Gigabyte GA7VX Slot A VIA KX133

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Gigabyte's GA-7VX KX-133 Based Motherboard
Does the tradition live on?

By, Marco ?BigWop? Chiappetta
September 22, 2000

  
Installation and Setup
Quick and painless

As you would probably expect from a standard ATX motherboard, installation was very simple and went off without a hitch.  Short of making sure you?re using the proper stand-offs and plugging in the ATX power and case connectors, there really is nothing to it.

The physical quality of the GA-7VX is very good. As we?ve come to expect from Gigabyte products, the workmanship is excellent.  All traces are clean and every item mounted on the board was sturdy and tight.  Gigabyte put some thought into the layout of the board as well.

The slot configuration of this board is our second favorite type.  We would have preferred 6 PCI slots, but the 5 PCI slot configuration where the AMR slot is shared with the ISA slot is still a fine choice.  Should you have to use the ISA or AMR slot, you would still have access to all 5 PCI slots.

A welcome addition to the GA-7VX is the on-board Creative Labs sound chip.  The last few boards I have reviewed all came with the AC-97 codec installed and I can honestly say it pails in comparison to the on-board creative sound found on the GA-7VX.  The layout of the audio connectors is also well thought out.  You?ll notice in the picture that they are all placed between PCI slots.  This may sound trivial, but there are many boards out there with connectors that are unusable or render a PCI slot unusable because they are in the way.

         

The layout of the IDE and floppy connectors was also well thought out.  They are placed all the way on the edge of the board.  We like this because ribbon cables aren?t draped across your motherboard when the system is fully assembled.  This allows for better air circulation which translates to lower temperatures, which in turn means better stability and a longer life.

There is another thing about the GA-7VX that I hesitate to say we like, but because it is better than what most other manufactures are doing is worth mentioning.  The heatsink placed on the chipset is mounted with thermal epoxy (notice there are no spring clips).  We normally dislike thermal epoxy because it isn?t a very efficient interface material, but it?s better than nothing!  Most other manufacturers that place a heatsink on the chipset don?t use any interface material at all, so even though this is a slight improvement...it is an improvement nonetheless.

Gigabyte?s Dual-BIOS feature is also found on this board.  In our opinion, this feature should be universally adopted by all motherboard manufactures. (How?s that for a bold statement?)  What is does is allow a user to restore a BIOS image from the secondary chip should a problem arise during a flash, or if the original BIOS is corrupted by a virus.  This is a great feature, and virtually eliminates down-time due to a problematic BIOS.

Another noteworthy feature found on the GA-7VX is a thermal probe found directly in front of the Slot-A connector. 

Also notice the abundance of power capacitors around the connector.  Using so many caps to filter the power signal going to the processor help with stability, and as you'll see later, they do the job well.  If you look behind the caps you'll see the ATX power connector has been mounted behind the Slot-A connector...you won't have a problem using a large heatsink / fan combo on your Athlon with the GA-7VX.


Overclocking, Benchmarks and Conclusion

 
Tags:  Gigabyte, VIA, slot, x1, A7, K

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