GIGABYTE 7VAXP-A ULTRA: PCB Design
The design of this mainboard is not free from some drawbacks. The ATX power connector is at the very front of the PCB, so the ATX cable goes next to the CPU and over the memory slots, which is no good. The memory slots, in their turn, sit too close to each other (although there are only three of them). So, if you install modules with heat-spreaders (for example, those from Corsair), they will be nearly touching each other. Again, it creates no good thermal environment.
That’s not all. Gigabyte 7VAXP-A Ultra has all four HDD connectors placed in a row. This means you will have a neat heap of cables to mess up with. If the mainboard is installed into a pretty small system case, the process of connecting/disconnecting IDE-devices may become quite an exciting occupation and bring you a lot of fun and joy. Curiously, the Gigabyte 7VRXP mainboard I have in my workstation exposes the same design flaws. Maybe the company considers them not flaws, but features?
GIGABYTE 7VAXP-A ULTRA: BIOS
The known peculiarity of BIOS’s from Gigabyte is you have to press Ctrl+F1 to access advanced options. So, I punch the keys and get to the Advanced Chipset Features page that allows adjusting memory timings and AGP settings. The options are numerous, although the AGP frequency setup is missing. Somehow this setting moved to the Advanced BIOS Features section, under the name of Flexible AGP 8x.
The next thing was waiting for me in the Frequency/Voltage Control section. Overall, it has the ordinary settings for FSB frequency, FSB/memory frequency ratio (memory goes under the name of its type) and voltages. Strangely enough, all voltages are given in Volts, while the CPU voltage is shown in percent. Moreover, the range is rather narrow – 5, 7.5 and 10%, which is not enough for serious overclocking. On the other hand, 10% voltage increase is considered safe, and Gigabyte must have followed this rule.
That’s all about the Gigabyte product. The last mainboard to be reviewed is Soltek SL-KT400A-L.