The board came in a nicely designed blue, black and white box. Inside the box there was a detailed User's Manual, two IDE cables, one floppy cable, a driver CD, driver diskette for the High Point HPT372 IDE controller and a gameport expansion header. Abit also included three little goodies on the driver CD. These were Adobe Acrobat Reader, Norton AntiVirus 2002 and an Abit Hardware Monitor. These proved quite useful, especially Norton Antivirus which you would otherwise have to pay quite a bit of money for.
The first interesting feature I noticed on the BD7-RAID was the fact that Abit included a handy little power/reset switch and a two-digit LED readout onboard! The power and reset switches are sure to come in handy for me as I often benchmark hardware on a test bench without a case. The two-digit LED readout is very handy as well. If there is a boot problem, the LED readout displays a hexadecimal code that enables you to easily troubleshoot the problem.
The BD7-RAID features a slot layout of one AGP, six PCI, one CNR and two DDR DIMM slots. One complaint I have about this is that fact that there are only two DDR DIMM slots. With memory quite cheap at the moment, this could prove to be an annoyance for many of you. However, this downfall is made up for by the nice inclusion of six PCI slots, which should be enough to house all of the PCI cards you may have. Another thing to note is that the BD7-RAID features an AGP retention mechanism. This ensures that your AGP card will not come loose whilst transporting your PC (e.g. to LAN parties, etc).
Another great feature that the BD7-RAID touts is ATA133 support through a High Point HPT372 controller. It looks like this is going to be a standard feature on all of Abit's future motherboards, as it was also included on their KR7A-RAID board (review here). Not many ATA133 hard drives have hit retail channels yet, but they should appear in the very near future.
Abit have smartly placed their regular IDE and floppy connectors parallel to the DIMM slots, and the RAID connectors to the far right of the PCI slots. This allows for easy drive installation after the motherboard has been installed into the case. The ATX power connector is also well placed, next to the IDE and floppy connectors, making sure that the power cable doesn't run over the heatsink/fan unit. As you can see in the image below, the Socket478 is very small, being slightly larger than an Australian 20 cent piece. Another thing to note is that there is plenty of room around the CPU socket for any large exotic heatsinks you may have.
The Northbridge is cooled by a silver heatsink, which is quite unusual of Abit as they usually have an active cooler on the Northbridge of most of their motherboards. I guess it ran cool enough as it is and I'm sure most of you can do without the added noise.
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