The motherboard industry is currently in one of those transition periods, where lots of new technologies are being introduced, but nobody really knows for sure which is the best or which will survive.  On one hand, Intel’s Pentium 4 is pounding its way into the market with the i850 chipset’s dual channel RDRAM to provide sufficient memory bandwidth for their flagship processor.  On the other hand, AMD and VIA are pushing hard for DDR to become the memory technology of the future.

While the new technologies do seem promising, it will still be a while before RDRAM and DDR SDRAM show their full potential, and that’s exactly why good old SDR SDRAM is still quite popular.  The VIA KT133A chipset is the perfect example of this, as it still uses SDR SDRAM but delivers performance figures similar to the newer solutions. 

It’s been a while since we last visited a KT133A motherboard, but we thought we’d take a look at an in-depth look at a few of the more popular ones before rounding them all up.  Today we have Gigabyte’s solution, the GA-7ZXR (Rev. 2.2). 

Back in November, during our second KT133 motherboard roundup, we took a brief look at the GA-7ZXR, Gigabyte’s first attempt in the Socket-A market. We concluded that it was a somewhat disappointing solution for two reasons - not only was it a merely average performer, but it lacked multiplier adjustments, a virtual requirement for overclocking a Socket-A processor and something that most other manufacturers had implemented.

However, as we have seen numerous times before, six months is an extremely long time in the computer industry, and a lot of changes can be made to a motherboard.  Not long ago, we received word from Gigabyte that revision 2.2 of the GA-7ZXR would arrive soon, with the KT133A chipset along for the ride. Of course, we were eager to see just how this new revision compared to the old one.

The long wait is finally over and the newest GA-7ZXR revision has arrived in the AnandTech Labs.  As expected, this board proves to be a much better solution than its older brother and is much more capable.  The real question is “just how much better is it in terms of features and stability?”  That’s exactly what we seek to answer in this review.

Gigabyte GA-7ZXR (2.2)

CPU Interface
Socket-A
Chipset
VIA KT133A
VT 8363A North Bridge
VT 686B South Bridge
Form Factor
ATX
Bus Speeds

100 - 120 MHz (in 1 MHz increments)
133 - 150 MHz (in 1 MHz increments)
95 / 160 / 200 MHz

Core Voltages Supported

Auto Detect
1.500 - 1.850 V (in 0.025 increments)

I/O Voltages Supported
3.3 / 3.4 / 3.5 V
AGP Voltages Supported
1.5 / 1.6 / 1.7 V
Memory Slots
3 168-pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots

1 AGP Slot
6 PCI Slots (6 full length)
1 AMRSlot

On-board Audio
Sigmatel STA9708T AC97 CODEC
Creative CT5880 (optional)
BIOS

AMI Simple BIOS Setup 1.24b

A New Revision, A Slightly Different Look

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