“ Supports 200/266 MHz Alpha EV6 bus for the AMD Athlon & Duron Processors; Chipset: VIA KT133A /VIA 686B; 2 Bus Master IDE Ports supporting UDMA 33/66/100 „
Good processor support, Good solid build quality, Nice array of interface slots, the ISA slot is an old but more than welcome sight on a new board, 200/266FSB compatability is also a good thing, Easy to use BIOS featuring easy overclocking support, 3 RAM slots is a welcome sight, as most of the boards I looked at when buying mine only had 2. Bad Points: Standard BIOS is somewhat limited, but a flash is no problem, and sharing the ISA with the 5th PCI slot is a little annoying if your computer is a bit full like mine is, but no big problem really. General Comments: The Abit KT7A KT133A is an all round good motherboard. Reliable, well built, and from a reasonably well known manufacturer. The price isn't as scary as it looks when you consider how much you're getting for your money. All things considered, this is a bit of a beast :)
I remember the good old days... you bought a motherboard, screwed it into a case, plugged in all your bits and pieces, flipped the switch, and bob's you're uncle... a new PC is up and running. Great stuff! Ahhh... if only it was still so easy! What we have here is a *real* double-edged sword... The Abit KT7A is a very nicely specced board, and packed full of tweakable features that make it something of an overclocker's holy grail.... and yet, at the same time, it's without a doubt one of the fussiest bits of kit I've ever built a system around! Nasty moment #1 came when I booted the board for the first time and nothing happened... people who've built a few systems will know exactly how bad this feels (especially when it's your own system!) ...turned out that the board is fussy about which of the 4 connectors you plug your CPU fan into; pick the wrong one, and the BIOS assumes you have a dead fan on the CPU and shuts down the board as a safeguard. Needless to say, there's nothing about this in the documentation (in fact, I've since discovered that this was only introduced in a recent BIOS update - many unhappy punters re-flashed their BIOS and suddenly discovered that their PCs wouldn't turn on any more due to this "new feature"!) Painful experience number 2 - getting the OS to work. The board is *extremely* sensitive about how you set up the operating system; only a completely clean installation of windows will do, followed by application of a suite of motherboard chipset drivers, and only then can you think about adding any other kind of drivers. Any deviation from this plan will leave you with an unbootable mess that you'll have to re-install from scratch. This means you have virtually no chance of getting an existing windows installation running on your new machine. Trust me, I tried.... ;-) Thirdly, there's a known issue with "soundblaster live" car
ds and early BIOS revisions on this board. Said "issue" manifests as random file corruption, and system crashes whenever you try to copy a large file from a CD-ROM. It's not something you notice at first - my system had happily been corrupting files for about 24 hours before I discovered this fact :-( ...fortunately a re-flashed BIOS and the very latest chipset drivers seem to have sorted things out... but even so, this seems like a pretty major problem to be occurring on an out-of-the-box configuration, and meant I was onto my 3rd re-installation of the operating system within 24 hours.... And, on top of all this hassle, there's the ongoing experience of tweaking your BIOS settings to get everything running *just* right... and this is a board with a *serious* amount of settings to tweak! Surprisingly, the "optimised" settings that Abit have built into the board are pretty hopeless, so if you want to get any kind of performance (and stability) out of the board, you need to be ready to do a lot fishing for information on the net. Fortunately, there's a very nice (unofficial) FAQ to be found at http://www.viahardware.com/faq/kt7/kt7faq.htmwith lots of pointers - it's an invaluable resource if you own (or are thinking of owning) one of these boards! So, sounds pretty bleak doesn't it? Well... I guess power comes at a price... and the price in the case is your sanity as you twiddle with the BIOS settings for days on end :-) ...don't get me wrong, if you're persistant, you will get very nice results out of this board - I'm now 4 days on from construction, and finally have a nice stable system that I'm very happy with. Abit's reputation for producing some of the most overclocker-friendly boards on the market is certainly well founded, and this kind of BIOS flexibility might come high on your wishlist... but be warned that working with this particular board *does* take a bit of researc
h, time and effort. This mobo is not for the faint-hearted!
After my Abit KT-7 Raid motherboard's Bios became corrupted, it was a long 4 week wait for a replacment. Imagine my surprise and delightment when Abit replaced it with their newer model, the "KT-7A Raid". The "A" designates the new Via chipset which supports the new Athlon chips with a 266mhz front side bus. As I'm considering replacing my current Athlon 900 with an Athlon 1.3ghz, this new motherboard is perfect. Before my mobo broke, I considered exchanging it and taking a loss, having to pay more money to get the newer board - so the faulty board was a godsend. Why is the KT-7A so good, and why should you consider it? Abit have made good boards for a long time, and have a great reputation for stability, quality and innovation. Where many board manufacturers simply copy each other, Abit leads. Abit were the first board manufacturer to install a heatsink and fan above the North Bridge, for example. They also rotated the bridge through 45 degrees to reduce the length of the connections and give greater performance. The Kt-7A Raid motherboard has a wide range of interfaces, ranging from AGPx4 for the latest graphics card, to PCI slots and even an old ISA slot which is great for old cards like Creative's "Soundblaster Vibra 16", which is still a useful budget sound card. Two standard IDE sockets are supplemented by a pair of high performance Raid sockets, running off a Highpoint 370 controller, which offer UDMA-100 functionality. For owners of fast hard drives this is great, enabling faster system performance. And for owners of 2 hard drives, you can install these as a RAID array (reduntant array of inexpensive devices) with either mirroring or stripe options. Raid gives incredible system performance and makes purchasing a second hard drive very worthwhile - especially now you can buy a good quality Seagate UDMA 100 / 20 GB hard drive for only £75 - that works out at £150 for Raid
which is great value! For people using their PC for intensive tasks, or even for 3D game players it's well worth looking at. The board is really well built, with a clean layout and solid feel. There are 3 power points for cooling fans, in addition to the built in North Bridge fan. Serial, parallel, 4 USB, PS2 keyboard and mouse sockets - everything's included. One of the best features is Abit's "soft menu) Bios - which is feature packed and lets you tweak just about anything on the board. Overclocking is very easy - I run my Athlon 900mhz at 1GHZ just by changing the Bios multiplier settings - without any hassle or problems. With all those cooling fans it never runs too hot... The unique selling point of the board is the Raid function, but combine that with the solid build quality, wide range of functionality and the option to use Pc-100 or the faster Pc-133 memory and you've got a great board which will see you good for several years to come. It's affordable too, around £130 for Raid and £90 for the Kt-7A non-raid version. Enjoy...