Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Ultra - Page 3

..:: Layout: Socket Area ::..

As we here at MBReview always like to do in our motherboard reviews, we’ll now take a good look at the design of the Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Ultra, starting off with the socket area, and moving around the PCB in a counter-clockwise direction. The apple green processor socket itself is oriented lengthwise from north to south slightly displaced down from the top edge of the PCB. This apple green color represents the fact that the board will support the latest 333MHz FSB AthlonXP processors. One item of major note for users of the larger bolt on heatsinks such as the Swiftech’s or Alpha’s is that the GA-7VAXP Ultra does not have the four mounting holes around the processor socket. This is probably a downer for many users, although as we will see later on, those looking to do heavy overclocking may want to look elsewhere anyway. The one positive item to note is that Gigabyte has placed small protective strips underneath the socket lugs so you won’t risk scratching the PCB or cutting traces when mounting your heatsink.

If we take a look towards the upper right hand corner of the processor socket, we’ll come across two larger capacitors, along with two beige three-pin power connectors. The first connector on the left is for the processor fan, while the second connector to its right is for a regular system fan. This area around the socket is rather clean with only the two large capacitors, although as we can see from the silk screening on the PCB, there are several other places for more capacitors to be added, or for these capacitors to be moved to. These capacitors will not interfere with mounting your heatsink though as they are a good distance away from the socket, and as previously stated, there are no mounting holes for your larger heatsink units.

Unlike what we are used to seeing, the area to the left of the processor socket, the area between the rear I/O ports and the socket area, is very clean and clear of any major electrical components. The processor socket on the GA-7VAXP Ultra is placed slightly more to the left than on other motherboards, so the mass of components have been placed slightly lower on the board. In this space however, we can see that there is one DIP switch block. This is for externally setting the multiplier. Now, the key point to note is that there is no way to adjust the multiplier from the BIOS, so if you’re planning on tweaking your system, you’ll have to look forward to constantly flipping the switches to tweak the multiplier. Not something I usually look forward to when I am overclocking.