The ASUS K7V
K7M part deux
ASUS first Slot A Athlon product - the K7M - won a devout following among the Athlon community for its wide range of overclocking settings and features in general. While most companies were using the reference design in their Athlon products, ASUS was the innovator with the K7M.
This leadership position is nothing new for ASUS. Over the years ASUS has built a solid reputation for producing high-quality dependable motherboards end users can count on. As a result, ASUS has grown to become the largest Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer.
While the K7M is an excellent motherboard, many consumers chose to hold out on purchasing an Athlon system until issues related to the chipset were resolved. Early steppings of the AMD 750 chipset didn't work with some GeForce 256 cards in AGP 2X mode, and performance-enhancing features like Super Bypass (which is now enabled on newer steppings of the 750 chipset) weren't available on early Athlon motherboards.
In addition, some users wanted a motherboard with support for AGP 4X graphics and 133MHz memory bus operation. These features weren't available from the 750 chipset. With the introduction of VIA's KX133 chipset, however, all the above problems have been resolved.
Like the Apollo Pro133 and Apollo Pro133A chipsets, the KX133 features an asynchronous memory bus. This means that the memory bus speed can be set independent of the front side bus of the system. As a result, the memory bus can be operating at 133MHz while the front side bus still operates at 200MHz. (The actual clock is running at 100MHz with memory reads and writes occurring on both edges of each clock cycle effectively running at 200MHz.)
As mentioned earlier, KX133 also fully supports AGP 4X. While today's games don't take advantage of AGP 4X, it's still a nice feature to have for next-generation games and video accelerators.
VIAs KX133 chipset was originally planned to ship shortly after the Athlon launch last summer. While it began sampling to motherboard manufacturers last year, KX133 wasn't available in quantity until the opening months of 2000.
Now that it's here, numerous motherboard manufacturers have plans to release products based on the KX133 chipset. While it may not be the first KX133 product on the market, the K7V has been highly anticipated from the Athlon community, as it is the successor to the K7M. Does the K7V live up to its predecessor? Read on to find out!