Abit NF7-S Revision 2.0
Okay - now I'm not knocking this board as the 4 of these that I have, all have been excellent performers with great features . Alas, I have noticed a few things on this motherboard that you should duely note and take a good read of before trying to use this motherboard.
Abit use the legendary Silicon Image SI 3112 controller on this motherboard. To install the SATA so you can install windows upon the drive, you need to boot via the windows CD (if applicable) or startup floppy discs and then press F6 with the sata driver disc in the floppy drive in order to load the "3rd party driver" and for windows to see the SATA drive. Early versions of this motherboard did have a tendancy to cause a little bit of corruption hence the multitude of bios updates when this board was first released.
Recently, Abit have released bioses 21 and 22 (prefix of D ) for the Abit NF7-S (2.0) and all these do have an issue with the SATA RAID configuration. You can start the install process and copy the installation files from windows across, but when you reboot and try to load the next stage, the system basically hangs. Various posts indicate that this is a SATA bios corruption on the update and installing BIOS 20 will solve this until Abit release a fixed version. For updated drivers for the SI3112 please visit www.siliconimage.com or visit windowsupdate for the latest versions. It is also a good idea to set the EXT-P2P's Discard Time in the BIOS to 1ms, and implement KB331958 from Windows update, as this too cures the SATA corruption that occurs.
To get the best out of the Abit motherboard, it is suggested that you use 2 sticks of good quality grade memory and place them in banks 1 & 3 ( or 2 & 3 ) to enable dual DDR mode. If you are having stability issues then please check the memory timings in the bios to see if they are running @ 6/6, 5/5, 4/4, 3/3 as this means the system buses are running in synchronous mode rather than asynchronous mode. many people also state and prove evidence that running timings such as 11-3-2-2.0 increase the memory bandwidth in the system and provide higher scores in such benchmarks such as sisoft SANDRA. If you are looking to increase the system speed over the certified values, then increasing the memory vcore voltage in the bios sometimes helps with pushing it a few extra Mhz.
Abit have released a tool known as flashmenu. What this program does is basically updates the bios via a "one click" windows update. When doing this it is recommended that you have the system running at the most stable configuration with the CPU and memory speeds at stock speeds rather than "overclocking" as a crash while doing this can render your motherboard dead. To get the lastest updated version of the flashmenu software which supports more boards than the above NF7-S then please visit the following url ;
You can also update the BIOS by the old fashioned method of using a DOS based flashing program, with the newer versions avalible from www.abit-usa.com.
If you are to use the flashmenu software, it is advisable to do the process in a "step by step" routine rather than in 1 general click and update as this doesn't leave you open to the risk of your connection dying and loosing the bios information when flashing.
OTHER MISCELLANOUS INFORMATION.
The NF7-S uses a "special" driver for the IDE bus to gain more speed on IDE devices and data throughput. This driver is known to cause a few issues with devices such as IDE ZIP discs, DVDR/RW drives and even some CD-RW drives. You can tell if you have this driver installed by going to the system information and checking the devices in device manager. If the nvidia driver is installed it will say that the IDE driver is called "NVIDIA NFORCE2 MCP2 IDE CONTROLLER". You can change the driver to a microsoft "certified" driver that comes with your operating system to see if this fixes this issue - 99% of the time it does.
If you have installed SP1 (windows XP only) and your system feels sluggish, please check that the IDE devices are not running in PIO mode. If this is the case, simply delete them from device manager and reboot the system. This usually fixes this issue and it mainly occurs with various optical drives such as DVD-R/RW drives.
If you are using an older operating system such as Windows 98/98SE and ME and have over 512 Mb of memory installed, you may sometimes get an "out of memory" notice on your system. This is not a bug on the motherboard, rather the operating system or drivers. For more information Microsoft have nicely created this page for you all to see http://support.microsoft.com/support.../Q253/9/12.ASP
If you are "overclocking" and raise the system to a speed it cannot support via the BIOS, it will hang the system once the BIOS has been saved. To remedy this press the reset button while keeping pressed the "insert" key and this will load the failsafe settings and allow you back into the bios so you can adjust them again.
USB 2 SUPPORT
USB2 support is only enabled once you have installed the XP service pack 1 and the motherboard drivers that come with the motherboard. For the lastest "nforce" drivers visit http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp and select "platform/nforce drivers". Here you can get the nvidia system utility that allows speed changes within windows. For this to function correctly you will need to visit the Abit site for an updated file that will allow this program to work with this board.
ONBOARD SOUND INFORMATION
many people have found that their sound "crackles" when using the onboard sound after a while and during intensive scenarios such as "gaming" or just using the system for a few hours. Reports suggest that this is down to the southbridge controller getting too hot and therefore causing this too occur. Please check that there is adequate cooling in the system i.e remove the side panel and test to see if this is the case. Updating the sound drivers with the lastest from nvidia can also remedy this problem, so check them out as well. While on the subject of sound, if you are using 5.1 surround sound then place the 3 plugs from the speakers into the following holes and colours.
black ---> black
Asus knew about this and provided a tool to swap the plugs for their range of motherboards, but as yet Abit have yet to release a version of this software for their range of board.
While I'm on about the onboard sound. Many people ask what this soundcard would be if it was to be a PCI card. On many aspects its exactly the same as the Audigy range from creative but it uses less system resources and the drivers behave better. Speaking of drivers, if you update them via the nvidia website please do not use the detected update on windowsupdate as this is an older version and you may lose access to the "soundstorm" control panel.
BIOS BEEP CODES
For the first time builder, the beep codes will be majorly frightening. Here is a quick list of the different tones you will hear and what they mean.
One Beep :: system is operating within parameters.
One long beep then machine shuts down :: this indicates either a faulty or missing CPU. Please investigate this issue at once.
1 short(Beep) - System booting is normally
2 short(Beep) - CMOS setting error. Enter the bios and try resaving the settings again to see if this fixes the issue. If this still occurs then check the CMOS battery is seated corrected.
1 long - 1 short(Beep) - Memory Error - If this occurs then download memtest386 from www.memtest386.com and burn the ISO version to a CDROM. Once this is done boot the system and choose the first boot device as CDROM, save the bios and insert the memtest CDROM. Allow at least 7 hours for the system to test all the memory with various tests to see if it is working correctly
1 long - 2 short(Beep) - VGA problem - check that the card is seated in the AGP port correctly and that the monitor is securely fastened to the card.
1 long - 3 short(Beep) - Keyboard Error Please check that this is inserted into the correct PS/2 Connection ( or USB ) and retry.
1 long - 9 short(Beep) - ROM Error
Long Beep (continuous) - Memory isn't inserted correctly - please remove all memory modules and reseat them in the memory banks.
Short(Beep) continuous - POWER supply issue - Please check this is the case with another PSU connected to the motherboard and that all the connections are connected to the motherboard correctly
A two-tone siren(like an ambulance) - This is caused by "overclocking" the voltages to a setting that the system cannot support. Please press insert and the reset button to reboot back to factory settings. This is also caused by overheating, and if this is the case, allow suitable ventilation for the system.
For more information and advice about various topics on this motherboard, please visit the Abit website at http://www.abit-usa.com and also their forums there as they have a multitude of people who like to help solve peoples issues and any problems with the Abit motherboards. I hope this has been some use to at least 1 person out there, because if it has then its been worth while typing this up. Any other information and issues found with this board will be added to this list in the future