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BIOS
Abit's motherboards have historically had excellent BIOS-level control over system options, especially in the area of overclocking. Let's see if the AN7 continues this tradition.


Here's a shot of the Advanced Settings page of the AN7's BIOS. We have the standard RAM timings, but some of the other settings here (the spread spectrum percentage settings and thermal throttling setting) are much less common. Let's take a look at the Softmenu settings, where Abit puts all the overclocking bits.


There's quite a bit to cover here. Front-side bus is adjustable from 100-300MHz in 1MHz increments. Multiplier control is available as well, provided your processor is unlocked. As mentioned earlier, there is a wide variety of FSB:DRAM ratios. Finally, there are settings for north bridge voltage as well as the more common CPU, DDR and AGP voltages.

An interesting addition is the "OC on the Fly" option. According to the manual, you can make changes to either the "external clock" or "voltage" configurations, then press F8 to have those changes take effect immediately. Either that, or "OC on the Fly" is some new slang term. Word up.


The CPU voltage is especially impressive, as it ranges from 1.375V all the way up to 2.313V. This is an exceptionally high maximum CPU voltage, so overclockers with watercoolers or a Vapochill may find the AN7 very attractive. And no, I'm not sure why Abit chose .031V increments.


Here is a shot of the fan monitoring in the AN7 BIOS. It shows you the speed of the fans, it has an option to shut the system down if the CPU fan fails, it's all fairly typical. This, on the other hand...


... isn't very typical at all. These are the FanEQ settings, which let you adjust the speed of the CPU and north bridge fans by adjusting the minimum and maximum voltage for each, anywhere from 8V to 12V (12V is the typical voltage for CPU fans). Basically, you choose a low and high temperature and voltage. The system will run the fans at the minimum voltage until the low temperature is reached, at which point it will gradually ramp the fan voltage up until it reaches the maximum voltage at the high temperature. The lower voltage really makes a difference on the noise level of the fans, and these settings offer a lot of granularity. By way of comparison, Shuttle's cubes let you set a temperature at which the system fan goes from low to high, but I believe the cubes typically just cycle between the two fan speeds, rather than ramping gradually between them.

Now that we've looked at the AN7 BIOS, let's take a quick peek at some of the software utilities Abit has included.