Abit AI7 865PE Motherboard

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ABIT AI7 865PE Motherboard Review
The i865PE board with "µGuru"

By: Jeff Bouton
December 18th, 2003

UT2003 & Comanche 4
Gaming Tests

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" selected.

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
Real 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.

Content Creation 2003

  • Adobe Photoshop 7

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5.1

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder

  • Netscape Navigator 6.2.3

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 6.0

  • LightWave 7

Business Winstone 2002

  • Lotus Notes® R5

  • 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

  • WinZip® 8.0

  • Norton AntiVirusTM from Symantec

  • Netscape® 6.2.1

Once again the picture remained the same with each board running a tight race with the ASUS having the slightest edge over the ABIT AI7.

After spending 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 7.5

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