Overclocking and RAID

This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

The options for overclocking your processor via the motherboard are nearly standard in the AMD platform now. This wasn’t the case as recently as 3 months ago. Gigabyte has a made a modest effort to cater to the overclocker with their 7ZXR motherboard.

While all of the options for overclocking are here: FSB, multiplier and voltage modification, they are all on dipswitches. That wouldn’t be so bad if the dipswitches were easy to access once the motherboard is installed in the case. Because this is when most users go through their overclocking rituals, the placement of the sets of switches is a major concern of mine.

However, the dipswitches are capable of accomplishing their task. I was able to push my aging Athlon 700 up to a 1 GHz without too much of a problem. The Duron 900 was able to reach 1.1 GHz as well, all with standard air cooling. Overclocking via the FSB didn’t seem to be too much of a problem, even with the lack of an active cooling system on the chipset. Apparently, Gigabyte did their homework on this aspect and they were able to confidently remove the fan and still allow for FSB overclocking.

A couple of hindrances in the overclocking process include the need for a 100/133 jumper on the motherboard. If you will be using FSB speeds of 95 – 120 MHz, the jumper will need to be set on the 100 MHz setting, while speeds of 133 – 150 MHz require the setting of the jumper to 133 MHz. Not only this, but what about options between 120 and 133 MHz? While very few people would probably need them it would still be nice had they been included. Also, the limit of 150 MHz as the top FSB speed seems odd as well. Again, not many people would be able to utilize speeds higher than 150 MHz, but the more options that are there, the better.

Gigabyte’s 7ZXR 2.2 includes IDE-RAID by the way of the on-board Promise controller. Because they have used the well known Promise chip, users should be somewhat familiar with it and its options. It allows RAID 0, 1 and 0+1, which you can read all about in this post in our forums.

Well, let’s see the tests and before that here is my system setup for the benchmarks:

Test System Setup
CPU AMD Thunderbird 1.33 GHz (133 MHz Bus)
Memory 1 x 256MB Corsair PC133 SDRAM
Hard Drive 20.5GB 7200 RPM Western Digital EIDE
Video Card Hercules 3D Prophet II 64MB
Video Drivers Detonator 7.56
Operating System Windows 98 SE

Note, I did NOT include any DDR motherboard benchmarks in the review of this motherboard for various reasons. I have some new DDR equipment in the lab that I need to test and verify before I begin reusing the DDR information as I had previously. For this reason, the Gigabyte 7ZXR motherboard will be compared against a rivaling KT133A motherboard, the Asus A7V133.

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