ABIT has been the pioneer in software based overclocking. Back in the Socket 7 days, ABIT pioneered the Softmenu system. Then it was more of a jumper-free design then overclocking, however, when overclocking started to take off, ABIT modified its Softmenu systems to accommodate overclockers and has become the motherboard of choice amongst a lot of hardcore users around the world. Under the Award/Phoenix 6 BIOS is the Softmenu selection - it is here you will find all your overclocking options.
From here you can control your CPU FSB, AGP/PCI Ratio, DRAM Ratio, CPU voltage, DRAM voltage as well as the AGP voltages:
- First off the ranks are the FSB adjustments. ABIT, being the pioneers of overclocking, first introduced 1MHz FSB increment jumps - this holds true in the VT7 BIOS with setting from 100MHz all the way up to 300MHz in 1MHz increments.
- AGP/PCI Ratio selection is one of the new features finally added to the VIA chipsets. Intel, SiS and nVidia have all incorporated PCI/AGP locks, it has been VIA who have lagged behind in this field. The PT880 is the first to give these options and you have a selection from Auto, 33/66 up to 40/73Mhz. Locking the divider at 33/66 will keep the PCI/AGP within specs, allowing for a much better overclocking experience.
- With CPU voltages, on other PT880 motherboards this has been a disappointment, ABIT stems this with a selection from 0.9v up to 1.85v in 0.025v increments. This gives Prescott, Northwood and even Willamette users enough CPU voltage to play with for best results.
- DRAM voltage is quite handy; ABIT has maxed out the settings at 2.9v. The IC7 MAX3 allowed up to 3.2v - maybe its time for and VT7 MAX3?
In testings, we managed to hit 265MHz FSB with DRAM at 1:1 ratio. This is just under the 275MHz stable we managed on the IC7 MAX3 which, with all things considered, is quite good.
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