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Abit IT7 i845E Motherboard Review - Overclocking & Conclusion

Abit has long been making quality motherboards that have been noticed by the enthusiast crowd. They have even gone so far as to remove legacy ports from some of their product line as well. Join Asher "Acid" Moses as he checks out their latest offering; namely the Abit IT7. It combines support for the new 533MHz Pentium 4 processors, DDR266 memory and more RAID ports than you can shake a stick at. But can it live up to the reputation that it has garnered in the past? Let's find out!

| Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 24, 2002 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.0%      Manufacturer: Abit

Overclocking

 

In usual Abit style, the IT7 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 while overclocking. The CPU:DRAM ratio is also adjustable, from the settings 1:1, 3:4 or "By Spd".

 

As far as voltage is concerned, the VCore and DRAM voltages are adjustable, with available VCore adjustments up to 1.7v in 0.25v increments. DRAM voltage can be adjusted from 2.5v, 2.6v and 2.7v. Using a core voltage setting of 1.7v 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 IT7. 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 US$190, which although is quite expensive, can be justified by the amount of integrated features; IF you are planning on using them all.

 

Abit took a huge risk here, trying to be innovative while at the same time trying to please most users. The board's lack of legacy ports such as PS/2 will force a lot of you to go out and upgrade your devices to USB/Firewire, however, its additional features such as USB2.0, Firewire and 6-channel audio certainly justify the extra cost.

 

Continuing with the innovations, the IT7 is also one of the first ever motherboards to provide a 4-channel RAID controller and its support for a total of 12 IDE devices is very impressive to say the least. The fact that it only features 4 PCI slots may be a problem for some of you, however, due to the fact that there are so many onboard controllers, there really wasn't a way of getting around this.

 

The bottom line is, if you do not mind slightly reduced performance and a rich feature-set is higher up in your priority list, the IT7 could just be the board for you. However, if you will not be using all of the board's added features, don't have a high budget or require maximum performance, you would probably be better off picking up a board based on the VIA P4X333 or SiS645DX/648 chipsets.

 

- Pros

 

Innovative

 

Great layout

 

Highly overclockable

 

Stable

 

Feature-rich

 

- Cons

 

Performance is disappointing when compared to competing solutions.

 

High price

 

Lack of legacy ports may force some users to upgrade to USB/Firewire devices

 

Rating - 8/10

 

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