iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Biostar M7NCD Pro (NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400) Mainboard

The board wasn't meant to be the top solution in the nForce2 Ultra 400 based line (though there's only one more board available which comes without a network adapter). A great number of connectors and controllers unattached indicates it.

The layout is ordinary. It can be hard to connect cables to the memory modules because of too many connectors around, and a video card inserted may lock them. It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are indicated on the PCB. The 3-phase voltage regulator incorporates 5 capacitors of 3300 uF and 3 of 1500 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2x1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (2x1000 uF). 

Connectors which are left space for: a chip and connectors of the SATA/IDE controller, IEEE1394 bus controller and its connectors, some more space for chips and connectors (probably, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth). The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 screws fastens it, all edges are fixed). System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83627THF-AW chip. It controls: 

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

Ports & connectors onboard

  • CPU socket (Socket A/Socket 462);
  • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (all of the same color);
  • AGP slot (not Pro, with a retention clip);
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz);
  • Power supply connector: standard ATX;
  • FDD;
  • 2 IDE (Parallel ATA) - on chipset;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive;
  • 3 fan connector (2 with rotation control, 1 without it).

Rear panel 

The rear panel looks standard: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, 2 USB ports and RJ-45 (Ethernet), LPT and 2 COM ports, Game port and 3 audio connectors. The board is absolutely ordinary. One can choose such solution only because of its price and the need in a board based on this chipset. 


  • Package of the standard design; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English;
  • Cables: 1 ATA66/100/133 and FDD;
  • 3 CDs with software:
    • drivers;
    • user manual in PDF;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • Award WinFlash;
    • Winbond Hardware Doctor;
    • DirectX 8.1;
    • StudioFun!;
    • Norton Antivirus 2003;
    • Norton Ghost;
    • Norton Personal Firewall.

Three programs that go last in the list can be a good present for those who are against nonlicensed software; the Norton Antivirus 2003 alone is very expensive. 

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Realtek ALC650 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/O connector provided;
  • network controller based on the MCP south bridge, 10BaseT/100BaseTX supported.


jumpers and switches CMOS clear jumper  
Basic CPU clock selection jumpers 100/133/166 MHz
Jumpers for starting up PC from USB devices  
Jumpers for starting up PC from PS/2 devices  
BIOS based on Phoenix AwardBIOS 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, T(RAS), T(RCD), T(RP)
Setup of memory frequency + By SPD, 50, 60, 66, 75, 80, 83, 100, 120, 125, 133, 150, 166, 200% of FSB clock speed
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2) = Auto, 50, 66-100 MHz, in 1-3MHz steps
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 100-250 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x5-x12.5
CPU voltage control + 1.3-2 V in 0.025V steps
DIMM voltage control + 2.5 - 2.8V in 0.1 steps
NB voltage control + 1.6-1.9V in 0.1 steps
AGP voltage control + 1.5-1.8V in 0.1 steps

We used the BIOS of 30.06.03 as the latest available version. 

Test results: 


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)
Vladimir Rybnikov (puree@ixbt.com)

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