Abit KV8 Pro v1.1 - Page 3

Written by John Chen    Sunday, 20 February 2005 11:00
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Motherboard Layout

The KV8 Pro utilizes VIA's K8T800 Pro chipset.  Unlike Nvidia's nForce3 offerings, the K8T800 Pro continues the use of both the Northbridge and the Southbridge.  Although AMD's Athlon64 CPUs have on-die memory controllers, the use of two separate bridges is still ideal, at least it is to me.  One reason is that it reduces the amount of stress on the bridges.  The Northbridge still handles the usual interaction of graphic card to CPU, but just no longer handles the memory interface.  This can really help with cooling.  The less load on a chipset, the less heat it produces.  The VT8237 Southbridge still acts the same and is the controller of your normal drives, audio, USB connections, PCI buses, and other extra goodies.  The placement of these two separate bridges also allows for better cooling alternatives.  Like I mentioned in the DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb review, Nvidia's placement of their nForce3 chipset just plain sucks.  It doesn't mean that I don't like Nvidia's chipset, I just don't like the placement.  With VIA's solution, you can find better cooling for the Northbridge; but that's not really needed, as the passive heatsink is already sufficient.  Both the Northbridge and Southbridge ran perfectly fine during load tests and didn't cause any heat issues whatsoever.  The passive heatsink was barely warm to the touch.

The location of the IDE ports are located at the bottom right corner, where most hard drives reside at.  One IDE port should sit at the upper half of the motherboard, though, because that's where the usual optical drives are located.  If you happen to install this board in a larger full tower, you might run into troubles if your cables aren't long enough.  What I like about the IDE ports is that it faces a 0° angle, instead of the usual 90° angle.  This allows the cables to be folded and tucked away more easily.  The SATA ports are located right next to the IDE ports, and are controlled by VIA's VT8237 Southbridge.  Abit provides 2 IDE ports and 2 SATA ports for a total of 6 possible drives.  The SATA ports allow RAID 0, RAID 1, or JBOD.  The floppy port is located right above the ATX connector.  These two should be switched around; but their positions are still tolerable.  Notice in the picture that there are only two DIMM slots.  When I first saw it, I was very disappointed.  Although most users will only use 2 DIMMs for a total of 1GB system memory, Abit shouldn't stray away from the norm of 3 slots.  The extra slot might come in handy when using the OCZ Booster or just adding another stick of RAM. 

The KV8 Pro comes with 5 PCI slots and 1 AGP slot.  I always wonder why companies supply so many PCI slots when onboard features are becoming so plentiful.  But still, there are plenty of PCI slots for your extra peripherals.  The AGP slot comes with the usual locking device that we all come to favor.  Unlike the hideous lock on the DFI, the KV8 Pro's AGP lock allows easy installation and removal of graphic cards.  To the right of the PCI slots are the usual two USB headers for more USB ports.  The position of these headers is not very ideal, but only applies to those who actually makes use of these PCI slots.  The cables to the USB headers can get in the way of add-on cards.  One extremely annoying placement was the CMOS jumper.  It's located directly next to the AGP slot.  Ideally you would want the CMOS jumper to be at the bottom of the motherboard, far away from components that might get in your way of access.  Enthusiasts will definitely get annoyed when playing with overclocks on this motherboard, especially if you're working inside a case.  It was no problem for me only because my test bench was in an open environment and I was able to access the jumper from various angles.  The space between the DIMM slots and the AGP slot is ample and doesn't require removal of graphic cards to install or remove RAM.



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