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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [07.17.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson
Manufactured by: Gigabyte

Est. Street Price: $175

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Better Late Than Never?

Some months ago when the nforce2 chipset first made its way into the motherboard market, Gigabyte was notable in their absence from the throngs of manufacturers who were releasing boards based on what has become the new AMD chipset standard.

Industry rumblings would suggest that a division was created between nVidia and Gigabyte over the latter's decision to produce video cards based on ATI technology instead of the FX line. Whatever the differences may have been, it would seem that they have now been resolved. Coming so late to the party though, Gigabyte is going to really need to impress in order to grab any of the attention that has been garnered by numerous other manufacturers on the nForce2 front. Let's see how they make out.

The Specs

The GA-7NNXP that we will be testing today is from Gigabyte's high end line of nForce2 offerings and it shows as they have certainly gone all out in terms of included features. The main features include are listed below. A full list of features can be found at Gigabyte's website.

CPU: Socket A AMD Duron/Athlon MP/Athlon XP
Chipset: NVIDIA SPP Chipset + Nvidia Nforce2 MCP-T
FSB: 100/133/166/200Mhz
Memory: 4 DDR SDRAM PC3200, 3GB Max
Onboard IDE: 2x Ultra DMA/133, 2x GigaRAID ATA 133 RAID, 2x sil3112A SATA
USB: 6 x USB 2.0 ports (4 onboard, 2 with included back-panel cable)
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC650 6 channel full duplex integrated sound
Onboard NIC: Intel 82540EM Gigabit + 10/100 RTL8139C
Onboard Firewire: 3 x IEEE 1394 ports via included back-panel cable
Expansion Slots: 1x AGP 8x/4x, 6 x 320bit PCI
BIOS: 2 x 4M bit flash ROM

There are a few things of note here. First off is the fact that both the Raid and SATA controllers are independent which allows them to operate concurrently allowing for the possibility of 10 operational drives. That is a lot of storage possibilities!


Secondly Gigabyte has included a fourth DIMM slot onboard, something not seen on very many other dual channel enabled nFroce2 motherboards. The total possible memory is still set at 3GB, but the additional slot might be appreciated down the road when it comes time to increase your RAM.

Next notice the inclusion of the second backup BIOS chips. The dual BIOS setup is a mainstay of Gigabyte boards that would've been very much appreciated back when the original nForce2 chipsets were just released and BIOS corruption during overclocking was widespread.

A final point of interest is the inclusion of not only dual onboard LAN, but also that one of them is based on the Intel 82540EM Gigabit LAN chipset.  Great for those of you who are lucky enough to game on high bandwidth network setups.

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