Features and Layout
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Nearly all of the Abit boards that I have seen are near the best when it comes to features and layout of the board itself. They are able to continue that same ideal with their KT266A chipset motherboard.
First, at the top, the ATX power connector is very well placed between the processor socket and the memory slots. This keeps the large cable out of the way of the processor heatsink fan as well as interfering with the DIMM sockets. The CPU socket has ample room to support the bigger Athlon XP heatsinks. One of the newer features on the board, that I first saw on the Iwill XP333 motherboard, is a piece of protective plastic under the clips that hold the heatsink to the board. However, it would appear Abit got something backwards as they have the plastic slip under the south clips instead of the north where they are most needed. I am not sure, but hopefully this was fixed with non-review sample motherboard revisions.
One of the first things that stand out about this KT266A board is the fourth DDR memory slot. Abit seems to like holding this ace in their sleeve on their motherboards as they did the same thing with their Abit KG7-RAID motherboard a few months back. With this configuration the KR7A motherboards can support up to 4 GB of memory, and I verified this by using some of the memory Corsair Micro supplied us. Also, just for argument’s sake, I tried plugging in a Crucial memory stick with the Corsair and it still worked without a problem. Abit should be commended for getting such great memory stability out of their motherboard.
The north bridge of the KT266A chipset is covered by a similar heatsink, as was the KG7-RAID motherboard. These fans are by no means your best option, but they are more than fine for regular users and most overclockers.
There are 2 USB ports on the standard AC position but Abit has also included headers for up to 4 four USB ports. Unless you are looking for the new USB 2.0, that should be more than ample for all the accessories you have. USB 2.0 will become more and more common as the months progress.
The slot configuration of the board is 6/0/1/0 (PCI/ISA/AGP/CNR). This is a great slot configuration for PC enthusiasts as it gives them the most options when it comes to upgrading and personalizing their systems. Also, since Abit does not include on-board audio or any other components except the bare necessities, the extra PC slot may come in useful for our more productive readers. The AGP slot is 4x but not AGP Pro compatible. It will be interesting to see what video cards will be released to push the 8x AGP speeds of the KT333A chipset that is still some months away.
With the KR7A, Abit has also introduced some diagnostic LEDs, similar to what is very common with the MSI line of motherboards, like the MSI K7N420-D Pro motherboard. Using various combinations of the lights on the motherboard, the user will have a better chance of troubleshooting the hardware should they have any problems with the board.
The final feature that I will mention on the KR7A-RAID motherboard is the RAID. Powered by the High Point HPT372 chipset, this offers the users two great features. First, and most obviously, you get the power of a High Point IDE RAID controller but you can also take advantage of the HPT372’s support for ATA133 hard drives. I did not have any of those ATA133 drives to test with the board, but don’t expect a huge increase in speed over the standard ATA100. For more information on this, you might want to check out our recent editorial on ATA133.