Tyan Thunder K7 Motherboard Review

Reviewer: Dan Smith
Category: 
Motherboards
Model: 
K7
Price: 
$202

When the specs for the first Athlons were released I was pretty stoked. SMP capability! I had been using the K62 line in my home PCs for a while and was fairly pleased with their performance. What I really lusted for was a low cost multi-processor system. I thought that the AMD Athlon would fulfill my fantasies. Well I was dead wrong!

It appeared that AMD had a different plan...the Palamino. Well that's marketing for you. Anyway, Tyan was the first to release a SMP Socket A motherboard. I actually had this motherboard for a few months now and just got around to using it. Most of the other major motherboard manufacturers are just about ready to release their versions of the Dual Athlon early this year.

Features

CPUs

  • AMD Athlon MP (Palamino Core) Athlon MP 1GHz -1.2GHz and Athlon MP 1500+ - 1800+
  • AMD Duron (Yes I said Duron, Palomino Core) 1GHz - 1.2GHz. I'm not sure about the 1.3GHz
  • Dual PGA462 Ziff Sockets
  • 200Mhz and 266Mhz Bus Speeds

Chipset

  • AMD-760 MP chipset
  • AMD-762 North Bridge and AMD-766 South Bridge
  • Winbond W83627HF Super I/O ASIC

Memory

  • Four 2.5V 184-pin Registered DDR DIMM Sockets
  • 25 Degree Angled sockets (Making this motherboard rackmount capable)
  • Supports up to 3GB PC 2100 Registered DDR RAM
  • ECC Support

Miscellaneous

  • Optional Integrated SCSI
  • 2 Integrated LAN (3COM 3C920 LAN Controllers)
  • Integrated Graphics (ATI Rage XL with 4MB SDRAM)
  • Onboard AGP Pro Slot (To bypass the onboard video)
  • 32 /64bit PCI (6 Total usable slots including the AGP slot)
  • Phoenix BIOS 4MB Flash ROM

Board Layout

The layout of this motherboard is pretty good. Two things though come to mind. First you will probably want a full tower case. Second it should be fairly wide. I put the motherboard into an Antec Full Tower (SX840) case and wished I had something really wide, like a high-end server case. The lack of ISA slots is pretty much a standard nowadays. I don't use them so I really don't care. The 32/64bit PCI slots was really great as was the AGP slot. I personally didn't fancy being stuck with only a 4MB video card. Although registered DDR memory is the best solution I don't like being stuck with it. This makes it useful for a small server or a high-end workstation. The average home user or gamer should just wait for the new boards from the other manufacturers. This also applies to the rather expensive power supplies used (IE the Antec PP-510D 510Watt Power Supply). The other manufacturers should be using something more reasonable on the wallet. If the DIMM slots were not angled I would have problems. The internal drive cage would definitely be in the way.

CPU Time

Yes. After doing some online research I had found people who successfully ran dual Durons on this motherboard. The trick is you can only use AMD Durons using the Palamino core (1GHz and up). With this motherboard only a 200Mhz FSB is possible when using the Durons. This board just does not overclock very nicely. Here is the real downer. AMD is going to fix the future Durons so this will not be possible. Marketing again huh? What a real drag! But I can personally attest that 1GHz Durons do work on this board in a SMP configuration.

Conclusion

The Tyan Thunder K7 (S2462) motherboard is a really good, stable motherboard. I had no problems getting it to run under Red Hat Linux 7.2 and the 2.4.17 kernel. It ran like a breeze. I have only two complaints. First is the forced use of registered DDR RAM. Secondly is the use of a rather pricey power supply. Other than those two issues it is a great board for servers or workstations. The average home user should wait for other manufactures to release their SMP Athlon boards. These should have regular DDR memory support and the use of standard ATX power supplies.

Conclusion

The Good - Pros
  • Great performance
  • Rack-mount ready
  • Can run Palamino core Durons
  • Decent price now
The Bad - Cons
  • Registered DDR RAM only
The Ugly - Problems
  • N/A
The Verdict - Opinion
  • Overall great, stable motherboard. Best if used for servers and workstations.

Innovation: 
4/5
Performance: 
5/5
Compatibility: 
4/5
Cost / Value: 
3/5

16/20

Overall score


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