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AMD - Gigabyte 7VT600-L

Gigabyte is one of the top five motherboard manufacturers in the world, and along with Asus and MSI is probably one of the most recognised brands as well. In recent years Gigabyte has also branched out in to other product lines such as graphics cards, optical drives and barebones systems, much like both Asus and MSI. Looking at Gigabyte’s current range of motherboards one has to stop and wonder how many product lines it’s possible for one company to carry.

The 7VT600-L is not one of the most exciting products ever from Gigabyte, in fact it’s a very basic VIA KT600 chipset based motherboard. The only advantage that we can see with this board is the extremely low price, at under £60 including VAT. All the basic features are covered, but that’s about as far as it goes.

You get 10/100Mbit Realtek LAN as well as 5.1-channel sound courtesy of a Realtek ALC655 codec. This audio codec comes with drives that can detect what you have plugged in to which connector and will inform you if you have the wrong thing plugged in to a certain connector. Apart from this you won’t find any exciting features on the 7VT600-L and Gigabyte has even cut cost by only including two rear mounted USB 2.0 ports. You do however get another two on a rear bracket, but this still leaves you four ports short as the new VIA southbridge has support for eight USB 2.0 ports. There is however a spare internal connector for another pair of ports.

The one omission we really disappoints us is the complete lack of S-ATA support on this board, especially as there is built in support for this in the chipset and all that has to be fitted to the board are two connectors and you can even see where they are supposed to be fitted on the PCB surface. The overall layout is reasonable and Gigabyte has used the small PCB to its full extent.

On the plus side Gigabyte has supplied a quick installation guide that is very similar to that seen with the AOpen AK77-600 MAX. This is great for inexperienced users as it gives a good overview on how to put everything together. The manual covers the more technical aspects of how to set up the board as well as most of the BIOS settings, although as with most boards some explanations are a bit lacking.

On the software side of things you’ll find a copy of Norton Internet Security 2003 included which consists of Norton Antivirus, Personal firewall, Privacy control, Spam Alert and Parental control, a reasonable bundle indeed.

But what ruined it in the end for the 7VT600-L were the utterly poor benchmark results, as it came out at the bottom of pretty much every test we ran on it.
We would find it hard to recommend this motherboard to anyone but the most cash strapped user. It’s a shame to see such a poor product from a well renowned motherboard manufacturer such as Gigabyte.

Verdict

This is a very disappointing product from Gigabyte that has nothing going for it apart from a very low price. Let’s hope that Gigabyte’s next batch of boards are up to the company’s usually high standards.

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