Single page Print

Abit's BH7 motherboard

Rekindling an old flame

Manufacturer Abit
Model BH7
Price (street) US$83
Availability Now

AMONG ENTHUSIASTS, Abit's BH6 is probably the most revered motherboard of all time. The BH6 was an overclocker's dream in its day, and even today, many original BH6s are purring happily along, a testament to board's robust BX chipset and unwavering stability.

One could say the BH6 set the standard for enthusiast-oriented motherboards back in the day. Since then, many of its features have been copied and become the norm, improving the motherboard market as a whole, but making it more difficult for individual manufacturers to differentiate themselves.

Considering the BH6's legacy, I was a little surprised to see Abit bring back the legendary "BH" name for the BH7, their latest overclocking and enthusiast-oriented motherboard. With a name that invokes such poignant memories, the BH7 has some big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Abit has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Instead of throwing all sorts of integrated peripherals on the board, Abit has taken a more minimalist approach with the BH7 and focused on component quality and overclocking features. The board is based on Intel's 845PE chipset, but Abit claims the BH7 will work with the latest processors designed for Intel's new 800MHz front-side bus. With its minimalist design, Abit has certainly produced a unique motherboard in the BH7, but does it live up to BH6's legacy? Read on to find out.

The specs
Before posing the board for some pictures, let's take a quick look at the spec sheet.

CPU support Socket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors
Form factor ATX
Chipset Intel 845PE
North bridge Intel 82845PE
South bridge Intel 82801DB
Interconnect Intel Hub Architecture (266MB/s)
PCI slots 5 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1, 2X/4X AGP (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slots None
Memory 3 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 2GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Serial ATA 1 channel SATA 150 via Marvel 88i8030 bridge controller
Legacy ports 1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports
USB 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via 5.25" bay expansion header
Firewire None
Audio 6-channel audio via ICH4 south bridge/ALC650 codec
analog front, rear, and center output
mic and line in inputs
digital S/PDIF input/outputs
Video none
Ethernet 10/100 Fast Ethernet via RealTek RTL8101L
BIOS Award
Bus speeds 100-250MHz in 1MHz increments
Bus dividers PCI: 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 and fixed 33, 37, or 44MHz
DRAM: 1:1, 4:5 (3:4 available through low H/W strap setting)
Voltages CPU: default+5%-default+30% in 5% increments
DRAM: 2.55-3.05V in 0.05V increments
AGP: 1.6 and 1.6V
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

Lately, motherboards that integrate every peripheral device known to man have been all the rage. The BH7 isn't one of those boards. The board has no integrated RAID controller, only one Serial ATA channel, and no support for Firewire devices. One could, of course, add RAID, Firewire, and more robust Serial ATA support with add-in PCI cards. Hardcore enthusiasts tend to be picky about such things, anyway. We generally eschew cheaper integrated components, especially when it comes to features like audio and RAID.