Features of the SI7-G
Package and Layout
ABIT's packaging now, like the past, has been simple yet eye catching. Using a blue, white and black package for its Intel motherboard identification package is ABIT's new design, where red is for AMD Athlon XP motherboards. Inside the package, ABIT doesn't disappoint.
First you have your board, User Manual, Driver CD, Black IDE cables, two Serial ATA Cables, Serillel Adapter, Power Splitter Cable, Floppy Drivers for Windows XP installation of Serial ATA controller and 32bit CRIMM module.
Board, Layout and Gripes
The SI7G is a very large ATX motherboard that requires plenty of space within the case to accommodate this baby with comfort. ABIT has more or less followed SIS's reference design that requires the components to be separated from the Northbridge to keep good clear signals to the RDRAM channels.
Expansion wise, ABIT uses a single AGP slot that supports AGP 8x and 4x cards only, no AGP 2x cards on this board. Five PCI slots are included for sound systems, extra RAID controllers and any other PCI devices that you will want to put onto the board. Since this board has most of the major features built in, you don't need the full six PCI slots as usual.
One major surprise is the orientation of the CPU socket. We have seen chipsets being placed on a 45 degree angle, but the CPU socket itself? This is a first. SiS specifies the CPU socket to be rotated in order to reduce signal trace wires and improve integrity, especially when overclocking. While being angled, we found no problems mounting heatsinks or water blocks to the board; no heat increase was indicated either, so no major problems what-so-ever.
Normally we see for RDRAM boards at least four RIMM sockets. ABIT has decided to reduce the number of RIMM sockets needed by using the new 32bit RIMM sockets. Normal RIMM sockets count 186 pins; the new 32bit socket uses 232. This basically puts two RIMM's together and reduces the amount of RIMM modules you will need. The board supports up to 2GB PC1200 RDRAM.
Location of the power connectors has been pretty well thought out. ABIT has placed the 20 pin ATX Connector behind the two RIMM sockets. This keeps the cables away from the CPU socket and thus the heatsink is unobstructed. Unfortunately the 4 pin connector is placed between the CPU and the I/O panel, requiring the 4 pin wires to drape around the heatsink. This can reduce cooling, and is something we would like to see changed, as a lot of manufacturers do this to same money.