Ever since the KT333 was first released, we have seen a wide variety of motherboards incorporating VIA's newest chipset. Some manufacturers developed new motherboards that focused on impressing the user with not only with performance, but also with its bundle and appearance. We've seen several companies build top of the line systems that not only incorporated VIA's latest and greatest, but also came with uniquely colored PCBs and a slew of extra components. Companies like MSI and Soyo produced products that not only exhibited excellent design qualities and performance, they were gorgeous to look at, too. While these systems were clearly designed with the high-end enthusiast in mind, they usually command a hefty price.
There are other companies that subscribe to a different school of thought when it comes to manufacturing their motherboards. These manufacturers tend to focus on features, performance, and reliability over all else. These companies tend to target the user who wants a quality motherboard an affordable price. They choose to rely on good components and design practices to offer a system board that can give the user what they want, a reliable system with superior performance. If any time is spent trying to make the board unique from other systems, it's often by adding unique BIOS features as well as making the system more friendly to overclocking. Some examples of these types of companies are DFI, Shuttle, and, for the most part, ABIT.
The latest KT333 motherboard to find its way into the HotHardware labs is the ABIT KX7-333R. This motherboard definitely falls in the category of "plain on the outside," but once we got it up and running, we soon found that ABIT had a few surprises in store for us. First we'll take a look at what the KX7-333R has to offer.
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| Specifications of the ABIT KX7-333R Motherboard |
| Spiffy.... |
Support AMD Athlon XP 1500+ ~ 2100+ or future Socket A Processors based on 200/266 MHz (100MHz/133MHz Double Data Rate)
Support AMD Athlon 700MHz ~ 1.4GHz or future Socket A Processors based on 200/266 MHz (100MHz/133MHz Double Data Rate)
Support AMD Duron 600MHz ~ 1.2 GHz or future Socket A Processors based on 200 MHz (100MHz Double Data Rate)
VIA KT333 / VT8233A
Supports Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 IDE protocol
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 2X(3.3V)and 4X(1.5V)mode (Sideband) device
Supports200/266/333MHz (100/133/166MHz Double Data Rate) Memory Bus Settings
Ultra DMA 133/ RAID
High Point HPT 372 IDE Controller
Ultra DMA 133MB/sec data transfer rate
RAID 0 (striping mode for boosting performance)
RAID 1 (mirroring mode for data security)
RAID 0 + 1(striping and mirroring)
Four 184-pin DIMM sockets support PC1600/PC2100/PC2700 DDR DRAM modules
Supports 6 banks up to 3GB DRAMs for unbuffered DDR/SDR modules
Supports 8 banks up to 3.5GB DRAMs for registered DDR/SDR modules
Multi I/O Functions
Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
2 Channels of Bus Master IDE Ports supporting up to 4 Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133
2 Channels of Bus Master IDE Ports supporting up to 4 Ultra DMA 33/66//100/133 (RAID 0/1/0+1)
Built-in Standard /EPP/ECP parallel port connector
Two built-in 16550 fast UART compatible serial port connectors
Built-in PS/2 Keyboard and PS/2 mouse port connectors
On board USB header for two extra USB channels
SoftMenu?III Technology to set CPU parameters
Supports Plug-and-Play (PNP)
Supports Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI)
Supports Desktop Management Interface (DMI)
Write-Protect Anti-Virus function by AWARD BIOS
Below is a list of the items that were included with the sample motherboard we received for review:
The setup CD had a simple, clean interface for setting up all of the system's components. The CD provides all necessary drivers to get the motherboard up and running with minimal complications. Included were version 4.38 of the VIA 4-in-1 chipset drivers, the most current at the time the board was initially released. The High Point RAID controller drivers, were version 2.31, the latest available at the time this review was written. Also included on the CD is the High Point ATA RAID Management Software for providing detailed information on the status of the RAID array. Aside from system's driver's, the CD also included several freeware packages such as Norton AntiVirus and WInDVD.
A copy of Winbond Hardware Doctor Version 2.70 is included on the CD and is one of our favorite utilities for monitoring the system's critical temperatures and fan speeds from within Windows. This program is particularly handy when overclocking, allowing the user to set parameters for a number of critical system components, triggering an alarm if any voltages, temperatures or fan speeds are not within acceptable limits.
Now that we've gotten acquainted with some of the items included with the KX7-333R, let's take a closer look at the board itself.
Quality, Setup and the BIOS