Motherboard: Abit AT7 MAX Review :: Installation

05-02-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock

The layout other than the floppy connecter is first rate. There are tabs on all the on-board jumpers that make for easy removal and ease of use although I never needed to touch them to get the board going as the board is based on a jumper-less design. This means the jumpers are there to disable some of the on-board features bit they do not have to be altered for general setup. I like the way they designed the battery placement also.

Once again we see the usual video card blocking the memory that is just a design flaw due to the fact that only six PCI slot boards should have a problem in this area. The AT7 could easily be designed to avoid this and it was ignored or overlooked by their engineers.

This is where the AT7 becomes a little difficult to work with, as the motherboard is very picky about what memory components are used with it. The specs claim the AT7 can use DDR2100-2700 but I was never able to get the board going until I used PC2700. All other attempts with lower frequency memory resulted in a non-post or Page Fault Error when attempting to enter the Windows environment.

Once I used my Crucial PC27000 the board posted and I was able to finish the setup and Windows XP installation without error. I tried various brands and memory types due the fact that many sites have released reviews claiming to use PC2100 and posting scores that were a little hard to believe much less prove to be valid.

In an effort to recreate the test environment of other sites I tried many alternate parts and drivers. I was not able to accomplish this or prove the test scores via www.madonion.com for the 3D tests, so I have to say I think some sites, and for political reasons I will not give names are dishonest with their publications. Every site should publish their actual results and not just graphs claiming to be accurate.

All the custom motherboard settings can be done within the Award BIOS by ABIT's patented SOFT MENU III technology that is very user oriented and offers the user the ability to fine-tune their system. Overclockers are very familiar with this feature as it makes tailoring the environment to push the CPU and FSB to its maximum capabilities much easier.

The AT7 was stable to 142MHz using basic air-cooling with adjustments to the V-core and memory voltage within the SOFT MENU III. I was able to run the system at 1800MHz instead of the factory setting of 1667Mhz, which is getting modest but stable results. With the right memory such as Crucial PC2700 the AT7 is a very straightforward board that offers little resistance to the user. I would not recommend this motherboard to a first time user as this is a very advanced product that can only be fully taken advantage of by someone with experience in working in the BIOS.