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Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra - Retail VIA KT400A

By: Cameron Johnson | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: May 1, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 6.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

More Features of the GA-7VAXP-A Ultra


Ever Popular Serial ATA



While lacking the VT8237 Southbridge's Serial ATA controllers, Gigabyte isn't one to fall behind in the features department. For quite a while Gigabyte has been fitting Silicon Image Serial ATA controller chips to their boards. This chips allows for two Serial ATA ports to be used as either BASE mode (such as a standard hard disk controller) or as a RAID unit. In RAID mode you have the option for RAID mode 0 or 1.


GigaRAID, IDE too?



While a lot of motherboard manufacturers have been adding Serial ATA RAID onto their motherboards recently, a lot have forgotten about IDE RAID. Quite a lot of us still have IDE RAID systems in our PC's and without a controller onboard you have some problems. Gigabyte is prepared for those of us who have IDE RAID systems by adding the GigaRAID controller. This controller allows for up to four IDE devices in RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 0+1.


Firewire - Adding up the features



So far Gigabyte has added quite a number of features to its board, now it adds some more.


Firewire has become a rather well liked serial interface to rival that of the USB 2.0 specs. While being 80mbps slower than USB 2.0, Firewire is fully hardware controlled, which means the Firewire chip does most of the work itself rather than the CPU. VIA VT6306 controller chip has been used which allows for up to three Firewire ports, these are rear accessible with a three port Firewire bracket supplied by Gigabyte.


Realtek Ethernet



Despite the onboard Ethernet controller built into the Southbridge, Gigabyte isn't as happy with the performance of the CPU usage of the VIA Rhine 2 networking. Realtek RTL8100BL PCI Ethernet controller is included as a result. This chip is linked to the PCI bus and gives great performance compared to the VIA networking alternative.


BIOS and Overclocking


Gigabyte has been doing overclocking on its AMD boards pretty hardcore over the last three models. Using a standard Award BIOS, you will find the Frequency/Voltage Settings menu.


FSB settings are adjustable from 100MHz up to 250MHz in 1MHz increments. This allows for the maximum out of your CPU.


CPU core voltage can be adjusted from 1.3v up to 1.85v in 0.025v increments.


DRAM voltages can be changed from default to +0.3v. This allows for a maximum of 2.8v for the DRAM. Honestly up to 3.0v is more acceptable, 3.2v is the maximum you would want to go, it would be nice of Gigabyte to increase its voltage limits on their next boards.


AGP voltages can be adjusted from default to +0.3v like the DRAM. Since the AGP is sensitive to changes to voltage up to 0.3v above normal is well enough.


AGP/PCI dividers can be locked to 66/33MHz respectively to allow you to keep the AGP and PCI frequencies well within specifications.


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