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Tyan Tyan Thunder K7 SMP Motherboard Review
Date Posted: Jun 27 2001
Author: Joe
Posting Type: Review
Category: Motherboard Reviews
Page: 2 of 4
Article Rank:No Rank Yet
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Note: This is a legacy article, imported from old code. Due to this some items on the page may not function as expected. Links, Colors, and some images may not be set correctly.
Tyan Thunder K7 SMP Motherboard Review By: Joe

Tyan Thunder K7 System Review and OC'n

The Connections - Ext.

The Headers/Sockets - Int.

The Back IO connections are a lil different then your Normal ATX IO layout.  Only 1 Serial, and 2 LAN connections.   The second Serial is taken up with the onboard video header.  The board does come with its own IO plate header so that will ease any worries that you would have a big hole in the back of your case if you didn't have a plate to fit it. There are another set of USB headers but they are at the FRONT of the motherboard, almost impossible to get wired to a back IO panel. But a In "Bay" type like the Antec will work.

OK here's the same pic as was on the other page, but I am going to go over all the ports and sockets and headers on this board so you can see where these all are in relation to each other.

PCI -

The first thing that catches your eye on the Thunder K7 is the immense PCI slots. These are new/old and soon to be obsolete slots.   These are 64/32bit 33Mhz slots. In the pic I grayed out one part of the slot so you can see what a normal 32Bit PCI slot looks like compared to the 64bit ones.   these are fully backwards compatible with normal 32bit cards.

Why "Soon to be Obsolete"? - For 2 reasons,  1. the 762MPX chipset due for release in Q3 2001 will offer 64Bit/66Mhz Bus. This is NOT backwards compatible with older cards, but will offer new cards the ability to use AGP bus speeds on PCI devices.  There are very few devices currently that can use a 64Bit 33Mhz or 66Mhz slot. The things that can are DVE cards, Gbit Nics, and Mass Storage controllers.

Besides for 66Mhz PCI coming up soon, PCI-X.. the long vaporware PCI bus standard is coming out... offering 2x the speed of 66Mhz PCI bus technology if not more. The AMD 64Bit Hammer Motherboards boards are slated to use PCI-X in favor of 66mhz of 64Bit.

AGP -

This is a standard AGP Pro 2x/4x slot. The "Pro" versions of the slot offer NO performance increase on their own, but do offer a nice juicy power supply capable taping off the boards high amp power runs to go directly

to the video card. this will save your onboard VRM units a HUGE power load when using a high end DVE / OpenGL card. You just have to pop the lil clip that's in the slot out and you can insert your AGP pro card.

Power -

The Now infamous and seriously ill planned Non standard proprietary power connections... These are NOT WTX, NOT ATX, NOT anything... They are Tyans own dreamt up power connection that can only be used with one of 2 PSU's on the market, the 450 watt Delta and the 460watt NMB.  This is absolute BS if you ask me...  the 8 pin header supplies juice to all the CPU VRM's, and the second 24 Pin header supplies the rest of the board Voltages.

But they must have had a reason to do it, and I am guessing its all about getting the board to market on time. Its an annoyance that may keep many people from not only carrying and selling this

board, but also people from buying it. The PSU's range in price from 130 - 180$ That a hefty bit of change to add onto an already 500$ motherboard.

Fans -

Fan headers, Fan headers, and More Fan headers!  this is one thing Tyan did SO right. There are a total of 7 Fan headers on the mother board. All able to supply 1.2A per fan.  That's 8.4 Amps of 12V you could run... Damn... that's more then some pelts! The headers are all over the mother board, but the main line is right above the CPU's for VERY easy plug ins for the HSF's.

IDE / SCSI -

CPU -

The SCSI connections and ATA100 Connections are at the bottom front corner.. nicely out of the way but also directly infront of your intake fans. So be sure to get some nice rounded cables to keep the airflow moving.

NO 50 Pin SCSI header, so to use any Narrow SCSI devices ( cdrom/DVD/writer) you will need to use a Converter like I did (not in pic).

Yes, we all know what this is. But what's missing?? Cummon take a nice good look.

The Under the core thermal probe!... Not there no more. ( and No I didn't take the dremel to this board yet like I did to my KT7E). The reason is simple.  This board is made to ONLY run Athlon MP's. Which are based on the Palomino core.   They all have On Die thermal probes.  This will give a more reliable and accurate temp reading, and also you don't need to worry about putting thermal paste on the bottom of your chip anymore to get a close to accurate temp ;)

Uhh... I dunno -

OK now ANYTHING called a "MHZ HDR" Sounds SWEET.   I want to know what this damn thing does. There is no mention of it any where as doing anything.  its got caps/resistors going to it, and such... If anyone can figure out what a 18 Pin "MHZ HDR" is please let me know.


The Case/PSU

The Case, Mobo, and PSU were basically a package deal from ENPC.  They had all the parts in stock so I got them there.

The Case is a Chenbro Jr. Server case. I was not at all sure how I would like it or even use it.  I was going to put this machine into a AOpen SV320 case I have instead.   But the chenbro blew me away with how small it was while having a TON of useable space.

having the 2 x 120mm fans in it were nice also compared to the SV320 2 x 80mm. As you can see in the diagram's a normal mid tower it looks like, with 3 5.25" and 2 exposed 3.5" with 3 more 3.5" hidden.

Both sides pop off, by pulling on their lil handle, which is slick as sh*t.  The entire take apart, and put together steps for this machine is super easy and very well designed.

The PSU in the case is a NMB 460watt Tyan specific PSU.  This is a rip off I think for all the power users around.  In order to get the motherboard to market ASAP, Tyan used a proprietary PSU, only made by 2 MFG's - Delta and NMB. These are power house PSU's and are specifically designed for the motherboard and 2 very power hungry CPU's.   Unfortunately it takes the motherboard from a somewhat reasonable ( for what you get) 500$ to an expensive 680+$ to get the PSU and the motherboard.   Most future Motherboards form Tyan as well as other board MFG's will be using the standard WTX or ATX +12V setup.

More on the Case and the layout

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