Abit KT7A vs. IWill KA-266

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Both boards are ATX. The IWill is slightly deeper than the Abit. The only significant difference (apart from the memory interface) is that the IWill has built in sound – using the C-C-Media® CMI-87383D Sound Chip which supports 4.1 Channel Hardware Sound, while the Abit doesn’t. For testing purposes, the IWill on-board sound was disabled and the SoundBlaster Live! Value (common to both) used instead.

FeatureIWill KA266Abit KT7A
PCI slots56
ISA slots01
USB4(6) – extra 2 are optional4
IDE channels2 (ATA-100)2 (ATA-100)
Legacy Ports2 com/1 lpt/2 PS/2 (keyboard, mouse), 1 game2 com/1 lpt/2 PS/2 (keyboard, mouse)
Memory3 184 pin DIMM slots.  3 GB DDR max.3 168 pin DIMM slots.  1.5 GB SDRAM max.
Variable Multiplier SupportJumper, BIOSBIOS
Variable core voltageBIOSBIOS
Variable I/O voltageNOBIOS
Variable FSB supportJumper, BIOSBIOS
FSB increment in 1MHz stepsNoYes
Onboard videoNoNo
Onboard soundYesNo
Onboard LANNoNo
Onboard modemNoNo
Web siteKA266KT7A

While the table tells a lot, it doesn’t give you everything. Points to note are that the Abit’s overclocking features are much more polished (i.e. easier to use) than IWill’s. If you make a mistake, it’s easier to recover with the KT7A – power off, hold down insert key and power on. With the IWill, you have to manually clear the BIOS/CMOS using a jumper. The KT7A also has a greater range of adjustments in its settings for FSB speed and I/O voltage. The IWill counters with on-board sound. This may or may not be a big thing, but for casual use, it’s not bad and saves the cost of a sound card.

Installing heatsinks is slightly easier on the KT7A, as the DDR memory slots on the IWill sit a little too close to the chip socket. This doesn’t affect fitting large heatsinks (both an Alpha PAL6035 and a GlobalWin FOP-38 fitted with ease. It’s just that the socket lugs for attaching your heatsink on the KA266 face the memory slots, which makes getting meaty fingers down in between to hook up your heatsink more of a chore.

The manual that ships with the KT7A is significantly better (more well written) and easier to follow.

Score:KT7A: 1.5KA266: 1.0

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