could put this thing in a
let's look at this board in its natural habitat...
to our friends at MicroX-Press
for supplying the Duron. They have them in
stock now if you are looking for one of these new
low cost, "no compromise" little
is no need for a lot of detail on the installation
of the board. We paired it with a GeForce 2
card, some Corsair PC133 SDRAM and a WD UDMA66
drive. The system booted right up and we had
no issue installing the latest VIA 4.23 inf files
and ATA66 Controller drivers. We then
decided to install a little program we received
from Gigabyte not long after we first received the
The "Easy" Way with The
Tune III - Who needs "Softmenu"?
first glance, the GA-7ZM doesn't exactly strike
you as an over-clocking friendly
motherboard. Sure, there are
additional FSB settings beyond the specified
100MHz. (200MHz. DDR) Front Side Bus.
However, there is no CPU voltage tweaking
available and the method for setting the Front
Side Bus, while better than a bank of jumpers, is
still a very mechanical process via dip
switches. On the other hand, Gigabyte just
launched a new software utility that is a saving
grace for not only this board but most other
motherboards in their product offering.
Tune III ( we never saw or knew that there was
even an Easy Tune 1 or 2, by the way) allows the
user to optimize, test, set and save new Front
Side Bus settings from the comfort of the Windows
can see, Gigabyte has provided a stylish
"cockpit" sort of interface that allows
you to set the FSB, save and reload it every time
Windows boots. With the GA-7ZM, we were able
to increase or decrease the FSB almost in 1MHz.
increments. Specifically we went from 100 to
110 in 1MHz. increment, then 111, then 113, 115
etc... This will be most likely dependant on
the variety of PLL Clock Driver that is on the
Gigabyte board being used.
fastest speed we could get the Duron to with full
stability, was what you see in this shot.
Prior to using Easy Tune, we could only get the
GA-7ZM to 683MHz. and still boot Windows. We
are not sure what Easy Tune does that is different
than setting the dip switch block but it allowed
for a much higher over-clock with the GA-7ZM.
735MHz., we had to set the AGP setting in the BIOS
to 2X down from 4X, in order to run our Gaming
Benchmarks. We aren't sure why the AGP bus
got so flaky at the 4X setting but at 2X the
entire system was totally stable. As you may
be aware, the miniscule performance boost that
AGP4X produces on the current round of 3D Cards,
is negligible. Dropping down to 2X mode was
perfectly acceptable to us as a trade off for the
additional CPU horsepower we gained. This
may or may not have been an issue with the GA-7ZM
itself. We will be testing Easy Tune on
other Gigabyte boards with other graphics cards
shortly and should have further detail on this.
software also has an "auto optimize"
feature that will scan the Clock Generator and CPU
for you and select what it feels is the most
stable and optimized speed for your
processor. In this case, our 650MHz. Duron
was set to 683MHz. We preferred the
"Advanced Mode" manual setting of
735MHz. that we achieved, however.
set the software to "Auto Over-clock"
and it loads itself upon Windows Startup every
time you boot. All told, Easy Tune III is a
great little utility that provides the "tweakability"
of H.Oda's "SoftFSB" but with a much
more intuitive and easy to use interface.
You don't even have to know what model of Clock
Generator is on your motherboard, so long as it is
a Gigabyte Motherboard. Yes, we tried it
with other manufacturers boards and got the
standard "sorry we don't support this
board" message. If only CPU voltage
settings were adjustable from this
is the extensive list of Gigabyte Motherboards
that Easy Tune supports and as you can see it
is comprised of all recently released boards from
the i815 to VIA Apollo. You can also download
Easy Tune III here as well.
these new tools from Gigabyte at our disposal, we
were free to concentrate on other numbers, the
Benchmarks and The Rating