Motherboard: ASUS A7V8X Review :: The Board

12-03-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock

ASUS A7V8X
Board Revision1.0
BIOS Version11/07/2002 1009
Default Clock Speed (MHz)1666
North BridgeVIA VT8377
South BridgeVIA VT8235
Number of PCI slots6
Memory typeDDR200/266/333/400
Number of memory slots3
Maximum Memory (GB)3
Universal AGP support *N/A
AGP Pro SupportN/A
Number of Physical USB 1.1 ports **0
Number of Physical USB 2.0 ports **6
Active Cooling on ChipsetN/A
Adjustable AGP VoltageYes
Adjustable Memory voltageYes
Southbridge UDMA 133 SupportYes
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgePromise PDC20376 SATA 150 RAID
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureN/A
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmN/A
On-board SoundAC97 Avance Logic ALC650 6 Channels
On-board LANBroadcom BCM5702CKFB Gigabit Ethernet
* Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
** Not just pin headers onboard

The A7V8X is based around the VIA KT400/VT8235 chipsets, which has so far not impressed me in the slightest as it does not seem to really be any faster than its predecessor the KT333. AMD has recently released their new XP2800+ CPU and the motherboard supports this CPU as well as the rest of their Duron/Athlon line of CPUS for maximum CPU flexibility.

Memory support is pretty wide and you can use up to 3GB of PC2100-2400 DDR SDRAM via 3 DIMM slots, 2GB of PC2700 via 2 DIMM slots and 1GB of PC3200 via 1 DIMM slot. Only using PC2400 or below gives the user the availability of using all three DIMM slots together and this tends to be a bit confusing for the green PC enthusiast.

Sizing in at 12 in X 9.6 in (30.5 cm X 24.5 cm) the board is based on a modified ATX design and comes with its own rear I/O shield for compatibility and a proper fit into your PC enclosure. The modified shield is a replacement part for your existing one and should fit in most of the newer cases on the market that have this removable feature option.

Featuring an adjustable FSB and other BIOS options for successful overclocking the A7V8X is a true enthusiast's motherboard that offers enough key BIOS elements to make it a worthy contender for the top dog in the KT400 badlands. In the setup section of this review will discuss further these features and their abilities.

AGP8X (AGP 3.0) is the next generation VGA interface specification that enables enhanced graphics performance with high bandwidth speeds up to 2.12GB/s and is twice as fast as the AGP4X standard. This board supports the new AGP 8X interface and works well with both the ATI RADEON and NVIDIA GF-4 8X cards for an extensive selection of VGA solutions available to the user.

The AGP port has its own indicator light that comes on if you try using any incompatible VGA cards such as those of 3.3V variety. This board can only utilize 1.5V VGA cards so pack away that Voodoo 5500 you have been holding onto if you want to use this board as it only uses the latest tech.

The board comes equipped with six PCI slots to help with your inline expansions and you will notice that one is blue in color but don't freak out yet it is a standard 32-bit PCI slot that also doubles as a port for an ASUS proprietary wireless device. I have not actually seen the device in question as an option but it should be available somewhere soon.

For IDE support the board has a pair of standard ATA 33/33/100/133 connectors as well as one RAID ATA133 controller and dual Serial (SATA) ATA150 connectors to boot. The ATA133 RAID controller is angled for easy connectivity and supports both the RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays. There is also the antiqued 1.44 floppy connector that is mainly used for BIOS flashes.

On-board sound is much better nowadays than it was a few years back and most good solutions sound quite adequate for both music and gaming erasing the need for buying an add in card solution such as the high priced Creative solutions. The Realtek chip provides very satisfying sound and offers six channel digital or analog connectivity without sacrificing system performance.

Gigabit LAN is the next step in the evolution of our network environment and the A7V8X comes with support for this via its on-board Broadcom LAN adapter that comes as an option on selected boards. This is a great feature for someone wanting to run a Gigabit LAN but it also is backwards compatible and works with the 10/100 network configuration as well for maximum flexibility.

There are two available IEEE 1394 ports that connect via cable to a bracket that uses a PCI slot bay and six total USB 2.0 ports. Four USB 2.0 ports are located on the rear I/O and two additional are available by cable in the same manner as the IEEE 1394 ports. The board also has a smart card connector which is the main interface for most digital camera media currently in use. The IEEE 1394 is a common connection for digital camcorders and other external media devices.

Well that wraps up what the board has offer to feature hardware wise, This board has an abundance of on-board hardware options and there are a few support things ASUS has to offer as well such as online BIOS flashing via ASUS EZ-Flash, CPU C.O.P and others such as the ASUS post reporter and the Mylogo2 feature. Let us now move on to the setup/overclocking section of the review and see how user oriented the ASUS A7V8X really is, read on.

Package Contents

  • ASUS A7V8X Motherboard
  • Driver and Software CD
  • User's Manual
  • 2 Port USB 2.0/ game port module
  • 2 port IEEE 1394 module
  • 1 X FDD cable
  • 2 x ATA 66/100/133 cable
  • 2 X Serial ATA cable
  • 2 X IEEE 1394 cable
  • I/O Shield