Abit vs. Gigabyte - IntroductionIntroductionBy now most of us know of Intel's latest introduction to the Pentium 4 platform, the i865 chipsets. These new chipsets are designed to take on certain sectors, including super low budget, integrated solutions and mainstream desktop. While Intel planned for the i875P to take the gold, to the market's surprise i865PE chipsets have proven to be just as fast. And with all the major features of the i875P such as support for Serial ATA RAID, CSA networking and Dual Channel DDR-400 memory, it is no wonder that the i865PE has become the weapon of choice.Today at TweakTown we have been looking at the market and have noticed that different motherboard manufacturers produce different styles and quality of boards. Looking further, motherboard manufacturers are divided into tiers. ABIT, ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI take up the Tier 1, top line boards. EPoX, Soyo and Shuttle (amongst others) make up Tier 2; cost effective yet powerful boards. ECS, Albatron, PCChips, Asrock and FIC make up Tier 3; low-end motherboards. This month, we will be putting the best of Tier 1, best of Tier 2 and best of Tier 3 motherboards head to head. Today we are doing Tier 1, ABIT vs. Gigabyte. From ABIT, we have acquired the IS7-G; the top of the line i865PE board from the well known overclocking kings. In the other corner, we have Gigabyte's 8PENXP, the successor to the 8KNXP Canterwood board with just as many features. Who will take out the gold? Let's find out.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - SpecificationsSpecifications of the ABIT IS7-GCPUSupports Intel Pentium 4 1.4GHz ~ 2GHz mPGA 478 CPU WillametteSupports Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHz ~ 2.8GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (400FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz ~ 3.06GHz+ mPGA 478 Northwood (533FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz ~ 3.2GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (800FSB)Supports Intel Celeron 1.7GHz ~ 2.8GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (400FSB)ChipsetIntel i865PE with HT i82865PE Northbridgei82801ER SouthbridgeIntel Hub Architecture @ 266MB/sBus Frequency100/133/200MHz Internal400/533/800MHz ExternalNetburst Micro ArchitectureExpansion Slots1 AGP 4x, 8x5 PCIExpansion Ports1 PS2 Keyboard Port1 PS2 Mouse Port8 USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear accessible, 4 via expansion bracket)2 Firewire Ports (via expansion bracket)2 Serial Ports 1 Parallel Port5 Stereo Audio Ports 1 Game Port (via expansion bracket)Special FeaturesBIOS overclocking control of FSB, voltagesOnboard 3Com Gigabit NetworkingTexas Instruments FirewireSilicone Image SATA RAIDSpecifications of the Gigabyte 8PENXPCPUSupports Intel Pentium 4 1.4GHz ~ 2GHz mPGA 478 CPU WillametteSupports Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHz ~ 2.8GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (400FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz ~ 3.06GHz+ mPGA 478 Northwood (533FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz ~ 3.2GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (800FSB)Supports Intel Celeron 1.7GHz ~ 2.8GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (400FSB)ChipsetIntel i865PE with HT i82865PE Northbridgei82801EB SouthbridgeIntel Hub Architecture @ 266MB/sBus Frequency100/133/200MHz Internal400/533/800MHz ExternalNetburst Micro ArchitectureExpansion Slots1 AGP 4x, 8x5 PCIExpansion Ports1 PS2 Keyboard Port1 PS2 Mouse Port8 USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear accessible, 4 via expansion bracket)2 Firewire Ports (via expansion bracket)2 Serial Ports 1 Parallel Port3 Stereo Audio Ports 1 Game Port (via expansion bracket)Special FeaturesBIOS overclocking control of FSB, voltagesOnboard Intel Gigabit NetworkingTexas Instruments FirewireSilicone Image SATA RAIDITE IDE RAIDDual Power System rev 2.0
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Features - Gigabyte 8PENXPFeatures of the Gigabyte 8PENXPPackage and Layout
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Features Continued - Gigabyte 8PENXPGigabyte 8PENXP Features Continued
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Features - ABIT IS7-GFeatures of the IS7-GPackage and Contents
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Test Setup and SiSoft Sandra MAX3Test System SetupProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (800MHz FSB) (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB DDR-400 Kingmax (Supplied by Kingmax Australia)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD80 7200RPM (Supplied by Techbuy)Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (Supplied by ATI)Software Used: SiSoft Sandra MAX 3, 3DMark03, 3DMark 2001, Comanche 4, Unreal Tournament 2003, Quake III, PCMark2002, Code Creatures and Jedi Knight 2SiSoft Sandra MAX3SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) MAX3 is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - PCMark2002PCMark2002PCMark2002 is a multipurpose benchmark suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark2002 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark2002 also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - 3DMark2001 SE3DMark2001 SE is part of the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 8.1 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce4), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments. Build 330 adds support for video cards that have Vertex Shaders but no Pixel Shaders.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - 3DMark033DMark033DMark03 is the latest version of the highly favored 3DMark series. By combining full DirectX9.0 support with completely new tests and graphics, 3DMark03 continues the legacy of being industry standard benchmark.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Code CreaturesCode CreaturesCode Creatures is a Synthetic benchmark based on DirectX 8, which gives users the chance to see another highly involved benchmark program. Focusing on two elements, Grass and Water, video cards are stressed to the limit resulting in quite low scoring benchmarks. Users get to see a more intensive side of DirectX 8 thanks to the engine behind Code Creatures.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Comanche 4Comanche 4Comanche 4 is a helicopter simulation using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D subsystems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up through this intensive benchmark.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight onto the 3D and memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to gain playable scores with this game.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Quake III ArenaQuake III ArenaQuake III Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a wide range of different products. Quake III is getting very old, but is still one of the best ways of testing video and PC systems for any instabilities and best performance.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - Benchmarks - Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is an OpenGL game that many have been playing of late. It has greatly improved graphics over its predecessor and it fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use.
Abit vs. Gigabyte - ConclusionsABIT IS7-G ConclusionsABIT, on the whole, have created a great board with only a few gripes we could really write home about. Layout and placement of connectors has been thought up a lot better than previous boards, while Firewire, Dual Serial ATA RAID options as well as the Gigabit Ethernet does make this a very tempting motherboard to purchase. However, there are a few issues that did come up.First off is overclocking. ABIT has acknowledged a BIOS problem that limits FSB speeds to 255Mhz FSB; anything over this (even with unlocked CPU's) makes the system unstable. Another issue was the removal of the CSA network controller over the PCI based 3Com Ethernet. Intel's own CSA allows for a much smoother networking experience with high bandwidth at the ready, so it was disappointing to see it left out.- ProsFastStableDual Serial ATA RAIDFirewireGigabit Ethernet4-phase power system- ConsUse of PCI Gigabit Ethernet over CSA EthernetLimited to 255FSB at present timeRating - 8/10Gigabyte 8PENXP ConclusionsGigabyte has put together a back-to-back set of boards with identical layers and features with the 8PENXP and 8KNXP. Now it's not so hard to choose value or high performance as you get it on both. Layout wise, the board was very good with only the 4-pin power connector being the major flaw. Overclocking was good with FSB speeds in excess of 300MHz being reached, and with a great selection of voltages, Gigabyte has come up with yet another great board.- ProsFastStableFirewireSerial ATA RAIDParallel IDE RAIDDPRS rev 2.0 system for 6-phase power- ConsUse of ICH5 over ICH5RRating - 9/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award
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