Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Ultra - Page 8

..:: Conclusion ::..

Well, we’ve seen all that the Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Ultra has to offer, and as usual it is now time to round it all up into a nice summary and call it a day. Let’s start off with the stability. The overall stability of the system was very good. We only experienced one random crash throughout the testing period, and the board was fairly stable even when pushed beyond its limits. I suspect that the one crash we did experience was due to some of my RAM tweaking, although I have yet been able to duplicate said error with the memory timings I was utilizing at the time. I have been running multiple distributed computing programs in the background while gaming and doing other processor intensive things for several days non-stop and have had no crashes, glitches, or twitches, with exception to the one previously mentioned case. Overall, the GA-7VAXP Ultra performed very stably and gave us very few problems.

The design of the GA-7VAXP Ultra is one of the cleanest we have come across, although it does indeed bring about some issues of note. My only main complaints deal with the fact that the Northbridge is located very close to the bottom edge of the processor socket and can make it a bit of an annoyance when mounting a larger heatsink unit. Another complaint that stems from this area is the lack of the four mounting holes for larger heatsinks such as the Swiftech’s or the Alpha’s. This will make those users quickly shy away from the GA-7VAXP Ultra as a plausible investment. The only other problem I have with the board is the lack of a three-pin power connector along the bottom portion of the board. All of these power connectors are located at the top of the motherboard, and if you happen to be using a graphics cooler that needs a three-pin connection you better have a long power cable or you’re going to run into some reach problems.

The GA-7VAXP Ultra comes along with what could easily be the best package / feature set that we have ever seen here in the MBReview labs. Our test sample came outfitted with everything and the kitchen sink. Did I mention that the sink was gold plated? Considering the current pricing of the GA-7VAXP Ultra, the amount of features packed onto the motherboard will as always be an important factor in the end users purchasing decision. I have seen this board selling as low as $128.00 USD for the fully equipped version. If you’re shopping for the best possible value, then this board would currently be one of my top choices, no doubt. Budget buyers, or those of you looking for a feature packed motherboard, make sure to add the GA-7VAXP Ultra to your list of considerations when you go to purchase that new motherboard. If you’re waiting for the KT400A chipset, well then, we’ll have to see what the next Gigabyte motherboard has to offer first.

The BIOS that comes along with the GA-7VAXP Ultra is fairly nice. Gigabyte does offer a large amount of memory tweaking options as far as timings go, and the BIOS also allows for manipulation of the AGP, DIMM, and CPU voltages. The main problem that I have with this BIOS is the lack of a multiplier adjustment option. Gigabyte has included a DIP switch block on the mainboard itself, but no option within the BIOS itself to switch the multiplier. It can really be a big pain to keep flipping switches when you’re trying to tweak out your system for the highest possible level of performance. Some of you might be thinking that they don’t need an option for this in the BIOS. Well, all I can say is, I partially agree with you too. Given that this board only allows FSB frequencies up to 165MHz, you won’t be doing much FSB tweaking at all with this motherboard. If you’re an overclocker, then this probably isn’t the board that should be topping your list.

Well, to sum things up I’m putting the GA-7VAXP Ultra on my recommended list for those of you looking for good performance at a more than fair price. If you’re looking to do some heavy overclocking, I don’t think this is the board for you, although as usual, I’m sure you already figured that one out on your own. I was a bit impressed by how well the GA-7VAXP Ultra was able to keep up pace with the Leadtek nForce2 motherboard. The latest Hyperion drivers from VIA have added a little extra kick to the KT400 chipset. With the upcoming release of the new KT400A chipset, NVIDIA will have to stay on its toes and work some of its well known driver magic to keep ahead of the KT400A, or possibly just to keep up with it. If you’re looking for the a nice mix of performance, stability, and features, I’d recommend the GA-7VAXP Ultra to you. With a going price of around $128.00+ USD, we’re talking about a great deal here. If you’re interested in taking a look at the prices for the GA-7VAXP Ultra, just click here to do so. The Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Ultra has earned a total of 91 points, enough to earn it the Editor’s Choice Award. I’d like to thank Gigabyte for all their help in supplying the motherboard for review, and thanks to all of you for reading! We hope to see you dropping by our website and forums in the future!

Stability: 9.0
Design: 9.0
Features: 10.0
BIOS / Overclocking: 8.5
Performance: 9.0
Total: 91 Points