- Expansion Configuration
Like its predecessor, the ABIT KT7A and KT7A RAID uses the same 1/6/1 (AGP/PCI/ISA) slot layout. This is another one of the few AMD K7 motherboards to use the ISA slot over the CNR or AMR slot, this a welcomed feature by most users. The ABIT KT7A series uses a standard AGP4x slot over the new AGP Pro slot. While very few video cards use this slot it would be nice to see it there when the cards come out using this slot (possibly some GF3 video cards).
- KT133A Chipset
At the heart of the KT7A series of motherboards is the VIA VT8363A (KT133A) Northbridge. The KT133A chipset is based on the original KT133 chipset, supporting AGP4x, PC133 memory support. The only major difference between the KT133 and KT133A is the KT133A's official 133MHz FSB support for the new AMD Athlon CPU's based on the 133/266 FSB. In the picture on the left we can see the KT133A Northbridge. In our review of the ASUS A7V133 we saw the KT133A Northbridge had a mirror circle in the center of the KT133A chipset. VIA stated to us that the mirror chip is the newest revision of the KT133A, the ones without the mirror are earlier revision of the KT133A chipset, so will this make a difference? The KT7A series uses the VIA 686B Southbridge to allow native ATA-100 support, 4 USB ports and AC-97 and ISA support.
- IDE Connectors
As we said before there are two KT7A motherboards, the plain KT7A and the KT7A RAID motherboard. The only difference between the two boards is the Highpoint HPT370 IDE RAID controller chipset inclusion. This chip was also used on the ABIT KT7 RAID and KA7-100 motherboards. ABIT put a small sticker on the chip itself so you know you have a genuine KT7A RAID motherboard. In the right hand picture we can see the IDE connector layout. The two blue IDE connectors belong to the VIA 686B Southbridge which support ATA-100, the two orange connectors belong to the HPT370 RAID controller, this layout is identical to the KT7 RAID and KA7-100 layout.
- Socket A Layout
Like the original KT7 motherboards, the KT7A's Socket A layout is rather crowded with capacitors a little too close to the socket. This presents problems when trying to install large heatsinks such as orb coolers or some of the larger Alpha coolers such as the PEP66T. Most of the other well known coolers such as the Global Win FOP38, Vantech super cooler fit perfectly on this board as does most water coolers so its still a very good boards despite this slight space problem.
- Overclocking Results
With the ABIT KT7A RAID we took out AMD Athlon 1.33G processor and backed down the multiplier to 7x to allow for the most possable overclock of the FSB. With this done we were able to get the board to 150MHz (300DDR) FSB with our memory set to CL3, The ABIT K7TA RAID board is very picky when it come to memeory timings.
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