- Expansion Layout
ASUS again are using the same expansion layout that they used for the ASUS A7V. Using a 1/5/1 (AGP/PCI/CNR) layout this board has enough expansion for all your needs. ASUS again are using the AGP Pro slot on this board. The AGP Pro slot works the same was as a standard AGP 4x slot so all AGP 2x 4x card fit into this slot and work perfectly. The extra bays just add more voltage for video cards that require more voltage, ASUS's make a range of video cards that require this AGP Pro slot to operate. Once again other board that uses the rather useless CNR slot. CNR slots are rather useless to the power user as these slots use CPU cycles to run the devices.
- KT133A Chipset and Active Cooling
The ASUS A7V133 is powered by the new VIA KT133A AGPset. The VIA KT133A Northbridge is a new chipset from VIA using the same technology as the original KT133 chipset. The only major difference between the KT133 and KT133A is the official 133Mhz FSB support for the AMD Athlon CPU. Some people out there have asked us "why did VIA make the KT133A chipset when they have the KT266 chipset?" the main reason is that this chipset provides a cheaper alternative to DDR. The ASUS A7V133 has a small chipset HSF on the Northbridge chipset, this is very important as the KT133A chipset gets a bit warm at 133Mhz and beyond with just the plain passive heatsinks that are normally placed on KT133 chipsets. Paired with the VIA 686B Southbridge the ASUS A7V133 comes with native ATA-100 IDE support, 4 USB ports and all those goodies that come with the VIA chipsets.
- Promise PDC20265 IDE Controller
While having native ATA-100 support, ASUS have placed the Promise PDC20265 IDE controller chipset. This chipset provides ATA-100 IDE support and also ATA-100 RAID 0 support. A jumper is provided on the motherboard to either set the controller to RAID or ATA-100 mode. In the picture on the right we can see the 4 IDE connectors. The 2 connectors closest to the dipswitches slots belong to the VIA 686B Southbridge, the other 2 on the left hand side of the picture belong to the Promise controller.
- S7KVR Voltage Riser Module
Like the A7V, the A7V133 uses the same S7KVR voltage module. This riser card places all the voltage regulators and CPU capacitors well out of the way of the Socket A connector to allow large heatsinks to be placed on the CPU without interference. This results in better cooling for the motherboard as the heat generated by the regulators isn't dispursed through the main PCB.
- Jumpers and Switches
The ASUS A7V133 provides two ways to set your system up, Jumper free or Jumper modes. In jumper mode you set your FSB and CPU multiplier by dipswitches and CPU Vcore by jumpers. In Jumper mode you have very little control over the FSB selections, you get 100MHz, 110MHz, 115MHz and 133Mhz. In jumper free mode you can set your FSB, multiplier and Vcore in BIOS, in jumper free mode you can change the FSB in 1MHz increments. Vcore changes are from 1.1V up to 1.85v, looks as if AMD might be bringing out a new CPU with lower Vcore requirements.
For our overclocking tests we too our standard AMD Athlon 1.33G AXIA CPU and lowered the multiplier back down to 7x, this way we were guranteed that we were maxing out he FSB and memory rather than the CPU. With all said an done, we were able to get the FSB upto 150Mhz stable. the 150Mhz mark seems to be the sweet spot for KT133A Chipsets.