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Digital-Daily : Motherboard Reviews : abit-an7

Abit AN7 (nVidia nForce II 400 Ultra) Review

Author: Aleksandr Mitrofanov
Date: 07.05.2004

Abit AN7
Chipset nVidia nForce II 400 Ultra
Processor Athlon XP 200/266/333/400MHz
Duron 200/266MHz
Memory PC1600/PC2100/PC2700/PC3200
HDD 2x UltraDMA/100
2x SerialATA
Additional 2 IEEE-1394
Audio AC'92 v2.2
6 USB 2.0
10100 Ethernet
Price: 120$

The era of the SocketA is coming to an end. The last processor (Athlon XP3200+) was released quite a long time ago, and the only reason these processors are mentioned is the scheduled price reduction announced in the news. Similar situation is on the motherboard market: a complete lack of novelties. Things might get improved through a release of new chipsets (VIA KT880 and nVidia nForce2+ MCP-S), but unfortunately no new products have appeared so far on the retail shelves. Therefore, to maintain interest to the fading platform, manufacturers are producing partly renewed versions of old motherboards. In particular, Abit AN7, Epox 8RDA3+ rev3.1 and Soltek FRN3(L) motherboards have hit the retail. The most interesting of them is the Abit board, which we'll be reviewing today.

In this review, the Abit AN7 board will be compared versus Abit NF7-S as one of the best motherboards (primarily, at overclocking) built on the nForce 2 chipset. Also, we'll give a special focus to the features of the mGuru chip which is the main distinctive feature of AN7 motherboard.

Abit AN7 Specifications

Abit AN7

Abit AN7
Processor - AMD Athlon/Athlon XP with the bus speeds 100/133/166/200 MHz;
- AMD Duron with the bus speed 100/133MHz;
- Socket 462;
Chipset - North Bridge nForce2 400 Ultra
- South Bridge - MCP-T;
- Interbridge Bus - HyperTransport (800 MB/s);
System memory - Three 184-pin slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM;
- Maximum memory capacity 3 GB;
- Supported memory types - PC2100/PC2700/PC3200;
- Dual-channel memory access;
- Onboard power indicator
Graphics - AGP slot supporting the 4x/8x modes
Expansion options - Five 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots;
- Six USB 2.0 ports (4 integrated +2 additional);
- Two IEEE1394 Firewire ports;
- Integrated audio AC'92 v2.3;
- 10/100 Ethernet LAN controller
Overclocking options - FSB adjustable within 100 to 300 MHz; multiplier adjustable;
- Processor/memory/chipset/AGP voltages adjustable.
Disk subsystem - 2 channels UltraDMA/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE (with support for up to 4 ATAPI-devices)
- Additional SerialATA/RAID controller (Silicon Image Sil3112 chip, 2 channels SerialATA, supporting RAID of 0 and 1 levels)
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
BIOS - 4MBit Flash ROM
- Award BIOS Phoenix with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features and Trend Chip Away Virus
- Abit FlashMenu
Miscellaneous - One FDD port, one serial and one serial ports, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
- Onboard power indicator;
- 7-stage POST indicator;
- STR (Suspend to RAM);
- SPDIF InOut;
- Additional mGuru chip
Power management - Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer and USB
- Standard 20-pin ATX (ATX-PW) power connector
Monitoring - Monitoring temperatures of the processor and system, voltages, rotational speeds of five(!) fans
- Abit FanEQ (enhanced version - support for the mGuru)
- Abit EQ monitoring utility (support for the mGuru)
Dimensions - ATX form factor, 244mm x 305mm (9.63" x 12")

Package

The board is packaged in a new-style box, where the focus is given to the mGuru chip image:


Abit AN7 Box

Package bundle

  • 1x Motherboard;
  • 1x software & drivers CD;
  • One ATA-100 cable and one FDD cable;
  • 2x SerialATA cables + a power adapter (2 connectors);
  • User's Guide + Quick Setup Manual in English;
  • mGuru User's Manual;
  • 1x cap for the rear panel of the housing;
  • A jumpers layout sticker;
  • 1x SATA/RAID drivers floppy diskette.

The board's package bundle can't boast abundance of components, if offers only the most needed: cables, a cap, a driver CD (plus a separate RAIDE drivers diskette) and customary SerialATA cables with respective power adapter.

The bundled CD has a complete set of drivers, as well as a set of utilities to control the mGuru features. These are the system monitoring utility Abit EQ, the utility for overclocking from within Windows - OC Guru, the program for controlling the audio functions - Audio EQ, the program for controlling the fans - FanEQ, and finally the program for getting technical support - BlackBox.

A special focus is given to the documentation. The board comes bundled with 3 brochures: a very detailed user guide (the introduction is written in six languages, including Russian), a brief assembly guide and a booklet describing the mGuru features.

Content:

  • Specifications
  • Layout
  • Expansion options
  • BIOS, monitoring
  • Overclocking and stability
  • Performance and conclusions




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