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Gigabyte 7ZM KT133 Motherboard Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Good and Bad

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The physical layout of the board is a pretty standard micro-ATX one. There are 3 DIMM slots and the ATX power connector is directly behind them. While this should cause a dramatic problem, having the power cord so close to the memory slots could make it a hassle to install additional memory once the system has been assembled. Each DIMM slot can contain PC100 or PC133 compatible RAM. Using the now conformed 4:3 ratio switch in the BIOS, changing your memory bus to 133 MHz instead of the standard 100 MHz is simple.

There are two IDE ports, both of which are ATA66 compatible, and the primary chain is coded blue for ease during installation. On the opposite side of the motherboard lies the on-board audio and the expansion ports. The 7ZM includes 3 PCI slots, one of which is a shared slots with an AMR slot. One AGP slot is included on the board, and it is a universal slot, not keyed for 4x AGP cards. A note on the AGP port is the addition of the retention clip. Using this clip you can prevent the common “pop-out” of AGP video cards. There was one complaint from the techs here though: the retention clip makes the bottom snap-in part of the memory modules difficult to push in. You have to move the retention clip out of the way before you can fit your fingers under the memory clips.

Also on the Gigabyte board you can see the North and South Bridge of the KT133 chipset. As per standard, the North Bridge has an included heatsink, and the South Bridge is left bare. The new 8373 chipset is identical to the older 8371 from the KX133 days, except for some timing to support the Socket A chips Thunderbirds an Durons. The 686A is the exact South Bridge used on the KX133 chipset motherboards, and is responsible for PCI bus maintenance, hardware monitoring, as well as other features, all rolled up into a single chip.

Overclocker’s of the world may just want to stay away from this motherboard. The only option you have for overclocking the socket A processors is Front-Side Bus modification. The voltage is auto-detected and not modifiable. The FSB of the motherboard can however be modified, but only via dipswitches on the PDB of the motherboard. This makes the guess-and-check method of overclocking a pain to do, since you have to get inside the computer and change tiny switches with every modification you make to the bus speed.

There is not much included in the Gigabyte retail box. You get their manual, which is not the most informative for non-technical first time installers. They do however go into detail on the BIOS settings and options available to the user. You get one CD with Norton Antivirus and Utilities 2000, and a single IDE cable and a single floppy cable.

Now lets put the Gigabyte 7ZM motherboard to the real test, the benchmarks.