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Abit has been an enthusiast market leader for as long as I have been in this business, and they are continuing to do so throughout both their AMD and Intel motherboard releases. First, the processor socket has a good amount of room for heatsink installation, but even more importantly, Abit has continued to include the 4 mounting holes around the processor socket for the heatsink installation that many overclockers prefer.
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The ATX power connector is placed between the DIMM slots and CPU socket and shouldn’t interfere with anything directly. Abit also included the addition of an optional 4-pin power connector (like those used on P4 systems) in order to offer the Athlon processor more steady power as the processor frequencies increase. Speaking of memory, Abit is once again the only motherboard manufacturer to include four DIMM slots on their KT400A design. While this may at first seem to be a huge advantage, it is required that you have Registered memory in order to take advantage of them all. The KT400A north bridge is covered by a good heatsink and fan that should keep it cool during overclocking.
The AGP port has a standard retention clip, but again because of the inclusion of the 6th PCI slot, we can see that the DIMM slots on the board will interfere with the AGP video card and make memory installation and removal impossible with a graphics card installed.
The IDE channels are at the same level of the DIMM slots making installation a breeze though the floppy cable is placed down low below where the RAID IDE channels would be if this model had included it. The standing CMOS battery is also unique to Abit motherboards recently and allows the engineers a bit more room on the PCB.
The Abit motherboards have recently been going through a change to start offering the latest and greatest in features, as well as performance and overclocking. Their KT400A offering has the options to continue that trend. IDE RAID is an option, though it was not included in this model that was sent to me for review. A 10/100 network interface is on-board as is a Realtek 6-channel audio solution with optical output right on the external headers of the motherboard, next to the serial port.
Unfortunately, the Abit board that we received wasn’t quite ready with the retail packaging, so we didn’t get anything with the KD7 motherboard. However, based on what we have seen other Abit models and what they come with, you can expect IDE cables, possibly in rounded form. The Abit MAX series of boards came with headers as well, but usually I don’t think the lower cost KD7 model have all the extras.
Abit was the originator of the SoftMenu system of changing multipliers, bus speeds and more in the bios rather than in jumper form. And they are continuing to push the field. The bios for the KD7 KT400A motherboard supports FSB up to 250 MHz and DRAM speeds in the ratio forms of 3:2, 4:2 and 5:2. The multiplier can be adjusted as high as 22.5x. Also, there is a setting called “Enhance for Benchmark” and while I couldn’t get a straight answer on what this setting actually did, I had it turned off for all of our tests.
You can adjust the voltages of the CPU up to 2.325v and the DIMM up to 3.25v, both of which are very high for overclocking purposes. The memory timings and settings available (see image below) are among the best of all the KT400A motherboards reviewed.