Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Review :: Installation and Packaging

10-18-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Niso Levitas

    Package Contents:
  • Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Motherboard
  • 4 Port USB Bracket (*)
  • 3 Port IEEE 1394 Bracket (*)
  • SPDIF Bracket and connection cable
  • I/O Shield (Backplane)
  • 1 x FDD cable
  • 3 x ATA 133 cable
  • User's Manual
  • Easy Installation Guide
  • Promise RAID Manual
  • Driver and Software CD
  • Board Layout Sticker
  • Gigabyte Sticker

Let's start with the BIOS settings. There was a very detailed configuration menu in BIOS for performance settings. You may start with the frequency menu. You can change the bus frequency from 100 MHz to 166 MHz by 1 MHz steppings. You can increase the voltage up to 10% more than Standard CPU Voltage.

When you increase the frequency to overclock, you need more power for your memory and AGP slot. It is possible to pump them additional 0.1 - 0.2 or 0.3V of current by AGP and DIMM Over voltage control settings in the BIOS. These are not like the killer settings with 0.025V steppings or adjustable AGP/Memory/BUS ratio but it helps.

The Easy Tune utility makes it possible to overclock right away without booting up and getting in to BIOS. Easy Tune version 3.0 is the well working release. Version 4 trial version looks really cool. But we cannot say that it is stable yet.

CPU burning is not an issue for Intel CPU's, because protection is native in the CPU. But I cannot say the same thing for AMD. Motherboard supports details to prevent AMD CPU to burn by fan failure or loose heatsink. It doesn't guarantee it but at least puts some effort.

The board design was completely jumperless. If your BIOS version is new, boot it up. That's it. Hardware installation of the motherboard was not so hard either. But there were ergonomic issues. The IDE and Floppy connector locations and other connector locations on the motherboard were designed properly to maintain airflow inside the case and make maintenance easier. Only the power supply connector place was not quite right. It is good to see that The AGP Card, when installed, is not blocking memory slots.

The AGP Card locking mechanism was the best kind. You don't have to pull the locking peg to install the card, but the card cannot slide off until you pull the peg. The onboard audio connectors were under the AGP slot which is not a very good place.

The thing I most like on quality motherboards is the film they placed around the CPU Socket. When you try to install the heatsink and fan its possible to damage the board. The metal clip sometimes hits the board hard no matter how careful you are.

Gigabyte motherboard corners have been rounded for some time. I don't know the purpose. May be it is rounded to prevent cracking the motherboard, if you hit it somewhere inside the case, when you are installing. May be to prevent cutting your hands, or just for the look of it.

You can find a lot of nice utilities along with valuable Norton Antivirus 2002 and Norton Personal Firewall 2002 (Norton Internet Security package) in the driver CD. Live BIOS or @BIOS update feature is very handy. For a DOS Flash BIOS update, you have to boot the system without TSR or settings to update the BIOS. But if your system is updating BIOS inside your OS, you don't need to know anything about it at all. Especially if that DOS Utility on their site may corrupt your BIOS, it is better to use this one.

Some of the motherboard manufacturers have utilities that allow you to add logos to BIOS boot screen. The face wizard utility is the easiest one I have ever seen. You can add 640x480 256 colors of a bitmap file you created before. It leads you step by step in Windows. You can add it directly to BIOS or a BIOS image file on your disk to flash it later. Or you can create many BIOS's with different logos for your taste. It is possible to preview before flashing. It looks better in DOS mode than Windows.

When you buy a system, years will pass by. And most of the times, you will loose your manual and it is not easy to connect to internet at hard times. When you open the cover and see a board layout sticker you will feel good. It makes installation and maintenance easier.

This is the richest package I have seen to date.