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ABIT KV8 Pro-3rd Eye ABIT KV8 Pro-3rd Eye: VIA's latest makes its way to the Socket 754 platform. How does it fair against the rest?
Date: November 12, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

Overclocking

While we've had all kinds of problems overclocking K8T800 based motherboards in the past, we ran into no such trouble with the K8T800 Pro boards thus far. The ABIT KV8 Pro-3rd Eye was no exception, and goes to show that a working AGP lock can go a long way in getting to a stable overclock. Armed with a Koolance EXOS-Al configured to Mode 3, we were able to bump up our FSB to 242MHz. The system was rock solid at this setting, though after about 15 minutes, we experienced some odd lockups. Setting the CPU voltage to 1.65v resolved the issue.

We did manage to POST at 260FSB, but no amount of voltage tweaking allowed us to get into Windows. FSBs between 243 - 259 were met with varying levels of success, but 242FSB seemed to be the sweet spot.

Final Words

While the KV8 Pro-3rd Eye lacks some of the bells and whistles of the more expensive boards, we'll have to admit that it met and exceeded our expectations. At just under without the µGuru Clock, you'll be hard pressed to find another board this fast, this tweaker friendly and this stable.

The K8T800 Pro did itself well by allowing the AGP ratio to be locked down now, and coupled with the work of ABIT's engineers, the BIOS options leave little to be desired, providing almost every user adjustment we can think of.

The onboard peripherals were of decent quality, though naturally, given the price, some corners had to be cut. You will not find a third party RAID controller here, and although the VT8237 is quite capable, if you're looking to stack 10 hard drives into your PC, this isn't the motherboard to do it with unless you spring for some PCI controllers. While 2 DIMM slots are fine for most users, we would have liked to have seen one or two more added. We didn't go too deeply into the onboard LAN and audio, but both worked well and there are no problems to report.

While I would like to say that the out of the box experience was perfect, that was not quite the case. As with all VIA based motherboards with the VT8237 South Bridge, there is no native SATA support. Unless you've slipstreamed these drivers into your Windows CD, you're still going to need to keep the floppy drive handy if you have any desire in using the SATA controller to install Windows. Pressing F6 during Windows setup for RAID is a given for any platform, but it's a bit irritating for myself personally to have to do this for a single drive. While this is not what I would consider a problem, it is an inconvenience. It was also a shame we were unable to make use of the µGuru Clock as it was broken right off the bat.

While the above was superficial, one real problem we have, in terms of the layout of the board, is the location of the CMOS reset jumper. While calling it a problem is a bit of an overstatement, it is an inconvenience to get to if you have a full sized video card installed. Needle nose pliers will work, but normal sized handed people will likely need to remove the video card prior to resetting the jumper.

Outside of those problems, the KV8 Pro was trouble free. Overclocking went very well, and the board was very stable once we settled on our desired overclock. While it wasn't looking good for the KV8 Pro at first in our synthetic benchmarks, once the real world benchmarks started, the KV8 Pro pulled ahead. This was especially apparent in gaming, and given the price of the board, you should have a bit of money to put towards a decent video card.

Pros: Great performer, and good overclocker. Stable. Well designed BIOS.

Cons: No native SATA support. Poor CMOS jumper placement.

Bottom Line: The KV8 Pro-3rd Eye is a solid offering from ABIT, and it will serve you well if you're looking into building a fast and solid box without breaking the bank.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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