Abit IC7G and Asus P4C800 Canterwood Mobotherboards

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Abit IC7G and Asus P4C800 Canterwood Mobotherboards - Page 6

Abit IC7-G vs. Asus P4C800
A tale of two Canterwoods

By, Dave Altavilla
April 29, 2003

 

Novalogic's Comanche 4 Benchmark is about as CPU limited, as we've ever seen, while testing here in the labs at HotHardware.  The game engine tends to rely heavily on the CPU for its Flight Model Physics calculations, even though the Graphics eye-candy in this Sim is very lush and beautiful.  To alleviate the graphics bottleneck even more so however, we also set the game engine down to 640X480 resolution, which allows the CPU/Motherboard combination to run a little more freely.

Novalogic Comanche 4 and Quake 3 Arena Timedemos
DX8 and OpenGL Gaming Performance

Once again, as you can see, the spread isn't all that wide, until we begin to overclock.  The IC7-G and P4C800 were within 3% of each other and even with respect to the Intel board.  The Asus P4C800 does show a slight edge again however and one can't help think that Asus really went the distance in tuning this board.  At overclocked speeds, things tighten up quite a bit between the Abit and Asus board, pointing to the strong possibility that this benchmark is weighted more on the system bus bandwidth, than raw CPU speed per se.

 

 

And lastly we have our Quake 3 Time Demo runs for you here.  Until the arrival of Doom3 (and even then who knows), we'll most likely continue to include this benchmark, since it is such a widely recognized performance metric.

In this test, we used the "Fastest" setting, which sets the resolution to 512X384 and most all color, texture and lighting features to their lowest levels.  This test is basically a CPU/Motherboard Drag Race, since the Radeon 9700Pro isn't even close to breaking a sweat at these settings.  At default speeds we see some pretty wide variances, due largely to CPU and Memory bandwidth differences of the boards, at stock speeds and while overclocked.  At stock speed, the P4C800 bests the Abit IC7-G by over 5%.  However, the tables turn significantly at overclocked speeds and Abit's 3.38GHz speed beats out the Asus 3.45GHz overclock, oddly enough.  Again, the margin is slight however but this does suggest, that while overclocked the Asus board relaxes timings slightly, to maintain stability.  This could account for the P4C800's slightly better "overclockability" factor.  However, a BIOS revision of two from now, Abit can easily close this gap.  As a matter of fact, during testing of the IC7-G, Abit sent us a new BIOS rev, that increased performance and overclocked stability with our board.

 

Well people, I think it is safe to say we're looking at two very fine new motherboards here from Abit and Asus.  Intel's new i875P Canterwood chipset is really where the P4 needed to go, in order to compete head to head with the AMD platforms out there, from a price/performance standpoint.  We've been able to find the IC7-G (note the "G" denotes Gigabit LAN on board) for around $225 on various online search engines.  The P4C800 Deluxe seems to be weighing in at around $190 or so.  The difference in cost can most likely be attributed to the fact that the IC7-G bundle is much better than the P4C800 kit.  Abit gives you the additional USB 2.0 backplate, SATA data and power cables, as well as their "Serillel" converter, in their bundle, which drives the cost up a bit but gives you everything you'll need to build up a new system from scratch and then some.  What's more impressive perhaps, is that you can also get an Abit IC7 (note no "G" on the end here), which doesn't have Gigabit Ethernet on board, nor the extra Silicon Image SATA controller but lists for around $150 at several online resellers.  We haven't seen a "non-Deluxe" version of the Asus P4C800 yet but that may or may not be coming, down the road.

We're completely torn between these two new Canterwood Motherboard actually.  On one hand, you have Abit's great SoftMenu Award driven BIOS, with its fantastic bundle, Intel GigE and Silicon Image SATA RAID controllers.  For sure, the IC7-G performed admirably and it overclocked with grace, in typical Abit fashion.  On the other hand, you have the P4C800, which displayed a slight performance edge over all, had fantastic overclocking capabilities, despite its lower CPU voltage range, and comes in at a lower price point but with a lesser pack-in bundle.  If it weren't for the use of the AMI BIOS on the P4C800 (sorry, it's just not the same for us, without Award under the hood and boy did it play havoc with our flat panel), the scales would have tipped in Asus' favor.   For now, it's a dead-heat in our opinion...

We're giving the Abit IC7-G a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of:

 
 
 
And the Asus P4C800 also scores a Heat Meter rating of:
 

 

Tags:  Asus, C7, DS, Mobo, can, P4, Abit, board, bot, AR, and

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