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Abit KG7-RAID Motherboard Review

Former staff writer    -   

Closer Look:

-The Board

Overall the board has a very nice layout, supporting a regular AGP slot, 6 PCI slots, 4 memory banks, and on-board raid. Thankfully there is no AMR/CNR slot, I think companies have realized that those are a complete waste.

One of the most talked about things of the KG7-RAID is the four memory slots avaliable. On most DDR board you will find 2 and sometimes 3 memory banks, and yet on the KG7-RAID you get four. The everyday user won't get much use out of the extra memory bank, however hardcore gamers and power users will. The 184-pin DIMM sockets support up to 4 GB of PC1600/PC2100 DDR SDRAM modules.

You can install 4 sticks of registered DDR ram, or 2 sticks of unregistered DDR ram. So if you want to install 4 sticks of ram, make sure you buy registered ram. Also, stick with the same brand name if your going to install four sticks of memory. I highly recommend Kingston or Crucial DDR memory.

The KG7-RAID comes with, yeah you guessed it, a RAID controller. What is RAID? Well, RAID stands for redundant array of independent disks and is a way of storing the same data in different places (thus, redundantly) on multiple hard disks. A RAID appears to the operating system to be a single logical hard disk. There are alot of different RAID configurations, I will only cover the most popular.

  • RAID-0. This technique has striping but no redundancy of data. It offers the best performance but no fault-tolerance

  • RAID-1. This type is also known as disk mirroring and consists of at least two drives that duplicate the storage of data. There is no striping. Read performance is improved since either disk can be read at the same time. Write performance is the same as for single disk storage. RAID-1 provides the best performance and the best fault-tolerance in a multi-user system.

    The RAID on the KG7-RAID motherboard is powered by the HighPoint HPT370 chip. This supports the RAID level 0, 1 and 1/0 - thus Striping, Mirroring and both together. A nice side effect results from the Onboard IDE RAID solution: Altogether eight IDE devices can be attached (IDE and IDE RAID collected).

    -The Bios

    Just saying "SoftMenu III" makes me grin :) I don't know where to start, there are so MANY great features in the SoftMenu III bios.

    This is the first section of the bios. In this section you will find CPU multiplier, FSB setting, the new FSB CPU:SDRAM:PCI rate feature, Speed error hold, Vcore voltage, I/O voltage and finally the DDR memory voltage. The FSB rate allows you to change the memory and PCI bus speeds, and allows you to change one and not the other. Let me give you an example. Let's say I set my FSB to 133Mhz and use a 4:4:1 setting. The CPU will run at 132Mhz why? Because 33x4= 132Mhz, the memory would run at 132mhz also, and PCI bus would run at 33mhz because 33x1= 33mhz :)

    I really love this feature, because I was always afraid to set my FSB to high, because it would also set the PCI bus high, therefore running all your other peripherals at a high bus speed. That could damage your hardware, make your system unstable, ect.. but with this FSB rate feature you can make it so that your PCI bus stay's at a low bus speed while running your CPU and memory at a higher FSB.

    One more thing in this section that I'd like to say, is that Abit has addded a feature so that you can change the voltage of your DDR memory. This is great when you are overclocking, because the more your overclock the more the power it needs :) That's where this voltage feature comes in.

    The Advance chipset section of the bios.. is not all that "Advance" it's pretty straight forward. The main interest on this screen would be the 20 memory options! Abit gives you 6 default options and they are: Manual (Only use this if you know what you are doing), Auto (I recommend this unless you have read Paul's KG7 FAQ and understand what each option does), Normal, Fast, Turbo, and the all mighty Ultra! I could run all of the settings except the Ultra one. I'm not sure if it was a fluke on Abit's part or not, but my Kingston 512MB 2.5CAS memory wouldn't run at Turbo even if I wasn't overclocking my CPU. I guess until I get some CAS 2 memory I won't be using that option.

    This is the Advance bios section. You really shouldn't ever need to change anything in here, if you were to, you might have to change the bootup device order, or something along that nature. I always like to turn on the Virus warning feature. What this feature does is, if software or a virus tries to access the boot sector or the parition table the BIOS will warn you that a boot virus is attempting to access your hard disk. Another thing, scroll down and make sure the Delay for IDE Initial setting is set to 0. If you set it to a number like 5, then on boot the bios will wait for 5 secs to detect all of your IDE devices. If it's set to 0 it won't wait at all. Therfore it makes your bootup faster. However, if you have older IDE devices, that are slow you might want to leave it at 5 or 3.

    The PC health screen, a vital tool for any overclocker. On this screen you will find the temps of your system and your CPU, both in fehrithe and in celcius. You will also find the fan speeds of your CPU fan and your power fan, in RPM's. Last but not least, you will find the voltages of your CPU (Vcore), your 3.3v power, 5v power, and 12v power.

    The rest of the sections are pretty basic. They include Power Managment, PnP / PCI Configuration (In here you can change Irq's and stuff), and the Intergrated Pheripherals (This includes Serial ports, USB ports, and Paralell).

    1. Introduction & Specifications
    2. Closer Look
    3. Installation & Configuration
    4. Conclusion
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