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Review: Biostar M7MKA Motherboard

by David Ross on 1 March 2000, 00:00

Tags: Biostar

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaq

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Biostar M7MKA Motherboard

Tech Specs:
-Single Slot A AMD Athlon Module 500Mhz or Higher Slot.
-200Mhz System Interface Speed
-3 Dimm Slots (supports 768MB of PC100/133 SDRam)
-2 16Bit ISA Slots
-5 PCI Slots
-1 AGP Slot

-Size: 30.48cm * 21.3cm

Bundled Software:
-Norton Ghost
-Norton Antivirus

On Board Hardware Monitor
-CPU Temperature
-CPU Fan Speed Monitor
-System Temperature monitor

Tested with:
AMD Athlon CPU 650Core, Voodoo 3 3000, 128MB PC133 Ram, AOpen 300W PSU

This motherboard is very large is it 30.48 cm * 21.3 cm, not as big as an Abit Bp6 but very big compared to my Asus P3B-F. As biostar are not a large make like Asus, or Abit I had no prior impressions bar what I had got from reading on the news groups and message boards was that it would be a hard system to build with a lot of people having problems, all I can say is what a wrong impression this builds up, this board was perhaps the easiest motherboard and system I have built, within an hour of it being here I had the system up and running windows doing burn in tests and over clocking it.

On the motherboard near the Slot A connection there are 4 heat sinks which stick up, these are quite lose and don't seem to do much, if they were held on tighter they would have a much better effect on the cooling of the power down over the slot A bus.

I put this motherboard in to my AOpen ATX case and built the system, it was an easy motherboard to install and I believe that any novice could install it. I installed the CPU and then powered up. It powered up 1st time, then I went in to the bios and had a look around it is a standard Award Bios which we are used to seeing on most of the motherboards today, so I changed all the necessaries and booted the system, In my pc I have a removable hard drive bay which I have my win2k drive in. but I would have to reinstall win2k before I could use it, so I booted my windows 98 drive and sure enough in a matter of seconds I was in windows reinstalling all the drivers. The system didn't need to be reinstalled (I did reinstall the system later on as I wanted to remove all of the old system files from the other motherboard.)

The motherboard is very stable in windows and seems not to have any flaws, it is very happy to have over clocked CPU, which use the gold finger device on the Athlon, as I was able to get to 750 with a Free Speed Pro without any problems. So far since having it installed in my system I have had no problems with it, bar the overheating of the Athlon which hits the 41 degrees mark at some point and the system becomes unstable, the reason for this occurring is due to the poor heat sink and lack of thermal compound I have on the CPU, it has an OEM heat sink. I wanted to test how far I could over clock with a normal heat sink on this system as not everyone has access to the cooling which is preferred by overclockers (Global Win range, water coolers and Tec's)

I would recommend this motherboard to anyone who wants a cheap Athlon over clocked system; there is no need to go for a KX133 unless you need the 4X Agp and the higher bus rates. This motherboard is superb and very good value.

The Biostar Main board is the best over clocking friendly AMD board that we've seen. With 5 PCI slots, 2 ISA and 3 DIMM slots, it is great for people who are planning to expand. The board fitted into my AOpen HX08 chassis without problems. It is slightly bigger than a normal motherboard (Like Abit, AOpen Pentium 2 boards etc). The size wasn't a huge problem and it was a very nice motherboard to use.

Included with the motherboard where bundles of Ghost and Norton Anti Virus both of which are highly useful programs in today's world, which are definitely useful for you for free with a motherboard, the motherboard also comes with a good manual telling users exactly how to install in to there system and how to set it up so if you are ever unsure then this manual sure does help you. The Motherboard also comes with a UDMA66 Cable, a UDMA33 Cable and a Floppy Cable.

The stabilty of this motherboard will be in the 2nd Part of the Review once we have put it through a month of testing, but intial thoughts are of a very good quality, value and highly stable motherboard.

Pros:
-Stable Motherboard
-Easy to Fit and Config
-Can support over clocked CPUs
-Cheap and Good Value

Cons:
-The Heat sinks near the Slot A are very large and lose
-The Flash screen gets annoying after a while
-Some People having Problems with PSU with Athlon

The M7MKA earned the hexus.com Mark of Approval, with a score of 4/5; this is a must for all gamers, who want an Athlon System!



Editor: Storm