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


Got Storage?

Have a look at the vast number of ATA connectors - 6 channels! The yellow connectors are for the Highpoint ATA/133 RAID controller (which works perfectly fine in non-RAID mode).  The two higher up on the board are the natively controlled IDE channels, also supporting ATA/133.  This makes for an amazing 12 possible drives without the use of a single PCI slot!

Below the RAID channels you'll see a floppy adapter, one of the lingering legacy ports still found on this generation of MAX boards... I personally don't use a floppy drive anymore, but it will be necessary to use a floppy if you plan on installing Windows XP on a drive controlled by the Highpoint IDE.  How ironic!

Besides what I've mentioned, and the fact that there are 4 RAM slots (up to three 1GB sticks may be used at a time with non-registered RAM, four if you are using registered), the layout is pretty much standard ATX fare.  There are a couple nasty layout problems though, which I'll get to later in the review.

In addition to the 6 USB ports on the ATX rear panel (4 USB1.1 and 2 USB2.0), there are onboard connectors for 4 more USB 2.0 connectors, for a total of 10 devices! There is also an extra output for one more IEEE1394 port.  The IEEE1394 controller used by the AT7 is capable of full speed 400mb/sec.  So no matter what interface your advanced external peripherals are going to use, Abit definitely has you covered with the AT7.

Once again, Abit gets unique with the AT7, this time with the bundle.  Included are a set of nifty black IDE cables (3 IDE cables, 1 floppy cable).  This is a great way to have some nice looking custom IDE cables without worrying about using rounded cables (IDE cables are flat for a reason you know!).  Also included are a set of cable tie-downs, to aide in keeping your PC nice and tidy inside.  This is a great little bundle for a motherboard! A custom ATX rear panel plate is also included of course; the one that came with your case is now officially outdated.  You also get one PCI plate USB adapter, to be used on one of the USB2.0 outputs on the motherboard.  I would have liked to see a pair of these, in addition to another firewire adapter, since the board supports it.  Unfortunately, you're going to have to get your own this time.


One significant absence in our package (I believe Abit is going to make it an option for some retail packages) is a MediaXP panel! MediaXP is one of the great steps forward with the MAX series.  Basically, it adds integrated support for various portable media, including Smart Media, Compact Flash, and even Sony's Memory Stick.  MediaXP also includes headphone and microphone jacks, SPDIF ports, and 2 USB ports! It is expected that most cases will start using MediaXP panels, rather than their own Mickey Mouse panels you see now.  It is already beginning to look like the MAX is taking the PC a step in the right direction...

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