iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASRock K7S8XE (SiS748) Mainboard

The board looks ascetic - there are no superfluous features, components or settings. It's a bit difficult to describe such solutions as they have nothing to attact attention with. They simply work. Maybe not that fast as others but they work. Or do not work. This is the only criterion one can take into account when choosing such boards. Our sample of the ASRock K7S8XE does work :).

The layout is not very convenient - the FDD and IDE connectors are behind the PCI slots, the audio connectors and a power supply one are put behind. It's not easy to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are indicated on the PCB. The 2-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 3 capacitors of 3300 uF and 4 of 1500 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2 x 1000 uF) and of the memory (1x1000 uF and several less capcious ones).  

The IEEE1394 controller and its connectors didn't get included in the final design though the space for them is left. The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 fastening screws, the front edge doesn't hang loose). 

System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83697HF chip. It controls: 

  • processor voltages: +3.3, +5 and +12 V
  • rotation speed of 2 fans;  
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor).   

The K7S8XE inherits the PCB from its predecessor K7S8X based on the SiS 746FX chipset. Thus, the K7S8X and K7S8XE differ only in the north bridge. There are also K7S8X rev 3.0 and K7S8XE rev 3.0 boards based on the SiS 746FX and SiS 748, but they are built on a different, smaller, PCB (narrow ATX). So, the K7S8XE  has two sisters based on the same chipset but of another revision and PCB, and one twin built on the older SiS 746FX chipset.

Ports & connectors onboard

  • CPU socket (Socket A);
  • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM;
  • AGP slot (not Pro, with a retention clip);
  • 6 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz);
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, no 4pin for 12V);
  • FDD;
  • 2 IDE slots (Parallel ATA) - on chipset;
  • Connector for a bracket with additional USB (2.0) ports;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive;
  • 2 connectors for fans (both with regulation of rotations supported).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 ports for keyboard & mouse, 1 LPT, 1 COM;

  • 2 USB (2.0) & RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • 2 USB (2.0);
  • 3 audio connectors and Game port.


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: a brief user manual in 8 languages;
  • ATA66/100/133 and FDD cables;
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with software:  
    • drivers;
    • MPEG1 clip where a Chinese woman explains how to build up a PC;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • PC-cillin 2002;
    • DirectX 8.1.

Integrated controllers:

  • audio controller based on the C-Media CMI9739A AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio-outs and S/PDIF connector provided; 
  • network controller based on the chipset, 10/100 Mbit Base-T (Fast Ethernet) supported.


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
FSB clock speed jumpers 100, 133, 166, 200 MHz
Jumpers for starting up PC from USB devices  
BIOS based on AMI v3.31a  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, 100, 133, 166, 200 MHz
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup -  
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 50-248 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio -  
CPU voltage control -  
DIMM voltage control -  
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control -  

We used the BIOS 1.20 as the latest available version.

Stanislav Garmatyuk  (nawhi@ixbt.com)
Dmitry Mayorov  (destrax@ixbt.com)

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