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Abit KA7 KX133 Motherboard Review - Motherboards 2

I have decided to use the ‘ka7_42’ evaluation ROM I obtained from BXBoards. If you are not into betas, then I suggest the ‘KA7RK’ revision, which is Abit’s latest official BIOS release. Abit uses Award BIOS, with most all of their other boards, I personally prefer AMI, but Award’s SoftMenu III featured with this board is something AMI cannot touch. Here are some suggested settings of my own with a word or two explaining them:


Ø      Speed Error Hold – Disabled – default, in order to get to this setting you need to change the CPU Operating Speed to ‘User Define’; this setting will

Ø      Fast CPU Command Decode – Fast – this setting will increse performance all around, Normal is default and meant for greater stability.

Ø      CPU Pull Up Strength – Auto – effects signal strength from the north bridge chipset to the CPU, this has a default of three, minor performance gain in letting the motherboard decide, as it also decides stability.

Ø      CPU Drive Strength – Auto – similar to the Pull Up setting; this has a default of two.

Ø      DRAM Clock – HCLK+PCICLK – If you have PC133 memory, this is the way to take advantage of it; PC100 is also supported, set it to HCLK. It seems PC66 memory is supported with the HCLK-PCICLK setting, I am not sure though.

Ø      Autodetect DRAM/PCI Clk – Enabled – default, this is new to the BIOS setup and I believe it has to do with the memory to PCI ratio (3:1, 4:1). Stability problems did arise when disabled.

Ø      Spread Spectrum Modulated – Disabled – default, this setting has to to with Electro-Magnetic Compatibility, no performance gain or instability problems are seen when enabled.

Ø      CPU L2 ECC Checking – Enabled – default – despite that people say disabling this will increase performance, they do not understand ECC. Enabling ECC does not in any way hinder performance and should definitely be enabled when overclocking to overcome instability problems.

Ø      DRAM Timing – Turbo – Although it sounds kind of non-technical, turbo is best of all the settings provided. Large increases in performance were seen over the default of 10ns timing.

Ø      DRAM Bank Interleave – 4-way – this setting might not work on all types of memory from what I hear, I had no problems and saw better performance and greater stability. So go buy the more expensive memory, it is the best way to tweak your rig.

Ø      Delay DRAM Read Latch – Auto – I experienced instability problems when changing this. As lame as it may seem, auto is sometimes the way to go, but I can hear what you are saying, ‘I want to optimize this motherboard myself’’, because Auto often seems like the easy way out.

Ø      SDRAM Cycle Length – 2 or 3 – OK, my system runs terrible at two, it ran fine at two with my Asus K7M. This setting you are going to have to do alone, I run at three.

Ø      MD Driving Strength – Hi – If your memory loading is heavy, set to Hi. If light, set to Lo.

Ø      P2C/C2P Concurrency – Enabled – This enables simultaneous data transfer between the CPU to the PCI bus and back, increasing performance, disable if problems arise.

Ø      Fast R-W Turn Around – Enabled – Allows the AGP bus to talk directly to the CPU, therefore bypassing memory and increasing performance. Again, disable to troubleshoot stability problems.

Ø      System BIOS Cachable – Disabled – this loads BIOS into cache allowing faster execution in the BIOS setup program, no performance gain seen, leave at default.

Ø      Video RAM Cacheable – Disabled – allows video memory to be cached and is not necessary with AGP video cards.

Ø      AGP-4X Mode – Enabled – simple enough, if you have an AGP-4X card, set to enable. If problems arise, load the latest drivers and perhaps flash your video card’s firmware with the latest version.

Ø      Fast Write Supported – Supported – Having this setting within the BIOS setup program allows users of GeForce (or other Fast Write cards) video cards to disable it without a fuss. Of course, Supported does make for better frame rates.

Ø      K7 CLK_CTL – Optimal – default, I have no idea what this does, nobody really knows yet, makes you wonder though.

Ø      AGP Driving Control – Auto – This allows manual setting of the AGP Driving Force, values are set under AGP Driving Value.

Ø      PCI Dynamic Bursting – Enabled – To avoid incompatabilities set to enabled, no gain in stability or performance when disabled.

Ø      PCI Master 0 WS Write – Enabled – default, writes to the PCI bus are executed immediately, when disabled the PCI bus waits one state and then executes. Use this for compatibility with very old PCI devices (PCI 2.0).

Ø      PCI Delay Transaction – Enabled – default, mixed results on this setting, this setting is to support PCI delay transaction to enhance compatibilty with newer features on the PCI bus.

Ø      AGP Master 1 WS Write – Disabled – default, setting this to enabled will set single delay before writing to the AGP bus. Enable if your older AGP card is causing problems.

Ø AGP Master 1 WS Read – Disabled – default, same as above, except for read. These two settings should be hand-in-hand.

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