Articles: Mainboards

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This mainboard follows the tradition of most (if not all) ABIT mainboards in using BIOS from Phoenix/Award. There is nothing extraordinary about the BIOS, but let’s dwell on a couple of details anyway. Firstly, let’s go to the SoftMenu III section, which is responsible for overclocking functions in modern ABIT mainboards. The voltage sent to the CPU may vary from 1.1V to 2.325V – quite enough for any manipulations with the CPU, considering the maximum nominal voltage of modern AMD processors being only 1.65V. The memory voltage doesn’t spoil the picture: the range is 2.55V-3.25V. This is more than enough also, as the memory nominal equals 2.5V (or 2.8V for super-overclocking memory). Note that the memory in ABIT KD7-S is always powered a little bit above the nominal. Moreover, the default value is 2.65V. I don’t quite understand the reason for the increased voltage – they must have wanted to ensure stable memory operation this way. As for AGP voltage, the ABIT mainboard doesn’t allow adjusting it for some reason.

The DRAM Timing Control section contains numerous memory-timing options. I’d rather say they are too numerous: I met half of them for the first time. Of course, I didn’t know what their change was going to lead to. Still, if you are not sure about the meaning of this or that parameter, just let it be. Memory-setting gurus will have a grand time here, I guess.

The PC Health Status section informs you of two CPU temperatures: one is taken from the external thermal diode (CPU Surface Temperature) and the second one - from the thermal diode integrated into the core (CPU Core Temperature). There has been a lot of argument about the measurement error of the external sensor, now you can see it yourself. As far as I could notice, the biggest difference between the two temperatures was about 15oC.

One thing I have to complain about here, is just the same as what we saw by MSI mainboard, reviewed earlier): it is the memory frequency indication. The DRAM Timing Control also keeps the memory clock-rate settings, and it shows the “base” frequency for a given interval rather than the real bus frequency. That is, if you set 180MHz memory, you will see just 166MHz in BIOS and at startup. That’s even more strange as all ABIT mainboards I’ve ever encountered showed the FSB and memory frequency in the normal way. Maybe the reason for that is the presale nature of the BIOS; the ABIT website even had no BIOS for the KT400A-based mainboard available for download.

We leave ABIT KD7-S for now to return to it (and others) later, in the “Overclocking” section. The next mainboard we are going to take a closer look at is quite a curious one.

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