Abit AT7-MAX2 Motherboard Review
Former staff writer - January 14, 2003
Floppy (raid drivers)
USB 2.0 redirect ports
IDE to Serial ATA converter
Nylon Ties and Clamps
(2) ATA 133 IDE Cables
(1) Serial ATA Cable
(1) Floppy Cable
On this motherboard you will find a total of four 184-pin DIMM sockets that supports DDR 200/266/333/400. You may use all four slots for DDR 200 & 266 and you can install a maximum of 3.5Gb of registered memory and 3Gb of un-registered
memory. You may only use two DIMM slots if you choose to use DDR 333 or 400 for a maximum of 2Gb of memory.
The two IDE controllers support ATA 66/100/133 devices.
This board has a Marvel 88i8030 Controller x 2 to support SATA data transfer rates of 150 MB/s. SATA is a brand new technology and it's hard to located hard drives that support SATA. Right now, SATA on this motherboard won't do you much good
but when SATA support hard drives hit the market, you'll be ready for them. Abit did include a IDE to SATA converter for your existing hard drives. However, you will not get 150 MB/s transfer rate since
the hard drive is limited by older technology (ATA 100).
As always Abit chooses HighPoint Technologies to control the onboard RAID functions. The HighPoint HPT374 chip is capable of controlling four-channel Ultra DMA/ATA133 devices, which is 8 Ultra DMA/ATA 133 disk devices, with a PCI burst transfer rate up to 133MB/Sec.
Among other features it supports; RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0/1, JBOD (Span), hotswap, and bootable disks.
The VIA VT8235 chip makes intergraded USB 2.0 possible on this motherboard. USB 2.0 is the newer and much faster USB standard which is what all USB devices will soon
support. However, you need not to worry about buying USB 2 devices because USB2 is backwards compatible, which means it can run USB 1.0 devices (older USB devices).
The AGP port on this motherboard is version 3.0 which supports up to 8X video cards with up to 2.1GB/s of bandwidth. This insures that the AGP port isn't the bottleneck for
future high performance graphics cards. This AGP slot also has a locking mechanism to keep your AGP video card from coming out of the slot. This is great for people that
frequently attend LAN parties or for anyone that moves their computer around often for that matter.
The CPU layout is like other Abit motherboards I have had, and it seems to work fairly well. There isn't a compasiter in the way of the heatsink installation, which is good. However, I wish they would flip the socket around 90 degrees so that heatsink installation would be
This motherboard has a P4 style power connector. Not all power supplies will have a wire to fit this, if yours doesn't, don't worry as connecting it is optional.
This extra connector helps to balance the wattage on your power supply and it can help a lot if you have tons of case fans or you are overclocking your system. Bottom line is if your power supply has the connector, plug it in.
Now, lets have a look at the butt of this motherboard. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw all of the USB ports! What you see, is only the start of them too! There is two USB ports on the motherboard so that you can run a two more redirect USB ports to the back of your computer.
Abit couldn't have put this many USB ports on a motherboard at any better time. I think in 2003 we'll see a lot of people switching to USB from LPT, Serial, and PS/2. Another technology we will see grow even more is firewire or sometimes referred to as IEEE 1394. Abit has
accommodated this board with two firewire ports to support any firewire devices that you may have. Unfortunately, I don't have any firewire devices so I can't take advantage of these ports.
As I have already said, Abit has brought the PS/2 ports back with the Max 2 series motherboard because the demand for PS/2 was so high. I was ready to give up my PS/2 keyboard, but then they brought the PS/2 ports back from the dead. On the back of the motherboard you will also find
a 10/100 Mbps ethernet port. I really can't understand why Abit didn't make this port support 1000 mbps, maybe they felt the demand isn't high? I still think they should of made it support gigabit, because it wouldn't have cost much more to make the board for such a seaming less feature.
This motherboard has an onboard Realtek ALC650 sound chip. This chip allows 5.1 surround sound and it also has AC3 support. This sound chip is very decent to say the least, but nothing compares to a Sound Blaster Audigy sound card.
The black square looking port is the 24-bit SPDIF out. There is also a mic and a headphones jack which are good for lan parties.