“ Supports 200/266 MHz Alpha EV6 bus for the AMD Athlon & Duron Processors; VIA KT133A /VIA 686B; Ultra DMA 100MB/Sec data transfer rate; RAID 0, 1, 0+1 „
Until the KG7 and KG7-RAID came along, this was Abit's top of the range Socket A board. With support for any current Thunderbird processor, 1.5GB of PC133 RAM and up to 8 hard drives, it certainly sounds impressive. Using the KT133A chipset (with the VIA 686b Southbridge) means that the latest Athlon C models can be used, running on a 266MHz DDR bus - especially good news for those with unlocked 200MHz bus CPUs. The 686b has had its fair share of problems, though, with a particularly nasty data corruption bug involving large data transfers over the IDE bus. There are also reports of problems with SoundBlaster Live cards - indeed, my own 1999 SB Live Value card made clicking noises before I moved to a beta version of Windows XP. Various patches have come out to correct this issue since then, however. The KT133A also supports ATA100, unlike the earlier KT133 as used in the KT7. This board also has an integrated Highpoint 370 RAID controller, giving you an extra 2 IDE channels (although they're only usable for hard drives). The RAID controller offers ATA100 compatibility, plus the option of RAID 0 (sharing data across 2 or more HDDs) and RAID 1 (mirroring data for safety). You don't have to use RAID if you don't want to - indeed, I've placed my hard drives on the RAID controller, using the 686b IDE channels for a CD writer and DVD-ROM drive. Some people have reported problems with RAID under Linux, but under Windows 2000 it's fine. There's an AGP slot (AGP 4x), an ISA slot (good for old peripherals from a previous computer, perhaps) and 5 PCI slots, giving excellent expansion potential. Some of the PCI slots share IRQs with each other and the Highpoint controller, which can cause conflicts if you're not careful. Also, the Highpoint controller can cause severe problems with SoundBlaster Lives under Win9x, due to the SB16 emulation. There are several good FAQs on the Web to help you avoid these problems, though
. There are problems with fitting some heatsinks (such as the Super Orb), due to some capacitors near the Socket A. Apart from that, assembling a system around this motherboard is easy due to the good positioning of the floppy and IDE connectors. There is one jumper that needs to be set before use (the clear CMOS jumper), but apart from that configuration is done from within the BIOS, with SoftMenu III. This allows you to set the CPU bus speed, multiplier and voltage without having to remove the case and fiddle with jumpers - unless you overclock too far and find the system won't boot. Stability has been a problem for me, though - I've had several lockups (possibly caused by cheap RAM) and I'm still having problems with CRC errors on some CDs in the drives connected to the 686b's IDE channels: these CDs copy perfectly across the network, so I blame the chipset. It's a shame that you have to install VIA's drivers (4-in-1s) on anything apart from Windows XP to get a (more-or-less) stable system, but the online community is helpful when problems are found. Finally, Abit issue frequent BIOS updates, which have helped a lot with stability problems. The manual is also very good for a motherboard manual, with lots of in depth information. A good board, but possibly avoid it if you're new to building your own computer.
This motherboard is excellent for everybody, whether you are just going to have a "normal" system or you are going to go the whole hog and overclock you system to the hilt. Like everything you get what you pay for, and this even though expenese (around £125 max) it is still a good board because of all the extra feature you do/do not get. On this version of the board you get RAID functionality, which means you could have upto 8 IDE devices plugged into this mobo. For performance you could have 30 identical Hard drives plugged in and raid to gain extra performace or increase data intergrity, by using the RAID in its different modes (0,1, or 0 + 1 - for full details see abit website) It offers an ISA slot, even though these are out of date, some of us older users have ISA cards we want to keep. Alot of the other feature are standard - but we are paying for quality. Abit have a good repretation and it seam to me they are keeping it. I myself used to have an ASUS A7M266 mobo, after I send that back due to having problem my first choice was Abit. Even though it does not support DDR memory, it is still a good buy. SD-RAM is so cheap now the fact it does take DDR doesn't really matter, just drop 1Gb of SD in your system. My main point is before you spend you hard earn cash (whether by doing a hard paid job, or your parent giving it to you) research you choices. Don't just buy the cheapest, it does not all ways turn out to be the best choice in the long run!!!