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Abit BD7II-RAID i845E Motherboard Review - Overclocking & Conclusion

Abit are known for their long line of quality motherboards which are positioned right toward the enthusiast user and have continued to show the industry the way with their MAX series of motherboards which are virtually legacy free. With the release of the Intel 845E chipset, Abit has released the Abit BD7II motherboard - Will the enthusiast trend continue and does the limiting DDR-266 support of the 845E chipset restrict the boards performance against competing chipsets from other manufacturers? Read on as Asher "Acid" Moses tells us where he compares the board to the SiS 645DX chipset and the older Intel 845D chipset.

| Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 25, 2002 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 7.5%      Manufacturer: Abit

Overclocking

 

In usual Abit style, the BD7II-RAID features all of the CPU, Memory and AGP adjustments even the most hardcore tweaker could ask for. Firstly, Abit's SoftMenu III allows you to adjust FSB speeds up to 250MHz in 1MHz increments. Additionally, you can lock the PCI bus speed at 33MHz, 37MHz, 44MHz FSB / 3 or FSB / 4. This allows you to increase the FSB without increasing the PCI bus, thus removing your PCI devices from being a bottleneck whilst overclocking. The CPU:DRAM ratio is also adjustable, from the settings 1:1, 3:4 or "By Spd". For those with unlocked processors, the multiplier can also be adjusted up to 24x.

 

As far as voltage is concerned, the VCore and DRAM voltages are adjustable, with available VCore adjustments of +5%, +10% and +15%. DRAM voltage can be adjusted from 2.5V, 2.6V and 2.7V. Using a core voltage setting of +15% and default DRAM voltages, I was able to overclock my 2GHz Pentium 4 (Willamette) up to 2.32GHz (20x116)! This is a massive overclock considering that the processor is not based on the newer Northwood core and that only air-cooling was used (Alpha PAL8942). At 2.32GHz my system remained extremely stable and I was able to run Prime95 for 24 hours straight without one lockup.

 

Conclusion

 

In summary, I can't help but be slightly disappointed with the Abit BD7II-RAID. The board itself is stable, feature packed, highly tweakable and has an excellent layout. However, it is severely let down by the i845E chipset and its lack of DDR333 support. The recommended retail price for the board is around $US130, which, although this is quite cheap, competing solutions based around DDR333 chipsets from VIA and SiS are not only priced similarly, but also provide significantly higher performance at stock speeds.

 

The bottom line is, although the BD7II-RAID is an excellent board as far as stability, feature-set and overclockability is concerned, the i845E chipset's poor performance when compared to the competition makes it impossible for me to recommend. If only Abit decided to use a DDR333 supporting chipset from VIA or SiS, the BD7II-RAID could have been very successful.

 

- Pros

 

* Great layout

 

* Highly overclockable

 

* Stable

 

* Relatively cheap

 

* Many integrated features

 

- Cons

 

* Performance is disappointing when compared to competing solutions.

 

* Lack of DDR333 support

 

Rating - 7.5/10

 

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