Abit's KA7 - KX133 Athlon Motherboard
AMD's Athlon Set Up The Abit Way!

April 11, 2000 By Dave Altavilla

As my late Grand Father would say, "HOLY MACKEREL" !  My Grandfather was an excitable Italian type and this "fishy phrase" would be one that he would use to indicate his amazement with something.  In this case, the phrase is very fitting because I am totally amazed at the buzz and hype, with this review product that we have for you today.  Since Abit announced their KA7 VIA KX133 Athlon based motherboard, there has been a whirl-wind of press articles and commotion surrounding the product.  Well, in true HotHardware fashion, we just had to see what the fuss was all about and got our hands on this new Athlon supporting beast, as soon as we could!  Does this board do things for the Athlon in terms of overclocking that Abit has been able to deliver for Intel based boards in the past?  What about stability and compatibility?  We'll attempt to cover all that and more in the following pages.  Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Many thanks go out to our good friends at Outside Loop Computers for hooking us up with this board in a jiffy.  For all of your HotHardware needs go to this online shop and they will never let you down.  Top notch products from top notch people.  You will have to endure many gratuitous links for OL throughout this review, so get use to it!  ;-)  Well then, on with the fun...


Abit KA7 Specifications / Features
It's got it all...

Click Images for full view


Supports AMD-K7 Athlon 200MHz FSB Processors

VIA VT8371(KX133) /VIA 686A
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Supports AGP 2X/4X (Sideband) 3.3V device
Supports 100/133MHz Memory Bus Settings

Four 168-pin DIMM sockets support PC100/PC133 SDRAM module
Supports up to 2 GB MAX. (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512MB SDRAM)
6 chip Data Buffer Set
Supports ECC

System BIOS
Award Plug and Play BIOS
Write-Protect Anti-Virus function by AWARD BIOS
Year 2000 Compliant

Multi I/O Functions
On board Bus Master IDE Ports supporting UDMA 33/66
PS/2 Keyboard and PS/2 Mouse Connectors
1x Floppy Port (up to 2.88MB)
1x Parallel Port (EPP/ECP)
 2x Serial Ports
2x USB Connectors
On board USB header for Two extra USB channels

ATX form factor
1 AGP slot, 6 PCI slots and 1 ISA slots
Built-in Wake on LAN/Wake on Modem
Built-in IrDA TX/RX header
One Thermal Sensor Cable Included


We'll be including a lot of pictures in this review because the physical specifications of the KA7 are a thing of beauty.  In my opinion, the feature set on this board is perfection.  I am beginning to look far and wide for new motherboards with 6 PCI slots and this board has them as well as an ISA slot for your legacy cards, should you need it.  Another notable, is the number of three pin power headers for your cooling fans.  There are 4 total on the KA7 and all in the right place.  As you'll see in the close up shot of the PCI slots above, there are two next to the CPU slot and 1 next to the AGP slot.  There is an additional header down in the left hand corer of the board for a front mounted case fan.  Abit really went the extra mile to support adequate cooling.

There are also six SDRAM Data Buffer chips supporting the wealth of 4 DIMM sockets.  These will lend added stability when you have all sockets occupied with memory. This board supports a whopping 2GB of PC100/133 SDRAM.  It is begging to be setup as a Web Server.  Maybe we should donate this board to our host?  As a side note, the last picture is of the PLL Clock Driver on the KA7.  It is an ICS 9179BF-01.  We have to check out H.Oda's page to see if SoftFSB supports this chip.  However, you probably won't need SoftFSB when you see what the SoftMenu III BIOS has in store!   Finally, there are full health monitoring features built in for Fan Speed and Temperature Sensors, both on board and with an external thermistor probe that comes with the board.   In summary of our features and specs section here, Abit really delivers all that you could want in a motherboard with the KA7.  No expense was spared in offering room for expansion, in stability, and with respect to overclocking.

Now that's a nice lead-in isn't it?.

 Installation, Setup and Overclocking