This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Layout
Asus has a recent tradition of having the top selling motherboard for the Athlon XP processor, starting mainly with the nForce2 chipset motherboard and even with the recent release of their K8V Deluxe for the Athlon 64 processor. Will their KT600 chipset board live up to that expectation?
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The CPU socket has the four mounting holes on it, and these holes also include a protective metal liner like the AOpen board. The socket is turned so that removal of the memory is required for installation and removal of the processor heatsink, however. There is more room around the CPU socket on the Asus board for larger heatsinks than on the AOpen motherboard.
The ATX power connector is located to the far right of the PCB, past the DIMMs. This puts it in the best spot, as it doesn’t have a chance to interfere with the processor fan as in the previous motherboards. For some reason, Asus chose to not include the additional 4-pin power connector on the A7V600.
The three DIMM slots are a big problem here. They are placed so close to the AGP slot that it is impossible to remove the DIMMs or install them, even if you are a gutsy hardware enthusiast. That means upgrading or removing memory will require you to remove the AGP video card.
The IDE channels are all located above the AGP card on the board, across from the DIMM slots. The Serial ATA channels are located in the open, pretty much all by themselves. There are placements on the PCB for an additional IDE channel and two additional SATA channels, from an external chipset, but Asus did not include them on this model that I received.
We already mentioned the AGP slot and how it interferes with the DIMMs, but other than that, it does include a standard retention clip. Six PCI slots are included on the motherboard as well.
The case connectors are color coded on the Asus board here as well, making installation a simpler task. It’s the small things that count. 😉
The Asus A7V600 motherboard has a good list of features, including of course the two channels of SATA RAID from the 8237 south bridge. This is turning out to be a big advantage for VIA in the chipset battle it would seem. Also included is a black connector at the very bottom of the motherboard: this is the WiFi @ Home connector, a new feature from Asus. I’ll touch on this on the K8 motherboard review where I received the WiFi adaptor as well.
On the external connectors, Asus has included 4 USB 2.0 connectors as well as a 3Com Gigabit Ethernet adaptor. The audio is a 6-channel setup that also includes a SPDIF connector right there on the back.
There is room on the PCB for an additional SATA chip, as I mentioned before, as well as room for Firewire which was not included on my sample. Be sure to check the specs of the board you are purchasing to see if these are included.
The Asus A7V600 I received was not in its final retail packaging, so the list of included extras may be a bit less than what you receive. But, you can at least expect to get what I show here. Two Serial ATA cables, one USB header with 2 USB connectors on it and 2 IDE cables with a single floppy cable.
The Asus A7V600 bios is in the standard Award Bios Asus Style, and is different from all the other manufacturers.
Here is the main BIOS settings screen. Here we can adjust the multiplier, up to 22.5x, the frequency up to 250 MHz and the memory frequency to 133/166/200 MHz. The Voltages can go as high as – CPU: 1.85v, AGP: 1.8v, DRAM: 2.85v.
The “Instant Music” option you see listed there is a BIOS program that allows you to play audio CDs without having to boot into Windows. I wasn’t able to get this feature working correctly, so I’m not going into more detail than that for this board. All current Asus boards have this feature, and I’ll test the Instant Music option out in my K8 review.
Here you can set the memory settings that you want to change to tweak your system. One interesting fact was that I was for some reason unable to modify the Graphics Aperture size – it would only stick at 32 MB.
This screen hit me as unique: you can set a time and date to turn on your system by itself. Want to turn your PC on every morning at 7:25am so its ready for you when roll out of bed? Now you can!
The Asus board resembled the AOpen motherboard when it comes to memory problems. It had a few issues, but over all seemed to be more stable than the Abit motherboard and accept more memory configurations.