Abit AT7 and IT7 Legacy Free Motherboards

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The Legacy Free Abit AT7 and IT7 - Page 4

The ABIT "Legacy Free" AT7 & IT7 MAX Motherboards
Innovation Through Elimination...

By, Marco Chiappetta
July 9, 2002

Flask MPEG is a file conversion utility that takes a video of a certain type, and converts it to another format. We took a 19MB MPEG 2 video clip (that made it's debut in Dave's 533Mhz. BUS P4 review) and converted it to DivX format using the DivX Pro 5.02 Codec.  We converted the video to a resolution of 720x480, but did not compress or convert the audio in any way.

MPEG Encoding Performance with Flask
Movie Time

The IT7 / P4 combo squeaked by the AT7 / Athlon XP system when encoding DivX video with FlaskMPEG.  The performance delta in this test was the smallest we had seen though.  For all intents and purposes, these scores are equal, falling well within the margin of error.

Benchmarks with 3D Mark 2001 SE
Gaming Goodness

MadOnion's 3D Mark 2001 SE is a DirectX 8 benchmark that makes use of advanced pixel and vertex shaders, as well as some other modern rendering features like Environmental Bump Mapping.  It generates a score after rendering scenes and measuring performance using the MaxFX game engine, found in Remedy's popular game, Max Payne.

Just like we saw in the FlaskMPEG test, the IT7 managed to nudge ahead of the AT7, posting a 3DMark score 79 points higher than the AT7.  A 79 point performance delta in this test equates to a difference of less than 1%, which is within the margin of error on this test as well.  Both of these boards managed to break the 11K mark though, which is a very good score.  DirectX gaming with either of these systems should not be a problem...

"Real World" Performance with the Stones
Simulated Application Performance

Next we ran ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2001 benchmark.  We'll directly quote ZD's eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to what this test is comprised of:

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98 SE, Windows NT 4.0 (SP6 or later), Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

The Business Winstone tests include:

  • Five Microsoft Office 2000 applications (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 98

  • Lotus Notes R5

  • NicoMak WinZip

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Finally, we see something different!  I was beginning to sound like a broken record!  Using ZD's Business Winstone benchmark, the AT7 outran the IT7 by a full 2 points, or 3.4%.  You don't need this kind of horsepower to run Microsoft Word though, so let's crank things up a notch.

Next we ran ZD's Content Creation Winstone 2002.  This benchmark runs a similar series of scripted activities, but the tests are comprised of more "bandwidth hungry" applications.  The applications used in the Content Creation Winstone 2002 tests include:

  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

The Content Creation 2002 benchmark yielded the greatest performance delta of all our tests.  The AT7 bested the IT7 by 3.3 points, which is a difference of about 10%.  Both the AT7 and IT7 performed very well throughout our entire suite of benchmarking applications.  We don't think any of you would be disappointed if you based your next system on either one of these boards.

CONCLUSION:

Abit has done a fantastic job with the AT7 and IT7 MAX motherboards.  Both of these boards performed very well and maintained rock solid stability throughout our battery of tests.  Abit's excellent SoftMenu III is also available on both boards, which makes overclocking with either of them a breeze.  The only thing we didn't like was the inability to reset the CMOS, without having to open the case and physically move a jumper.  This was rather annoying when trying to find our "sweet spot" when overclocking.  The build quality and bundles are top-notch, as is the list of on-board features.  They are a bit more expensive than similar products, coming in at around $150 on Pricewatch.Com, but in our opinion your money would be well spent on either of these motherboards.

Based on it's excellent stability, performance and list of features, but because it has only 3 PCI slots, we give the Abit AT7 MAX a HotHardware Heat meter rating of 8.5!

The IT7 MAX fares a bit better.  The IT7 brings all of the performance and stability of the AT7 MAX to the P4, with the addition of diagnostic LEDs, a fourth PCI slot and on-board power and reset switches.  If we were able to reset the CMOS without opening the case, this board would have received a perfect 10.  As is stands now, we give the Abit IT7 MAX a 9.5 on the Heat Meter, and a coveted Editor's Choice Award!


 

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