Even though the Athlon XP isn't quite up to Pentium 4 speeds, it's carved a huge niche as the processor of choice for PC users looking to build machines on a budget. Meet the KuDoz 7X-6A motherboard from Legend QDI, an Athlon XP/Duron-capable motherboard that would make a great starting point. Supporting processors up to the XP 2600+ and Duron 1300 with a 266MB FSB, the KT400 chipset, on which the motherboard is based, makes several improvements on the KT333 design. It boasts some good new features such as a 200MHz memory clock (DDR400), 8X AGP, and a selectably writable BIOS to keep out unwanted changes by intruders and viruses. It also features six USB 2.0 ports (two on a backplate), and six-channel AC'97 audio.
The board also sports QDI's Triple Protection Technology, which is designed to protect AMD chips from heat-stroke in three ways: firstly with an audible buzzing tone to warn of excessive warmth; secondly the motherboard automatically lowers voltage levels to avoiding burning the chip; and thirdly, should the board's temperature levels (customisable) reach a dangerous level, the system will automatically shut down.
Although it brings several innovative functions to the AMD platform, including theoretical bandwidth increases of up to 17% by making use of DDR400, when put to the test with an MSI Ti4600 and XP 1800+ the board managed only 10,396 3DMarks, 421 behind the ABIT NF7-S in 3DMark 2001 showing that it was slightly behind as a gaming motherboard.
With a lack of Serial ATA, optical audio inputs or FireWire ports, the 7X-6A doesn't offer a lot of connectivity for the advanced user or those wishing to future-proof their investment, however, sporting six PCI ports does allow for plenty of expansion.