Review Index:

Abit KT7-RAID KT133 Motherboard Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Abit


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(Click for Larger Image [KT7-RAID Installed])

As usual, we’ll start by looking at the physical features of the motherboard. At first glance, you notice that there is a lot of ‘stuff’ on the motherboard, and it looks rather busy. Well, it does and it is. Being the first of the Socket A motherboards from Abit, they had to reconfigure the locations of the CPU socket and the needed capacitors, etc. The 462-pin CPU socket is at the very top of the motherboard as is the ATX power connector. While the location of the processor may not be very important in socket chips, the location of the capacitors does. Notice the four directly below the socket: they are the biggest gripe I had with this motherboard. They are too close to the socket and cause some problems when trying to connect some of the larger heatsink/fans to it. The recently review Thermaltake Super Orb HSF is one such case. In order for it to fit without fear of shorting out the entire system the ‘fins’ of the heatsink need to be bent or sanded down to avoid contact with the capacitors. Most other orb fans have this problem as well, as do some of the GlobalWin and Alpha fans.

Moving down a little bit, you’ll notice the addition of a HSF that covers the KT133 North Bridge. This is the first time I have seen and motherboard come with this feature included out of the box. While some people would argue that including this fan isn’t really necessary and goes only into driving up the price of the board. I disagree, somewhat, in the fact that this motherboard will mainly go into the hardcore overclocker’s machines (you’ll see why soon) and these are the same people that want their systems to be and stable and cool as possible. The added price simply cannot be that severe.

Next up, we have the expansion slots on the motherboard. The AGP port is 4x, as per standard on the KT133 chipset motherboards. However, very few motherboard manufacturers have included 6 PCI slots as well as 1 ISA slot for those still lagging behind in the times with an ISA soundcard, etc. This gives the KT7 motherboards a 6/1/0/1 configuration. (PCI/ISA/AMR/AGP)

(Click for Larger Image [KT7-RAID Capacitors])

Finally, I am sure you noticed the 4 IDE ports located at the top right of the motherboard. What’s this? Well, if you were to look under the conspicuous ‘Abit KT7-RAID’ sticker, you would find the chip that controls two of those IDE channels, the High Point HPT370 chipset. This is an ATA100 IDE RAID controller. Now what does all that mean? The ATA100 adds support for the fastest new hard drives such as IBM’s Deskstar series. The RAID support may be something new to you. I’ll fully explain it a bit later in the review. For now, just know that it will allow you to add up to 4 more IDE devices to your system.

As per standard feature of the KT133 chipset, the Abit KT7-RAID motherboard supports VCSDRAM (Virtual Channel) and standard SDRAM in speeds of 100 or 133 MHz. It can use up to 1.5GB of memory, which is more than most people have in a standard desktop computer: at least for another year or so. :) Also, the Abit motherboard has support for four (4) USB ports, and they have included the cable in order to the motherboard expansion, which is rare for motherboard manufacturers.

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