Gigabyte GA-7VT600-L - Page 8

..:: Gigabyte GA-7VT600-L Conclusion ::..

Now comes the time where we look at everything the Gigabyte 7VT600-L motherboard has going for it and make our final judgment call. First and foremost, let's talk about the stability. We can say that without a doubt, the stability of the 7VT600-L is a solid foundation for any computer system. We did not experience one single crash during normal benchmarking or torture tests. The motherboard ran flawlessly right out of the box.

The 7VT600-L may look pretty with the usual Gigabyte color scheme, but the overall design and layout of the motherboard is very disappointing. One of our biggest complaints is with the memory/AGP issue. All three memory banks can easily be blocked with the required use of a video card in the AGP slot. Another big issue is with the two large capacitors that are situated around the processor socket. It will easily prevent you from using a large heatsink. Furthermore, the placement of the IDE connectors can create two more additional problems. Since these connectors are placed near the bottom of the board, the IDE cable may not reach drives that are installed at the top of the case. If you have a long PCI card in the fifth PCI slot, removing the IDE cable will require you to uninstall the PCI card as well. I think Gigabyte should have stuck to the layout of their high-end KT600 offering (the 7VT600-1394) and take out all of the integrated features that the 7VT600-1394 motherboard is equipped with to resemble the features found on the 7VT600-L.

The 7VT600-L is a motherboard targeted at consumers with a low budget, so Gigabyte decided not to include many integrated features on this motherboard. The 7VT600-L does not even take advantage of the native SATA feature found in the VIA VT8237 southbridge. It does, however, provide the consumer with support for the new 400MHz FSB processors from AMD.

The BIOS for the 7VT600-L has a good amount of tweaking options for the consumer hunting for a budget AMD motherboard. Just make sure that you enable the hidden BIOS features and settings by pressing the Ctrl+F1 key combination when you are at the main menu. We wish that processor multiplier selections could be present on the 7VT600-L, but they are not.

Overclocking our hardware with the 7VT600-L was surprising and exciting. This was the first time we were able to overclock the FSB to a new level on a VIA chipset based motherboard. However, most users will probably not be able to duplicate the same results that we achieved since we used an air conditioner. Only time will tell if this feat was accomplished by luck, or with the skillful engineering from VIA or Gigabyte. We can only hope that manufacturers will send us their KT600 solutions in the near future so we can show our dedicated readers some more overclocking results with motherboards using this chipset.

The VIA FastStream64 enhanced memory controller is a nice step up from their previous chipsets. Not all of your applications will benefit from this single-channel solution, but it will give you the ability to keep up with the slightly faster dual-channel nForce2 chipset and also save you some money from purchasing an extra memory module.

To sum up the results, we are placing the 7VT600-L on our recommended list for budget buyers. If you are in the market for a low cost KT600 motherboard for your next upgrade that has support for AMD processors with a 400MHz FSB, the Gigabyte 7VT600-L will be hard to resist, especially at it's current price point of only a mere $72.00 or so from several reputable online retailers.

- Stability: 20/20
- Design: 13/20
- Features: 14/20
- BIOS: 8/10
- Overclocking: 8/10
- Performance: 17/20
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Total: 80/100 Points - Average