Asus A7V333 in the test: VIA KT333 in top form
Scope of delivery
The scope of delivery corresponds to the usual high standard that one is used to from Asus.
- Asus A7V333
- 2x ATA66/100 cables
- 1x Floppy cable
- USB 2.0/game port cover
- FireWire cover
- Driver CD (driver, Asus PC probe, Asus update)
- Manual, Quick Step Guide, Reference Card
Also the Documentation succeeded as always,In the end it hardly differs from that of other Asus boards. The English-language manual covers practically every aspect that can be encountered with the circuit board in everyday life. Together with the 'Quick Step Guide' and the 'Reference Card' as well as a sticker for the PC case, no questions should remain unanswered.
In principle, the A7V333 is similar to its indirect predecessor, the A7V266-E. Only the CNR slot, which is no longer soldered to the board, immediately catches the eye. Although this does not give way to an additional PCI slot, it creates space for a wide range of on-board components. Not too tragic, since there is practically no hardware available for the end user for this expansion slot. Otherwise, the A7V333 offers the slot combinations familiar from Asus. Five PCI slots and one AGP Pro slot are available. The sufficiently dimensioned free space between the AGP slot and RAM banks, which enables the memory to be changed even with the graphics card inserted, is also positive.
The positioning of the EIDE and RAID ports can also be described as successful, as is the power connector located right next to it. This way, unnecessary cable clutter can be avoided in the long term and the function of the CPU fan is not disturbed. The floppy port, on the other hand, will take a bit of getting used to, because it is located relatively far down on the board.>
Three chips are waiting to be used next to the PCI slots. In addition to the sound codec 'CMI 8738' from C-Media, there is the USB 2.0 chip 'VT6202' from VIA, a counterpart to the wellwell-known NEC chip, and the FireWire controller.
Two USB 2.0 as well as two FireWire interfaces, the game port and the S/PDIF are routed to the outside via the included slot bracket.
Because Asus has a very unique arrangement of the board connections has chosen, an adapted ATX cover is included. In addition to two PS2 ports, there are two USB 1.1 and two USB 2.0 ports, two serial and one parallel interface as well as the sound inputs and outputs firmly soldered to the board.
Regarding the When it comes to cooling, Asus has now made the choice in favor of a passive heat sink for VIA boards. As on the current nForce and Pentium 4 boards, a massive aluminum cooler sits enthroned on the northbridge. Unfortunately, Asus did not fully adhere to the AMD keep-out area, as both a capacitor and the heat sink, which is too high in this regard, reach into this area. However, only the outermost area is injured, so that there should hardly be any problems. Both the Global Win WBK 38 and the Volcano 7 fit the board without problems in our test.
Bios & Overclocking
The functionality of the BIOS can hardly be surpassed.Q-Fan, Asus C.O.P., Asus Post Report (voice outputs status message via the PC speaker), power management - hardly a wish is left unfulfilled. The menus for the processor and memory modification can also be described as extremely lavish. The FSB can be increased from 100 to 227MHz, the VCore can be set to 1.85V. The FSB/memory ratio can be selected between 1: 1, 3: 4 and 4: 5 (the latter available up to 145 MHz). The storage system can also be operated up to its performance limits. CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge Time and Active Precharge Delay as well as Bank Interleave and the Command Rate can be freely set.
We were able to easily set our Athlon XP 1700+ up to a clock of 1595MHz ( XP1900 +) run stably at a VCore of 1.85. The FSB was at 145MHz, the Crucial RAM ran at 181 or 362MHz (DDR) even at this clock rate with the settings 2-2-2-5-1.
The maximum was 149MHz with slow RAM timings possible. However, it was not possible to determine whether the CPU or the PCI devices (38MHz) ultimately failed at 1636MHz (XP2000 + = 1666MHz). Nonetheless, a remarkable result.
The RAM voltage can also be increased with a jumper. However, this function is not documented in the manual and the BIOS does not provide any information about the applied voltage. However, we will get to the bottom of this with Asus. Incidentally, Raid and USB 2.0 can also be deactivated with a jumper.
Of course, this time we also took a look at the Front Side Bus, which Asus often secretly set high in the past. However, this clocks properly at 133.30MHz. However, under the BIOS setting 'System Performance', the board offers the choice between 'Optimal' and 'Turbo', whereby the Turbo setting briefly increases the FSB by 2MHz.
Asus COP and Q-Fan
As C.O.P. (CPU Overheat Protection) Asus describes a protection mechanism implemented 'in hardware' which is at least theoretically able to protect CPUs of the Athon XP series from heat death. For this purpose, the internal temperature diode of the Athlon XP is read out and the entire system is switched off when a predefined temperature is exceeded.
To test the board for the correct function of the feature, the fan was switched off under full CPU load. After approx. 30 seconds the system (at approx. 73 ° C CPU temp in the setting 'Auto'. Can be set in the BIOS from 70-100 ° C in 5 ° C steps) duly went into deep sleep and woke up shortly afterwards without it Problems to new life. As our colleagues from Au-Ja.org found out, this protection only does not work in one scenario. If you start an Athlon XP without the heat sink installed, the CPU gets red-hot in the milliseconds before the BIOS prompt, so that the DIE burns up before C.O.P. can intervene. However, starting the computer with a failed fan should be just as problem-free as the failure of the fan/heat sink during operation, since the first waste heat from the CPU can be easily absorbed by the heat sink until Asus C.O.P. is active.
Asus C.O.P. proves to be a real hardware saver in practice and is currently the only solution to protect an Athlon XP CPU. Certainly one of the big pluses of the A7V333.
In addition to this feature, Asus has another, Useful tool implemented on the A7V333 that Intel owners have known for a long time:Asus Q fan. This BIOS function automatically adjusts the fan speed to the current CPU temperature and can thus have a noise-reducing effect. However, this feature should rarely, if not at all, be used on sophisticated Athlon systems.
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