ABIT SR78X Motherboard Review

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The ABIT SR7-8X Motherboard Review
SiS and Abit, a Powerful Combination

By, Jeff Bouton
September 22, 2002



As a whole, when we think of chipset manufacturers that produce products loaded with features and performance, two names come to mind:  VIA and Intel.  But it is incorrect to ignore another manufacturer that has proven it's equally capable of competing with the two big boys on the block.  We are talking about SiS.  When it comes to Athlon based motherboards, it is difficult to argue that VIA holds the majority of the market share when it comes to chipsets.  But when it comes to the Pentium 4 based systems, SiS has itself a unique opportunity.  With Intel and VIA locked in a bitter battle over patent infringement issues, this has prevented VIA from gaining a solid share of the Pentium 4 market.  This has also left OEMs leery of adopting VIA's chipsets until the dispute has been settled.  This in turn has given SiS a golden opportunity to step into the ring and show what they have to offer.

The latest of their offerings is the SiS 648 chipset for the Pentium 4 platform.  It would seem that SiS has been hard at work trying to develop a cost effective product that would hit a homerun with both OEMs and users alike.  The combination of the 648 Northbridge and 963 Southbridge brings a long list of features such as USB 2.0, AGP 8X, ATA133 and a host of other features that help it stand out from the crowd.

Today we'll be reviewing the latest offering from Abit that incorporates the SiS 648 chipset, the SR7-8X.  This is an economical motherboard that shows major promise with both features and performance.  Let's get started and see what Abit has brought to us this time around.
 

Specifications of the ABIT SR7-8X Motherboard
A Complete Package


 

CPU
Supports Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 processors with 400/533 MHz Front Side Bus

Chipset
SiS 648 / 963
Supports Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 4X/8X Interface (1.5V/0.8V)

Memory

Three 184-pin DIMM sockets (unbuffered Non-ECC DIMM)
Supports 3 DIMM DDR 200/266 (Max. 3GB)
Supports 2 DIMM DDR 333 (Max. 2GB)

Audio

2-Channel AC 97 CODEC on-board

System BIOS

SoftMenu III Technology to set CPU parameters
Supports Plug-and-Play (PNP)
Supports Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI)
Supports Desktop Management Interface (DMI)
AMI BIOS

LAN
On board RTL8100B PCI Fast Ethernet Controller
10/100M Operation support ACPI & Wake on LAN

Internal I/O Connectors

1 AGP slot, 5 PCI slots
Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 Connectors
2 x USB headers
1 x AUX-IN, 2 x CD-IN
1 x IrDA

Back Pane. I/O

1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
2 x Serial, 1 x Parallel
2 x USB, 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector
Audio connectors (Line-out, Line-in, Mic-in and Game Port)

Miscellaneous

ATX form factor
Hardware monitoring - Including Fan speeds, Voltages, CPU and System environment temperature
Supports Wake Up by LAN, Modem Ring, RTC Alarm
Supports Keyboard and Mouse Power On
Supports STR (Suspend to RAM)



Below is a list of the items that were included with the sample motherboard we received for review:

One 80 Wire Ribbon Cables
One Floppy Ribbon Cable
One USB D-Bracket
One User's Manual
One Setup/Drivers CD
One Rear I/O Shield Bracket


The package contents of the SR7-8X contained the basic necessities for getting the system up and running quickly.  Along with ribbon cabling for the hard drive and floppy drive, the package came with a rear I/O shield to allow a computer case to accommodate the integrate LAN port.  We were thrilled to see that Abit also included a USB D-Bracket for utilizing the additional USB ports available with the SR7-8X, an item that is often overlooked.  The User's Manual was thorough in documenting all of the features of the SR7-8X and a comprehensive Setup/Drivers CD was provided that contained several useful extras.


   


Along with the latest drivers for each component of the motherboard, the Setup/Drivers CD came with several Freeware/Utility packages as a bonus.  The Setup/Drivers CD included a full version of both Norton Antivirus and WinDVD as well as the popular WinBond Hardware Monitor.  All too often we find that people are running their systems without some form of AntiVirus software installed.  Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly apparent simply by the amount of infected e-mails we receive on a daily basis.  It was great to see that Abit is being proactive by offering useful software packages that a user will truly benefit from.  In the end, we feel that Abit has done a nice job of putting together a basic, yet useful package that helps to get the system running and allows the user to take full advantage of the board's additional features. 

Now that we've gotten acquainted with some of the items included with the SR7-8X, let's take a closer look at the board itself.

 

Quality, Setup and the BIOS

 

Tags:  Motherboard, Abit, review, board, view, IE, R7, AR

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