Features of the IT7 Max2 Rev 2 Continued
Network - Realtek to the rescue
Although the ICH4 supports Integrated 10/100 network controller, we have found that this controller is far from perfect. When heavy network traffic goes to and from a PC with the integrated NIC enabled the CPU utilisation goes up extremely high. When running online games through a Broadband modem on the same controller, it's a nightmare. ABIT seem to know this, which is why a Realtek RTL8100B network controller chip running off the PCI bus has been installed for maximum network performance with very little cost added to the consumer.
10 USB Ports
Now this is something for the books, 10 USB ports. With the exclusion of Serial ports and the Parallel port from the board, ABIT knew they would have to add something to their board to make up for the lost ports. With USB 2.0 now taking off, ABIT has given us 10 ports in total on the IT7 Max2 Rev 2 through VIA's VT6202 USB2.0 controller chip. This chip gives four USB 2.0 ports, along with the six already provided with the ICH4 controller.
For the extreme user who does a lot of swapping of their hardware (such as RAM, video cards and other additional devices) ABIT has placed both a power on button and a reset button on the board itself. This is also useful if you aren't going to put your computer inside a case, how you have a Power and Reset button on the board.
Also provided is a debug port which is similar to the EPoX Port 88 that shows in code the progress of the POST state and informs the user of any problems in the boot up.
Ed. Note - It's damn well time a manufacturer thought of the Power and Reset buttons being placed on the motherboard itself!
ABIT's biggest trait for over three years has been its support for overclockers. ABIT introduced the Softmenu as a way to setup the CPU multiplier, Front Side Bus, CPU voltage and various other settings like PCI and AGP dividers. Eventually ABIT learned of the growing trend in overclocking. Softmenu evolved into an overclocking tool with the ability to tweak just about every parameter of the CPU.
Softmenu III is provided on the IT7 Max2 Rev 2. It is the third generation of Softmenu technology. Within this menu you can set your CPU FSB from 100MHz up to 250MHz.
CPU Core voltage can be changed from 1.1v up to 1.85v which is one on the few boards that allows Northwood class P4's to do 1.85v without moding the CPU.
DRAM voltage settings are available from 2.5v up to 3.0v which allows for the maximum performance to be drawn out of the memory. Memory dividers are also selectable, so you can run either DDR-200, 266 or 333Mhz.
AGP Voltage is also selectable from 1.5v up to 1.9v which gives the AGP card the ability to overclock. AGP and PCI dividers are also selectable. You can lock the AGP and PCI dividers to 66 MHz for AGP and 33 MHz for PCI.
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