Motherboard: Abit AT7-Max2 Review :: Setup and Overclocking

09-18-2003 · Category: Motherboards

By Tolemac

Not only is the AT7-Max2 a legacy free motherboard, it is also jumper free with the usual exception of the Clear CMOS jumper. This board was very easy to set-up straight out of the box, and aside from the AGP being too close to the DIMM slots, everything else about the board is laid out really well. The location of the connectors is nicely thought out, though the RAID connectors may give people with large tower cases some pause unless they have longer IDE cables. The system booted up first go, and Windows XP Pro installed without a hitch. I then installed all the needed drivers and flashed the BIOS to the latest version.

All board settings are changed in the BIOS and what a nice, easy to use BIOS it is. Within this Award BIOS, you can adjust most everything to suit your setup and overclocking needs. First up is the ever-popular SoftMenu III. For my money, I'd love to see all motherboard manufacturers utilize some version of this in their BIOS. Within the SoftMenu III, you can adjust the FSB from 100 to 250MHz; the CPU core voltage, or Vcore, from 1.1v to 2.325v; the memory voltage from 2.55v to 3.25v; the multiplier from x5 to x22.5, and the Ratio can be set to either 3:2:1, 4:2:1 or 5:2:1. This last adjustment is the only sticky point in the entire BIOS. The ratio setting of 5:2:1, or a 1/6th divider, does not work. I tried I don't know how many combinations of settings to get this to work, and it just won't. I had a fully frozen PC each time. Come to find out that the Via KT400 chipset does not support 1/6th dividers, and probably never will. And here I thought I was going to be able to do some seriously mad overclocking. Thankfully, this mobo overclocked very well at a 4:2:1 ratio. I took the XP2200+ up to an XP2600+ without it breaking a sweat, and with only a very minor voltage increase (1.60v to 1.65v) to insure stability.

As can be seen in these pics, the rest of the BIOS is loaded with adjustments that you can tweak to your hearts content. Besides the CPU settings, the DRAM adjustments are as complete as you could ask for, giving you full control of the memory. This is a huge plus especially when overclocking.