Abit NF7-S Motherboard Installation Notes
Last updated: 10/22/04
This article will show you how to solve stability and other problems that may be encountered when installing the Abit NF7-S version 2 and other Nividia nForce2, AMD socket A motherboards. The Abit NF7-S Version 2 motherboard is very stable when installed with quality components and configured correctly.
The computer used for this article has an AMD Athlon XP 1900+ processor with a 266 MHz front side bus (FSB) and 512 MBytes of Crucial 333 MHz DDR memory. The basic motherboard, memory, and CPU installation is similar to the procedures used to install the Abit KX7-333R Motherboard. We installed Windows XP Pro and Service Pack 2 (SP2).
1. BIOS. Because of the stability problems we encountered, we flashed the motherboard BIOS in an attempt to fix them. It didn't. We did not revert to the BIOS version that was originally installed. The BIOS was flashed to version 25 dated 07/06/04 and released 07/28/04. Be sure to use the BIOS for your version of the motherboard. Also, the Abit NF7-S2 motherboard is not the same motherboard as the NF7-S Version 2.
2. Old Display Adapters. This motherboard will not work with old 1X/2X/3.3 volt display adapters. If you have a 2X/4X board and the computer does not boot, jumper it for 4X. Even so, there were some boot-up stability problems I thought were related to the old Diamond Stealth III S540 display adapter (S3 Savage4 Pro chipset) that was installed. A
new VisionTek Xtasy 9200 SE 128MB display adapter was installed and those problems disappeared.
3. Memory. Always use major brand-name memory (Crucial,
OCZ, Mushkin, Corsair, Kingston). Always observe anti-static precautions when installing it. The NF7-S is fussy about which DIMM sockets the memory is installed in. The CD-ROM version of the User Manual states:
- Install DDR SDRAM modules in series from DIMM3 to DIMM1 sockets.
- When installing two PC3200 modules, install them in DIMM3 and DIMM2.
You won't find this in the hard copy of the User Manual and it is rather backwards from conventional logic. It does make a difference.
The default CMOS Setup memory timing settings are too fast for the memory most people would purchase for this motherboard. If left as they are, the motherboard will likely freeze-up randomly, if it works at all. Check you memory specifications and set them accordingly. The followings settings in the Advanced Chipset Features worked for the Crucial memory we installed:
- Row-active delay 11
- RAS-to-CAS delay 3
- Row-precharge delay 3
- CAS latency time 2.5
The default CAS latency time of 2.0 will glitch most memory sold for PCs. The Row-active delay setting is a higher number than that specified for the memory we used and that of many other memory modules, but should result a faster system than the specified value.
4. Frontside Bus (FSB) and Memory Bus Synchronization. AMD Athlon processors use separate FSB and memory buses. For greater stability, both should be set to the slower of the two, processor (FSB) and memory. Very little performance is gained by setting them otherwise.
5. IDE Drivers. If you experience disk drive problems, you may have to install the Windows IDE driver instead of Nvidia IDE driver. We had problems with the Nvidia driver and are now using the Windows XP driver. The Nvidia driver setup has an option for installing the Windows driver.
Next - Other Potential Problems