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ASUS A7V8X Motherboard Review


Closer Look:

There're things I liked and disliked about the layout of this motherboard. The power plug on the board is in a very bad location for a number of reasons. For one, if you have a mid tower case it would be very hard to reach the power plug since it will be under your hard drive or floppy drive bay. Another reason why I don't like the power plug at this location is because you can't easily hide the wire going to the plug from the power supply. This really isn't a problem if you don't have a window in your case, but if you do have a window it does pose a problem. The Serial ATA is in an awkward position on its side. This makes it harder to align your IDE cable plug up with the pins on the motherboard. If the Serial ATA was faced upward like the Primary and Secondary IDE plugs it would make it much easier to plug IDE cables in. Even though my motherboard doesn't have the Serial ATA feature, I can still felt the need to point out that problem.

Enough with the bad, lets talk about the good! I absolutely love the layout of the CPU socket! There aren't any big capacitors in the way to delay heatsink installations, and no power supply in the way of your screwdriver. All of the other motherboards I have owned, had the CPU socket turned 90° to the left (from the picture). This has caused me many headaches and problems because when you go to install the clip on your heatsink the power supply would be in the way of your screwdriver which makes it very hard to latch down the clip on the heatsink. So, I had to remove my motherboard completely from my system in order to install some heatsinks. I'm glad I won't be having to do that with this motherboard. From this point on when I buy a motherboard the CPU socket layout will definitely play a major role in my purchase.

Beside the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot you will notice a red LED. If you install a video card that isn't 1.5v, such as a 3.3v video card, this red LED will illuminate and your computer will NOT turn on. This feature will protect your motherboard & video card from being burnt up by not allowing the computer to turn on. If you do install a 1.5v video card the red LED will not illuminate and you will be able to turn your computer on.

There is also a retaining clip around the AGP slot, so any LAN gamers will not find their video card coming loose when they're moving their computers to and from LAN party's. This is a feature every motherboard should have, if you ask me :)

One thing that may have caught your eye in the previous pictures is the blue colored PCI slot. This blue PCI slot is called the "Blue Magic Slot" by ASUS. Apart from supporting ordinary PCI functions it supports Wireless LAN cards for 802.11a, 802.11b & Bluetooth standards of which ASUS will be introducing a wireless LAN card later on that will support all three standards.

The "Broadcom" chip which is located above and between the first and second PCI slots, is responsible for running the Gigabit LAN controller. If you're lucky enough to be on a network that supports a 1000Mbp (Gigabit) connection, then you'll be able to experience data transfers that is ten times faster than the conventional 10/100 Ethernet connection.

There are a total of three 184-pin DIMM slots that support up to 3GB of unbuffered non-ECC PC3200, PC2700, PC2100, or PC1600 DDR memory. However if you use PC2700 memory you can only use two DIMM's and if you use PC3500 you may only use one DIMM.

The VIA VT8235 south bridge chip, which just recently came out, has support for integrated USB 2.0 standard. This means all of the USB ports in the back of motherboard, there are four by the way, support USB2 devices. Another awesome feature that the VT8235 provides us is the 533MB/s V-Link between the north and south bridges on the motherboard. The older via chipsets only supported 266MB/s and that makes the new VT8235 two times faster!

Aluminum heatsink covering the North Bridge chip

One of my favorite features of the VIA KT400 chipset is that it supports AGP 8x which is used to power the latest and greatest graphic boards such as the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro and the upcoming Nvidia Geforce 5. AGP 8x is double the speed of AGP 4x, obviously, while having a bus frequency of 533 MHz and a 2.1Gb/s bandwidth pipe. I won't be able to test the AGP 8x because I don't have a card that supports 8x. I'm trying to wait on the Geforce 5, and my source say that it should ship sometime earlier Decemeber :)

In the back of the motherboard you'll find a rather large amount of ports. You have your standard ports: (2) PS/2, (2) Serial, Parallel, and (2) USB. The extra ports on this board include: (2) more USB, Gigabit LAN, and three integrated sound ports.

When I was installing my waterblock I ran in to a problem. One of the bolts that go on one of the four screws around the CPU socket prevents the CPU socket lever from opening or closing. The only way around this problem was to unscrew the bolt. This allowed me to open and close the lever without any problems. This is a problem you should take under consideration if you use a water cooler or a heatsink that installs with bolts such as the MCX 462 heatsink.

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