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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.11.02]
Manufactured by: Abit


And the verdict is:

Well the next generation of motherboards has arrived by way of Abit.  Is it a giant leap towards the future, like Abit tells us, or a mere baby step in the grand scheme of things?

I'll say it's somewhere in between.

I don't want to buy into the hype TOO much, after all, there are a lot of motherboards out there that are just as expandable as this one, with integrated IEEE1394 and USB2.0 and even RAID alongside the regular IDE channels.  At first glance, it seems like Abit just took a good solid high end board design, and ditched the legacy ports (causing this reviewer to stop by Costco on the way home to buy a new USB keyboard for testing).

That wouldn't be fair to Abit though, because they are really putting forth great effort into giving the PC community a kick in the ass to get moving onto the next generation.  After all, my PS/2 keyboard worked fine, but overall it is just dragging down the rest of the computer.  You've seen that removing the old, not often-used legacy ports makes room for a LOT of USB and FireWire ports...

So as a Step towards the Next Generation, I give Abit a big thumbs up.

As a high end motherboard, the AT7 certainly does NOT disappoint.  It has absolutely everything you could ask for in a board.  Everything you REALLY need is integrated, and anything you don't need can be turned off easily, without the use of jumpers I might add.

With this 'next step' philosophy however comes some pitfalls.  I would not be able to use this board as my personal system, since I rely on the use of a parallel port to test AVR3 cards.  I would then be forced to buy an adapter, or a PCI parallel port, but wouldn't that just be a BIG step backwards?

Those people who depend on legacy ports will have to take this step backwards in order to keep up with the times... Again it seems ironic that we have to do this... You saw once that because of Abit's "next gen" RAID controller, they actually needed to maintain the floppy port, because without it, you would not be able to install Windows XP on the Highpoint controlled hard drive.

The tweaking capabilities of the AT7 are simply breathtaking.  You've seen that it performs rather well at stock speeds, but imaging what you could do with some high end cooling and 'ultra-spec' ram... This board is definitely ready to take the Tbred further than no other board can.

So in the end, I have to say that most of the hype surrounding this board is well deserved.  It might not exactly be revolutionary, but it is most certainly evolutionary.

  • The most innovative board we've seen in quite some time
  • 12 IDE drives? Oh hell yeah!
  • 10 USB ports
  • Abit gives us a kick in the rear to move on to the next generation
  • Amazing tweaking and overclocking capabilities
  • Most likely the fastest AthlonXP motherboard around
  • MediaXP kicks ass!
  • USB2.0 kicks ass!
  • FireWire kicks ass!
  • Everything you REALLY need is integrated

  • CPU Socket is very poorly placed
  • Abit's choice of onboard audio is questionable
  • People with legacy parts are SOL
  • Extremely high priced

Final Score: 98%