Aces Up Abit's Sleeve?
The inside scoop on Abit's new KX133 Athlon and VIA Apollo Pro 133A Motherboards

Rumors have been circulating around the net about the existence of a new line of Abit motherboards that are soon to be announced.  We had the opportunity to corner an insider at Abit and interrogate them for all they were worth.  This contact shall remain nameless to protect the innocent  (insert Dragnet Theme music here).  However, they came clean on all the dirt for this new series of products and as a good informant always does, leaked confidential information all over the place. 

It seems the folks at Abit have been spending a bit of time with VIA Technologies.  During these closed door sessions, VIA has been showing their wears with respect to their leading edge technologies in the system chipset space.  Needless to say, VIA's line of Athlon supported KX133 chipsets and the PC133 Pentium supported Apollo Pro133A, impressed Abit enough to begin work on new motherboards based on these chipsets.

Here is what we were told about these new products.  We'll start with the Athlon board.

Here are the list of specs....


ABIT KA7 AMD Athlon Slot A Motherboard


 Supports AMD-K7 Athlon Slot A 200MHz FSB Processors

VIA VT8371(KX133) /VIA 686A
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Supports AGP 2X/4X
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 chips Data Buffer Set
ECC support  
System BIOS 
SOFT MENU III TM Technology - Award Plug and Play BIOS
Selectable Front Side Bus Speeds Up To 183MHz. In 1 MHz. Increments
CPU Core Voltage Adjustments

Write-Protect Anti-Virus function by AWARD BIOS l 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  

Expansion Slots and Miscellaneous:  
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
PC Health Monitoring Functions
One Thermal Sensor Cable Included

OK, we hope you are not color blind here and may have missed two very distinct features of this particular Athlon Motherboard.  To date, we know of no other motherboard manufacturer that has been able to boast FSB speeds up to 183MHz. on an Athlon board nor the ability to adjust core voltage of the processor.  This should be a beautiful thing for most hard core overclocking types out there.  Abit clearly is delivering once again to the high end power user community. 

The engineers at Abit also put on their thinking caps when they decided to incorporate 6 PCI Slots and forgo the AMR slot.  Another curious point here is that Abit is incorporating Data Buffers on the Memory Bank Interfaces.  We are not sure, quite frankly, why this is needed but when you get up to 2GB of system memory on a board (the KA7's max) things are pretty heavily loaded.

Are you excited now?  Well, you won't have to keep your cool for long because our oh-so-cooperative informant let us know that this motherboard may be available in "a couple of weeks".  Abit may even be officially announcing it this Friday!  Sit tight kids.  This should be fun.  We HOPE to be on the short list to receive one of these boards soon for testing.  (major-league HINT to our informant) :)


The Apollo Pro133 "A" Makes an appearance

Now, on to the new VIA Apollo Pro133A based Pentium board, that they have in the works.  We didn't get too much info on this here except that the board will be called the VT6X4 and will have all the support of the Apollo Pro 133 "A" chipset including AGP4X and better system memory performance. 

On this board we will get "SoftMenu II" technology as well as CPU Voltage Tweaking, in the BIOS. Not much more is known about this board except that Abit is not planning a big splash for it.  The focus is clearly on the K7 board.  Stay tuned for more details on this board as they become available.


Well that about does it for any information we could squeeze out of our friend at Abit.  Stay tuned to HotHardware for the low down on these exciting new products.  A sincere thanks to our informant.  We hope the Feds don't come looking for you as a result of this!  :)




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