- The Chipset
The ABIT TH7 RAID motherboard is controlled by the Intel 850 Northbridge chipset which is the first chipset available for the Intel Pentium 4 processor. Using Direct RAMBUS, this new chipset allows for a stunning 3.2GB/s between the CPU and MCH. The chipset has all the now standard features such as ATA100, AGP4x (restricted to 1.5v) as well as support for PC600 and PC800 RDRAM up to a maximum of 2GB. doesn't this chipset remind you of the Intel Pentium III in more ways than one?
The Intel 850 chipset on the ABIT TH7 RAID motherboard is cooled with the reference Intel heatsink which the majority of Pentium 4 motherboards use, here is a picture...
- Modified Retention Mechanism
ABIT have chosen to use a modified retention mechanism to lock the heatsink down on the Intel Pentium 4 processor. Like I said in the introduction, ABIT are fully prepared to adopt changes like this and I feel it's for the better in many cases. I feel the modified retention mechanism is much easier to use than Intel's reference retention mechanism which other motherboard manufactures have chosen to use, good job ABIT.
- High Point HPT370
Native ATA100 IDE RAID isn't supported by the Intel 850 chipset, but ABIT have built in a High Point HPT370 IDE controller which allows for RAID operations, thus the RAID part of the ABIT TH7 RAID motherboard name. During our testing of the ABIT TH7 RAID motherboard, we did find that the IDE1 (orange) was faulty and only detected HDD's at 8gb (and CDROM devices not at all) even after replacing the IDE cable. I'm told this problem will be fixed in an up-and-coming BIOS fix.