Abit's KT7ARAID Socket A Motherboard

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Abit's KT7ARAID Socket A Motherboard - Page 2

Abit's KT7A-RAID Socket A Motherboard
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By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
March 8, 2001

Taking a look at the physical aspects of the board yields some nice findings.

              

The expansion capabilities are excellent with Abit's choice of slot configuration.  Instead of opting for an AMR slot, Abit added a single ISA slot for those users still stuck with legacy products.  The 1 AGP, 6 PCI and 1 ISA configuration is probably the most flexible solution available today.  It's nice to see the 6th PCI slot on the KT7A-RAID, especially since the board ships with an on-board HPT-370 IDE RAID controller also (it's under the pretty green sticker). :)

              

              

If you take a close look at the Northbridge chip, you'll see it is turned 45 degrees.  According to Abit, mounting the Northbridge this way shortens the length of some key traces, increasing stability.  The ATX power connector is mounted at the far edge of the board, eliminating the need to drape cables over your CPU, RAM and expansion cards.  As that power comes into the board, it has to be "cleaned" in order to provide an even, smooth flow of current.  The KT7A-RAID handles this in 2 ways.  First, notice the large power capacitors around the CPU socket and power array. These caps "filter" the current eliminating spikes that hinder stability.  Secondly, the KT7A-RAID utilizes a 3-Phase power array.  Most other boards use 2-Phase power...the main difference is that 3-Phase power spreads the load across 6 M.O.S.F.E.T.s (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) whereas 2-Phase spreads the load over 4 M.O.S.F.E.T.s.  To put things very simply, less load per component equates to less heat which in turn yields cleaner power and longer life.  There has also been some speculation that without 3-Phase power some boards won't be able to run AMD's future Palomino CPUs.  We were happy to find an active heatsink / fan combo mounted to the Northbridge to keep it cool.  We were even happier to find thermal grease used as the interface material between the chip and heatsink...kudos to Abit for taking these steps.

     

Abit places virtually all the connectors to the far edge of the board ensuring airflow to all components is not hindered in any way.  The case connectors are clearly labeled and placed at the corner of the board.  The IDE / Floppy connectors are placed high up behind the DIMM slots where they won't get in the way of any expansion cards.  Also take a look at the external case connectors...no on-board sound or video to raise the price of this board!

              

We're sure many over-clockers are looking at this board with wide-eyes.  Luckily, there is ample space around the CPU socket to house larger than average coolers.  Even with our rather large Global Win unit mounted there is some space to spare.  The last thing we'd like to mention is the amount of fan headers found on the KT7A-RAID.  You should see some in almost every picture! The KT7A-RAID has four 3-Pin fan headers available...once again we have to commend Abit, especially now when finding 3 fan headers is becoming more rare.
   

Setup and Installation
Good Stuff...

Installing and setting up the KT7A-RAID is as simple as any other standard ATX motherboard.  With jumperless setup and a standard form factor, all you have to worry about is using the proper screws and stand-offs to mount the board in you case.

The BIOS, Over-clocking and some Numbers

 
Tags:  Motherboard, RAID, SoC, socket, Abit, board, AI, id, Ara, AR, K

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