UT2003 & Comanche 4
We also tested
the two motherboards with a couple of games. In this
case we ran two popular tests, UT 2003 and Comanche 4.
With UT 2003 we set the application to 640x480 to take the
video card out of the performance picture, focusing on CPU
output. With Comanche 4, an extremely CPU limited
application, we ran the default test with "No Audio"
For the most
part each board was on the same page with the results tipped
slightly in favor of the ASUS comparison board.
Content Creation 2003 and Business Winstone 2003
World Application Testing
With our last
round of tests we ran both Business Winstone 2002 and
Content Creation Winstone 2003. Each application
gauges a system's overall performance with workstation and
multimedia applications. Content Creation 2003 tests
multimedia intensive applications, while Business Winstone
2002 compares performance with common workstation
applications. Below is a list of the programs each
test uses to calculate its final score.
Macromedia Director 8.5.1
Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4
Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055
Foundry Sound Forge 6.0
Microsoft® FrontPage® 2002 SP-1
Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2002 SP-1
Microsoft® Excel 2002 SP-1
Microsoft® Access 2002 SP-1
Microsoft® Word 2002 SP-1
Microsoft® Project 2000
AntiVirusTM from Symantec
Once again the
picture remained the same with each board running a tight
race with the ASUS having the slightest edge over the ABIT
an extended period of time with the AI7, it became harder
and harder to come up with a rating for this board.
Given the amount of trouble we had with our Kingston HyperX
and Corsair TwinX memory modules, the initial impression was
pretty sour. But in the end, with a lot of fussing,
the system did stabilize with a BIOS upgrade and making some
manual changes, with the system running well with the
Kingston HyperX. To be fair, we must be open to the
idea that this can be an issue with our specific combination
of hardware, but we did not see this occur with other
hardware reviewed in the past. We also paid a visit to
the ABIT forum and found several users having memory issues
with other MAX series boards. So with that said, we
took a step back and looked at the board's overall feature
set and its performance and things sweetened up a bit.
The AI7 has an
excellent base set of features including SATA RAID, onboard
Audio, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and the list goes on.
We also cannot ignore the excellent overclocking results we
achieved with this board, although it was on par with its
competitors. The AI7 performed well in the
benchmarking arena, competing well with a similarly equipped
ASUS 865PE motherboard. The layout and on-board
features were very good with the only thing lacking being
the second SATA controller. When you factor in all of
the integrated components, the AI7 leaves little to be
desired. We were quite impressed with the robust BIOS
features as well, but were less than impressed with ABIT
µGuru due to its current state of maturity on this board.
Nonetheless, the ABIT µGuru had some compelling features
such as the ABIT FlashMenu and ABIT EQ which worked well.
In the end, it doesn't hurt to have the µGuru
features of the ABIT AI7, but it should not be the deciding
factor for purchasing this motherboard.
We'll give the ABIT AI7 a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of a
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