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8-Way nVidia nForce 2 Motherboard Roundup

By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 3, 2003 4:00 am

Features of the ABIT NF7-S


Board and Layout



ABIT has been one of the biggest players in the overclocking field in the past, and again, ABIT moves in on the nVidia nForce2 front.


Featuring a full 305 x 230 mm brown PCB, the NF7-S looks just like any other standard nForce2 motherboard. On the expansion side, the board comes with one AGP slot supporting rev 3.0 specifications. Five PCI slots are included to add extra devices for your expansion needs. Like the Shuttle board, a large gap between the AGP slot and the first PCI slot is present serving as a savoir for PCI slot 1 which would sometimes otherwise go missing with video cards with large coolers.


Layout wise, ABIT are normally known for for reasonably good layouts on their motherboards, however, their NF7-S leaves little to be desired. First off the placement of the IDE connectors are located toward the bottom right of the board which means that longer IDE cables will be needed to reach the upper part of some tower cases. The ABIT NF7-S is one of the few boards that use the 12Vaux connector along with the 20pin connector. These have been placed between the north bridge heatsink and the back panel I/O ports.


Chipset and Memory



ABIT's nForce2 flagship comes equipped with the nForce2 SPP north bridge on pre- rev 1.0 and SPP-400 on later revisions. It supports DDR-400 Dual Channel DDR SDRAM and AGP 8x. In order to get the best bang for your buck, the MCP-T is added for the ultimate experience. This gives us the AC-3 APU, Firewire and Dual Ethernet. For a nice touch, the north bridge is covered with an Orb like cooler to keep the nForce2 SPP cool when overclocking to the extremes.





ABIT doesn't leave too much to chance. While the nForce2 doesn't support native Serial ATA, ABIT has added the Silicon Image SATAlink RAID controller. Two ports are located towards the bottom of right of the board for easy access.


Network and Firewire



Thanks to the MCP-T south bridge, the ABIT NF7-S comes with a few extra onboard features. While the MCP-T does support two LAN ports by default, only one of them is used. The nForce 10/100 MAC is used with the Realtek RTL8001BL PHY to give a single nVidia 10/100 Ethernet controller onboard.



Next in line is the Firewire controller. The Realtek RTL8801 PHY controller is integrated to the motherboard to give two Firewire ports for serial operations. This gives the full amount of connectivity you will need on any single motherboard.


Overclocking - Softmenu is here


In the past ABIT have been known for their overclocking prowess, and this is something ABIT has attempted to continue with their NF7-S.


ABIT's well known Softmenu overclocking system is present with all your usual features. FSB adjustments from 100MHz up to 250MHz in 1MHz increments are available allowing for the maximum to be squeezed out of the CPU.


If you have an unlocked Athlon, you can also adjust the multiplier from 8x up to 20x. CPU core voltage can be adjusted from 1.5v up to 1.9v in 0.025v increments. DRAM voltage is adjustable from 2.5v up to 2.8v in 0.1v increments. Memory dividers are also selectable from this menu overall giving ABIT an overclocking package which will make most enthusiasts happy.


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