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Of course, taking advantage of that potential requires the right equipment, and that starts with the motherboard. During the course of that test, we decided that the AN7 was interesting enough to deserve a look of its own. Wondering what caught our eye? Read on. Six-channel audio, USB 2. A few extra notables will make overclockers happy, such as the wide variety of bus dividers and the extremely large range in CPU voltage which tops out at 2.
Opening up the box, we have… two more boxes. The thinner box has the printed documentation, and there is actually a lot of it. Finally, we have a drivers CD, a drivers floppy for the RAID controller, and a sticker diagramming jumper locations on the board.
This last item is meant to be stuck inside the case as a handy reference. The second box has cables and lots of them. Most enthusiasts could wallpaper a room with their spare IDE cables. The layout of the board is fairly typical, but there are a few items that deserve special attention. For example, the floppy connector is in about the best place it can be, right next to the DIMM sockets.
To complement the excellent placement of the floppy connector, we have side-facing IDE connectors. There is another possible problem with active cooling on north bridge fans, which is that the manufacturer cancels out the benefits of active cooling by pairing the fan with a tiny heatsink. Next we have the analog audio ports. The two ports on the left are surround speaker outputs left and right and center and subwoofer outputs, while the other three are mic in, line in and front speaker outputs left and right.
To the right of these is a stack containing a single Firewire port and two USB 2. A nice troubleshooting tool is a dual-digit LED display on one corner of the board. As the system boots, the display flashes POST codes that correspond to each step in the boot process. If the board fails to boot, you can look the code up in the manual and hopefully get a handle on the problem.
For example, if the code indicates a problem with the RAM, it might lead you to the discovery that there are no DIMMs plugged into the board. At least one recent review has suggested that a dedicated processor for monitoring functions is A Good Idea. We have the standard RAM timings, but some of the other settings here the spread spectrum percentage settings and thermal throttling setting are much less common.
Front-side bus is adjustable from MHz in 1MHz increments. Multiplier control is available as well, provided your processor is unlocked. Word up. The CPU voltage is especially impressive, as it ranges from 1. This is an exceptionally high maximum CPU voltage, so overclockers with watercoolers or a Vapochill may find the AN7 very attractive. This, on the other hand…. Basically, you choose a low and high temperature and voltage. The system will run the fans at the minimum voltage until the low temperature is reached, at which point it will gradually ramp the fan voltage up until it reaches the maximum voltage at the high temperature.
The lower voltage really makes a difference on the noise level of the fans, and these settings offer a lot of granularity. At any rate, the three displays cycle between multiple data points.
For example, the temperature gauge on the right cycles between CPU temp and north bridge temp. Holy cow, did I say it was big before? Never mind. This larger display lets you look at more data points, obviously, at the expense of….
Well, you can. Click the right arrow on each section and it will change into a line graph. The monitor settings page lets you choose low and high limits for the various voltages, fan speeds and temperatures.
You can choose to shut down the system if any of these goes outside your set bounds. The display settings page allows you to select which items you would like to monitor on the main display window. As you can see, there are separate tabs for voltage, fan and temperature, as well as the ability to e-mail warnings or record problems to an error log.
The OCGuru program lets you change some overclocking settings from within Windows. You can also save your settings for easy retrieval later. In my experience, the OCGuru utility worked at least part of the time. Abit also provides a program to access the FanEQ settings.
You can choose from three different presets or adjust the individual settings yourself. There are separate tabs for the CPU and north bridge fans. As we noted earlier, you may also adjust these settings in the BIOS. There are no guarantees in overclocking. Our testing methods As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers.
Tests were run at least twice, and the results were averaged. Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Vertical refresh sync vsync was disabled for all tests.
The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them. Memory performance. The AN7 ties with the A7N8X in all the memory bandwidth tests, coming in slightly ahead on memory latency.
This is actually a good sign, as the A7N8X is a well-respected nForce2 board among enthusiasts. Things are very close in parallel ATA performance, with the AN7 having a slight edge in peak write speed.
The other tests are all basically tied. Neither board holds an advantage in the first round of gaming tests. Again, this is a good sign for the AN7; the A7N8X is a good board, and tying with it can hardly be considered a bad thing. For USB 2. The Firewire scores for reads, anyway absolutely trounce the USB 2. CPU utilization is much, much lower also. Both boards turn in very respectable throughput numbers, but as with the USB 2. Indeed, the motherboards that support the XP are better than ever, and the AN7 is an excellent example of the trend.
This is a critical flaw, and for this reason I will not buy any more Abit boards with uGuru. If uGuru can be improved to the caliber of MBM or equivalent, that would also solve the problem.
You have to buy the additional header for the extra 2 USB and 1 firewire port separately. Performance-wise I am pretty pleased with the board, the 0. Picked up an AN-7 about a month ago. The first thing to go was the nb cooler. I put a nice meaty passive heatsink there with no problems. What a piece! Damn thing was finicky as hell and screwed with all my voltages. Nice review. If I do another Socket A system before going A64, this board will be on my short list.
I actually have a couple of those chipset coolers the copper ones but I think they are originally made by Vantec. They don. A bit of a pain to have to buy more parts for a motherboard, but it has benefits quiet, reliable and I can reuse it hopefully. I normally hate fans on my north bridge but the one on this board has been rock solid so far at least.
Maybe they should use something like they did on this board. That chipset fan, yeah, bugs me too. Pity about the northbridge fan again. So many mainboards have a larger heatsink on the northbridge. A big heatsink or a ball bearing fan at least would be very nice as standard fare at this stage of the game, but that is apparently asking too much.
Looking forward to the new batch of nforce chips with integrated SATA and the boards built around that. I wonder if that will bring the HD cpu utilisation scores down? It would be a nice EOL salute to the venerable K7 core. Type search above and then hit Enter. We start with the box itself, which manages to be both slick-looking and understated at the same time. Software In addition to chipset and peripheral drivers, the CD Abit includes with the AN7 has a number of useful utilities.
Overclocking Our experiments with overclocking via multiplier control and standard bus speeds are well documented in our look at overclocking the Athlon XP-M.
Bus overclocking was a mixed bag, however, topping out at MHz.
Abit’s AN7 motherboard
With ABIT's brand being synonymous with the overclocking community everywhere in the world, it was much welcomed as the motherboard of choice especially in a competition where even a tiny 1MHz gained at the core or memory clock could mean an immediate lead in the contest. Though a lot of attention has shifted to AMD's current bit technology, a large part of users are still very comfortable with the Athlon XP in particular those based on the Barton core which comes with a KB L2 cache. As such, the Socket-A form factor will continue to live on until AMD decides to pull the plug on the aged K7 technology - which is still going pretty strong even by today's demanding compute intensive environment. We know this motherboard is nothing new, but we thought it would be good for the sake of the interest of those considering this board. Therefore, we picked out the ABIT AN7 and decided to have it featured in our reviews section today aren't you tired of all the new things you read today that you can't even buy?
Abit AN7 Manuals
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ABIT AN7 - motherboard - ATX - Socket A - nForce2 Ultra 400 Specs
ABIT AN7 Motherboard