend with.  As we noted earlier, by default the KV8 ran the system bus at 204MHz bus, pushing our test CPU to 2040MHz instead of the its default 2000MHz.  Secondly, the board shipped with a prerelease Beta BIOS.  So to start off, we went to the ABIT web site to obtain the latest release BIOS available, version 14.  So we downloaded version 14 and used the FlashMenu to update by file.  The update process completed successfully and we were prompted to reboot for version 14 to take effect.  After the system began rebooting, we went into the BIOS and made sure the CPU was set to run at 2000MHz by setting the register to 200MHz, to maintain the integrity of our benchmarking results.  We saved our settings and then booted into Windows.  When Windows loaded we immediately noticed the CPU was running at 1800MHz instead of 2000MHz.  We loaded ABIT's Guru software and found the multiplier register was being identified as 9x instead of 10x, hence the 1800MHz CPU speed.  We rebooted, went back into the BIOS and set the system to auto detect the CPU and we saw 1840MHz, not the 2000MHz we were expecting.  We flashed the board with Bios version 1.1 and the problem still occurred.  Fortunately our contact at ABIT included a copy of the Beta BIOS that the board came with which cleared the problem altogether.  During our investigation of this issue, we found a number of users all experiencing the same issue with this board after flashing to the latest BIOS and going back to a previous BIOS didn't always set the multiplier factor back to normal.  While we are confident that ABIT will correct the issue, we felt it was our responsibility to share our findings with our readers since we could only resolve it with a Beta BIOS.

Overclocking
Squeezing it for Everything We Can Get

Overclocking this board was rather straight forward.  First we locked the AGP/PCI at 66/33 and began to raise the bus setting several MHz at a time.  We peaked at 218MHz, but the system was very unstable, failing to complete a full boot into Windows.  We tried lowering the memory to run at DDR333 to rule out the memory as the culprit, but this had no effect.  We increased the memory voltage to 2.9v since high-performance memory can be hungry for power and we saw no change.  Ultimately we settled on a setting of 216MHz with the memory set to 2.9v for added stability.  This pushed the processor up to 2.16GHz, a gain of 8%.  We were then able to enter Windows and see that we could complete our suite of benchmarks.  We ran Comanche 4 and managed a top FPS of 71.87 which was 5FPS faster than normal, equaling a 7.5% boost.  This type of gain was on par with we've seen with other Athlon 64 motherboards tested with this particular processor.

SiSoftware's SANDRA 4
Let's Start with the Synthetics

To get a quick assessment of expected system performance, we like to run 3 common modules in SANDRA 4; CPU, Multimedia, and Memory.  This helps paint an initial picture of how the hardware compares when gauged against SANDRA's comprehensive hardware database.

CPU@2GHz
Multimedia@2GHz
Memory@400MHz
CPU@2.16GHz
Multimedia@2.16GHz
Memory@432MHz

We typically have very little to say when reviewing SANDRA results.  They are simply a set of quick and dirty tests to see how a piece of hardware compares to its competition.  As we look at the CPU and Multimedia tests, we saw our test system beat out the two Pentium 4's running at 2.66GHz and 2.4GHz.  The Multimedia results were a little more balanced, with the Athlon 64 competing in the same territory as the Pentium 4 at 2.66GHz.  Memory performance was what we expected.  When we overclocked the KV8 Pro, we saw a fair gain in CPU and Multimedia scores while memory performance increased a solid 7.5% overall.

Tags:  Motherboard, Abit, K8, board, arrive, Ive, pro, AR, K

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