Abit KT7-RAID KT133 Motherboard Review
Overclocking and RAID
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Let’s take a quick look into the BIOS now. Probably the highest selling point of the Abit KT7 series of motherboards is their SoftMenu options. It allows for adjustment of the FSB, voltage and multiplier of unlocked processors in the BIOS menus. If you own an unlocked Athlon or Duron processor (or have modified it to be unlocked yourself) then you can enjoy the luxury of overclocking your system without ever opening the case of your system, straight from the BIOS menu. In our test system, we took the Athlon 900 MHz processor up to 1050 MHz, without anything extra in the cooling department. Not a bad increase considering you not paying a dime and all you have to do is press some keys on your keyboard.
(Click for Larger Image [Chipset Fan])
As per standard with Abit, they have included other mass overclocking options, such as a great selection of voltages and front-side bus. You can select anything from 100 MHz up to 183 MHz. While I don’t see anyone getting their CPU up to anything near 183 MHz FSB (but hey, you never know), its good to know that if you can get 111 MHz to work, but not 112 MHz, you can keep it their and run your system and its top speed.
The BIOS reveals yet another key selling point of the KT7-RAID motherboard: the RAID option. Actually in a separate BIOS menu (accessed by pressing CTRL-H during POST) the High Point HPT370 chipset adds some added performance and user options to the system. In general, with HPT370 controller, you have the option of having 8 total IDE devices connected to your motherboard on 4 IDE channels as opposed to the standard 4 devices on 2 channels. This, by itself, can add a lot of life to your system. Personally, I loved the feature, simply because I could not have 3 hard drives, 1 DVD-ROM, a ZIP drive and a CD burner in the system without a lot of hassle with an add-in IDE card.
What, there’s more? Yep. The whole ‘RAID’ feature. For those who are really in the dark, RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks (some misquote this as meaning Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks). There are three standard options when choosing RAID. RAID 0 is the striping of two hard drives. When two hard drives are striped, each is sent alternating lines of information, speeding up the read and write process of the hard drives. It does not exactly double the speed of the transfers, but the increase is noticeable in high-end applications. RAID 1 is referred to as mirroring. When you mirror two hard drives, the same data is sent to each hard drive, each time any data goes to either drive. This essentially makes a current backup of your data available at all time, in case of a crash or dead hard drive. Finally, there is RAID 0+1, which mirrored stripping and requires the use of four (4) hard drives. This options copies alternating lines of information to TWO hard drives. Creating a fast yet reliable array of hard drives. Keep in mind that this is also expensive to buy 4 hard drives. :)
The HPT370 controller also allows for hard drive spanning which allows you to configure 2 or more hard drives as a single drive (at least to any OS that runs on your system). For example, if you have a 10GB hard drive and an extra 8.4GB hard drive, you can span them on the HPT370 and create a single 18.4GB hard drive. However, if one of the hard drives dies, you’ll quickly notice that all the data will probably be lost.
Well, with all these features, do we even need to see the benchmarks? Well of course, if the Abit KT7-RAID had all these features, but performed 50% less than the others, that would certainly raise a question or two, wouldn’t it? With that, we move onto the test system specs and the various benchmarks that you are used to seeing here at Athlonmb.com.