ECS K7VTA3 VIA KT266A socket A DDR

Wednesday, December 19, 2001


Introduction

It's been sometime since we've reviewed an ECS board, so today is quite the occasion.

Though they aren't well-known to the public, ECS is a prolific manufacturer, with an impressive catalog to match. This time around, they've sent us their K7VTA3 mobo, which is based on the recently released VIA KT266A chipset. Because it was designed specifically for compatibility with the AMD Athlon XP, the KT266A is one of the fastest chipsets ever released by VIA inc - something which left us quite anxious to put the K7VTA3 through the motions.

So, let's say we do just that...

Characteristics of the ECS K7VTA3
CPU
462pin Socket A supports AMD® K7 processors
Full series of Athlon XP / Athlon / Duron processors
Chipset
VIA KT266A VT8366A + VT8233
Form factor
ATX 30.4cm X 22cm
Expansion
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 6 USB
Memory
3X 184-pin DIMM 3Gb DDR SDRAM PC1600 - PC2100
FSB
100MHz, 120MHz, 133MHz 140MHz, and 150MHz
Vcore adj.
NA
Vio adj.
NA
Audio chipset
integrated into chipset


Configuration

Though it isn't designed to be an Overclocker's board - or perhaps because of it - the K7VTA3 is quite simple to set-up. In effect, this reflects the fact that most of ECS' boards are ultimately destined for the OEM & assembler markets.

On the board itself, there are a few processor-related jumpers to be found. JP3, for instance, can be used to set the FSB to either 100MHz or 133MHz. Jumper JP4, on the other hand, can be used to set the BIOS voltage to either 5v or 3.3v. As for the others, they are used to determine the settings of a variety of functions that aren't directly related to the CPU, and so we won't cover them here.

Within the BIOS, adjustment of the FSB frequency can be accomplished from within the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu, though the selection is somewhat retrained: 100MHz, 120MHz, 133MHz, 140MHz, or 150MHz.

Further investigation, however, reveals that no options are given for adjusting either the clock multiplier, or the Vcore voltage.

On the other hand, the usual gambit of memory tweaking options (CAS, Bank Interleave, command rate, etc.) are present within the "Advanced Chipset Features", which also includes the ability to set the independent memory bus to 100MHz (200MHz DDR), 133MHz (266MHz DDR).

Index:

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