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Abit IT7-MAX2 V2 Motherboard
ABIT has always been known for motherboards that provide users with the maximum abilities. With robust features, rock-solid stability, and... Read More
ABIT has always been known for motherboards that provide users with the maximum abilities. With robust features, rock-solid stability, and unmatched performance, ABIT boards are engineered for the most discerning hardware enthusiast. The ultimate IT7-MAX2 V2, part of ABIT's MAX series of motherboards, follows in that same ABIT tradition. Minimize
1 Review from Epinions.com
Feb 16, 2004
Great Board For Power Users
Pros: Stability, Performance, Features and Overclockability.
Cons: Expensive, and requires BIOS and RAID controller update.
The Bottom Line:
If you are a gamer, power user, or building a home theatre PC, and you have a P4 with the 533MHz FSB, this is the board for you.
I was shopping for a new board to build a PC on, so I did a lot of research and found the ABIT IT7 MAX2 to be the best board in terms of performance and overclockability. It also has features most other boards do not have such as RAID, SATA, SP/DIF, etc.
When I bought the board and opened it up, I was suprised to see all the items packaged inside. ABIT thought of everyting! They included standard things such as the manual and case port punchout, but I was suprised to see IDE cables, PATA to SATA converter (called Seriall-o), numerous driver and software discs and a great overclocking manual. They had more items in their package than any motherboard manufacturer I had ever purchased from before.
Once I installed the board and all the other components, I am happy to say that it fired up without any issues the very first time. Feeling confident, I decided to overclock my P4 2.4 Ghz chip. Using ABIT's SoftMenu BIOS tweaking utility and DDR 333 RAM, I upped the voltage for the CPU to 1.600 Volts, and set the FSB to 167, which should make the 2.4 GHz chip run at 3.00, which it did without any stability or heating issues. I even tried running a 3.2GHz, but heat became a major problem (it wasn't a limitation of the board, it was a limitation of the CPU fan that I was using).
After using this board for months, I am thrilled about the rock-solid stability and the incredible performance. This board has better performance numbers that my Intel board, and they both have the 845PE chipset.
One thing that I was disappointed with is the Promise RAID controller that is built into the board. While trying to setup RAID 0, I noticed that the controller did not always initialize on bootup. So I search the web and found some controller and BIOS updates. After applying the updates, the problem was solved, but I was not to happy that I had to update the RAID controller. This should have been done before I received it. Small gripe, given the performance and features, but it's not something I expected out of a nearly $200 board.
All-in-all, I highly recommend this board for power users, gamers and those who want to build a home theatre pc (HTPC). It has the features, stability and performance to keep anyone satisfied. In particular, for those who have the Intel P4 533MHz (model B) processors, this board along with some minor BIOS tweaking, can make your machine run 20 - 25% faster, keeping your machine current a little while longer. For those who only use a computer to surf the web and write emails, I do not recommend this board, as a much less expensive model will give you just the features that you need.
/*** UPDATE - TECHNICAL REVIEW ***/
I had tried to keep the above review fiarly non-technical, but I had received requests to go over the technical aspects thoroughly.
Chipset: Intel 845PE. This chipset is the last generation from the highly successful 845 line of northbridge chipsets from Intel. The PE line has been optimized for CPU to RAM performance and as such will handily outperform earlier generations of the same chipset. It supports 400/533 MHz FSBs and is stable even at highly overclocked speeds. It also supports DDR333 with a 533 MHz FSB CPU, which is a new feature for this line. This chipset also now features USB 2.0 which has a nearly 20X speed increase versus USB 1.1. For any CPU that runs at 533 FSB and does not have HyperThreading, this is probably the best chipset available.
Disk Subsystems: This board supports UDMA 33/66/100, which with Windows XP provides better performance than the standard ATA 100. ABIT also has provided an additional IDE controller from Promise. This Promise controller supports ATA 33/66/100/133, SATA 150 and RAID 0 (Striping for speed), 1 (Mirroring For Data Protection), and 0+1 (Striping Plus Mirroring For The Best Of Both Worlds). While I found the Intel ICH4 subsystem to be on par with other boards, I was initially disappointed with the Promise controller. After installing a BIOS update and some newer drivers, I was able to get the Promise RAID to work, but it was a hassle that I did not expect to go through, especially considering my high expectations for ABIT boards.
ABIT embedded a RealTek Lan controller that gives you an integrated 10/100 LAN. They also provided a Creative chip which gives you 6 channel sound, and an SPDIF optical audio out that you can use to pipe sound into your home theatre amplifier. Although the sound produced is probably pretty good for most users, I noticed that it doesn't produce very much wattage, so unless you have powered speakers, your maximum volume may be somewhat low. I am fairly happy with both features as neither one was very CPU intensive, maybe 2-3% each under a heavy load.
This board is laid out quite intelligently. They have obviously listened to the enthusiast community. The IDE ports are located at the extreme right edge of the board, and the RAID IDE and SATA ports are located at the bottom right corner. This keeps the IDE ribbons away from your CPU fan, so you will have nice airflow within the case. Another nice thing is that the AGP port is located slightly lower than on previous ABIT boards, so it doesn't intefere with the memory slots. I do have one gripe about the board layout however. The power supply plugs in right above the memory slots, so removing memory with the power supply plugged into the board is not an easy task.
This is where the stability of the board really shine. The industry leading SoftMenu allows anyone to overclock their board with ease. It allows for FSB adjustments in 1 MHz increments from 100 to 250. It also allows VCore voltage adjustments from 1.1 to 1.75 Volts. Memory voltage can be adjusted from 2.5 to 2.8 Volts. The BIOS also allows for specific memory timings, which in my opinion can provide for the optimally configured PC, but most of the time isn't worth the hassle, just buy "Low Latency" memory and be done with it.
For those of you that need a little more research, I highly recommend following the links below and read the reviews and benchmark tests. They will, for the most part, validate my experience with this board, and give you an overview of the features and stability as well.
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