ABIT SR7-8X SiS648 Motherboard Review
to see that manufacturers are quickly adopting the SiS 648 chipset as an
alternative to Intel's i845D/E/G DDR chipsets. Competition is good, and this will only
drive prices down further. We were rather impressed by the overall "stock" performance
of our first SiS 648 motherboard, the MSI 648 MAX but it was
not for really built for enthusiasts.
With Abit (long known for openly adopting
overclockers as their own) producing a SiS 648 motherboard, things are certainly
starting to get interesting...
Looking at the package of the Abit
SR7-8X, we see that the motherboard
is actually a no frills board which retails for a mere $150 CDN ($100 US). So what
do you get with the mobo? In terms of features the motherboard is
a bit sparse, it only sports onboard 10/100 LAN, 5.1 audio, five PCI slots,
a 8x AGP compatible slot and three DIMM's. At the moment only
the SiS Xabre 400 and ATi Radeon 9700 support 8XAGP, and the performance gains are minor as no game has really been
coded to take advantage of it yet.
The DIMMS will support PC1600/2100 up to 3GB and
2700 up to 2GB. You can also use PC3200 modules, but the support is not yet
official. The SiS963 southbridge does have native support for USB 2.0 and
Ultra/133 RAID as well.
Ships with the following:
- IDE ATA100 Cable
- FDD Cable
- Driver CD
- USB extension Cable
- IO Backplate
- Users Manual
As we can
see, the Abit SR7-8X doesn't exactly light up the room with a flashy PCB, or
hordes of extra adaptors. Actually the board looks pretty plain, but as long as
the SR7-8X can deliver in terms of performance what else is really as
layout of the board is pretty good, the IDE drive connectors are in the perfect
location to the right of the DIMM slots - this way the cables don't
block the case airflow or interfere with the PCI expansion cards. Something I'm greatful
for is there are no small capacitors near the AGP lock! Little things like
that sure do make life a little bit easier when installing videocards!
fan headers and Clear CMOS jumper is very easily accessible, not hidden away behind
a PCI slot or IDE ribbon cable. It was good to see that even
thought Abit used a standard green heatsink on the SiS 648 Northbridge, they also took
the time to apply some thermal paste on it. Since the 648
does generate quite a bit of heat under full load, it's reassuring that Abit is trying to do
the little things right.
honest we're a bit surprised by the lack of features not included on the
Abit SR7-8X. Most motherboards in its class are abounding
with USB2.0 jacks, IDE RAID, Serial ATA, and even Bluetooth. Perhaps Abit
is testing the waters with the SiS 648 chipset and 8X AGP first before all
the other goodies are added.
The plus side of course is that the lack of
added-value features leaves the cost of the motherboard very nicely low. Most
users tend to buy what they need and install as they go into one of the five
open PCI slots.
Ethernet connection is included on the board just above the two rear USB ports. As this
makes the IO configuration non-standard, Abit have included an IO plate so you can replace the
one in the case.
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