Date: May 27th, 2004
Article by: Roger (Hardware
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth
(Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Abit
<---SHOP FOR THE ABIT KV8-MAX3 K8T800 ATHLON64 MOTHERBOARD HERE
PRODUCT FEATURES & PICTORIAL
So let's start at the top of the board and work our way
down. The most notable thing on this board is of course the OTES system.
The purpose of the OTES system is to cool the hottest part of the motherboard,
the PWM power regulation mosfets and capacitors. It does so by drawing
the hot air away and exhausting it via a 40mm located at the very left
of the I/O back panel.
This type of design provides excellent cooling, however
it does crowd up the top of your board.
As a result, everything else is pretty tight. As you can
see, the 20-pin ATX and the 4-pin 12V connectors are up over the Northbridge
HSF. That location leaves a lot to be desired. You have to be careful
with those bulky wires so that they do not hang over the CPU cooler.
Luckily, it isn't that hard to run them over the OTES unit so that they
are out of the way.
You can also see the CPU socket in this photo. As you'll
notice, the retention bracket has not yet been added. I will go into
that in the Install section of this review. To the immediate left of
the socket is the Northbridge.
The Northbridge (VIA K8T800) is actively cooled by a heatsink/fan
that is held in place by two push pins that are secured through the
motherboard. The fan is connected to the NBFAN1 header and monitored
in the BIOS.
The Southbridge (VIA VT8237) is not actively cooled, as
is most often the norm. The SB handles the VIAN Vinyl Audio as well
as two of the SATA ports and the PATA 133/100 ports.
Here is a diagram to illustrate the tasks which both chipsets
have on an Athlon 64 system. VIA uses Hyper8 technology to eliminate
the HyperTransport link noise between the AMD 64 processor and the chipset.
This allows it to operate at full capacity, transferring up to 6.4GB/s.
That's 16-bit/1.6GHz, baby. 800MHZ upstream and downstream. ABIT has
the distinction of being the first to offer this.
In order to deal with data loads and signal interference,
some motherboard manufacturers purposefully drop their HyperTransport
link bandwidth, sometimes to as little as half (3.2GB/s).
You can also see from this diagram the VIA Controller
Featuring the VIA DriveStation™ Controller Suite, the VIA VT8237
South Bridge provides the most comprehensive support high-performance
integrated storage interface technologies available on the market
today. In addition to enabling high-speed 150MB/s dual channel connections
to Serial ATA Hard Drives while retaining support for up to four Parallel
ATA-133 devices, it combines exceptionally fast disk data transfer
rates and optimal data integrity with easy installation and manageability
through V-RAID, the first native RAID controller integrated into a
South Bridge supporting multiple RAID Level 0, RAID Level 1, RAID
0+1, and JBOD configurations.
The VT8237 also features the VIA Vinyl™ Multichannel Audio Suite
for superlative integrated and onboard 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound,
and offers a host of high-bandwidth connectivity options, including
support for the VIA Gigabit Ethernet companion chip, integrated 10/100Mbps
Fast Ethernet and up to eight high-speed USB 2.0 ports.
The K8T800 benefits from VIA's unique V-MAP (VIA Modular Architecture
Platform) architecture that facilitates faster product development
and speeds up time to market, and features the high-throughput V-Link
interconnect running at speeds of up to 533 MB/s between the North
and South Bridge.
The AGP port is well placed and does not interfere with
the DDR slots. The board supports 4X/8X (0.8V/1.5V). Meanwhile, the
72-bit memory controller supports DDR at 266, 333 and 400MHZ (ECC).
It can support 3 DIMMS DDR333 up to 2GB or 2 DIMM at DDR400.
You can see in this shot the two IDE channels, located
in the center on the edge of the board. This allows you some flexibility
when storing devices in higher bays on full-sized cases.