"Real World" Performance with
next series of tests, we ran ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2001
Creation Winstone 2002 benchmarks to
simulate "real world" application performance.
We'll directly quote ZD's
eTestingLabs website for
an explanation as to how the Business Winstone
benchmark generates its score:
"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 2001 tests include:
Microsoft Office 2000 applications (Access, Excel,
FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)
Microsoft Project 98
Creation Winstone 2002 runs a similar
series of scripted activities, but the tests are
comprised of more demanding, "bandwidth hungry" applications.
The applications used in the Content Creation Winstone
2002 tests include:
Macromedia Director 8.5
Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4
Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055
Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)
By now, we're sure you
all could have predicted how this series of testing
would turn out! The Abit IT7-MAX2 managed to
squeak by both of the other motherboards in the
Business and Content Creation Winstone benchmarks,
but again it was by miniscule margins.
Something that we should note is that the IT7-MAX2
outpaced the other two i845Es in every one of our
benchmarks. Even though the IT7-MAX2's
performance advantage was insignificant, it seems
Abit did manage to tweak the board just enough to give
it a slight edge over similar products.
We've run through our
suite of benchmarking applications, and although the
numbers went in the IT7-MAX2's favor in all of the
tests, they don't clearly define a "winner". Overall
performance was on par with other high-end i845E based
motherboards, so deciding whether or not the IT7-MAX2
is a worthy purchase means weighing some other
factors, namely, stability, overclockability,
features, the included bundle
and cost. Well, overclocking with IT7-MAX2 was a
pleasure. With this board, we were able to overclock our CPU to
its air-cooled limit, and this board remained
"rock-solid" until we ran it way out of spec .
The IT7-MAX2's bundle and list of features is also
second to none. With on-board RAID, LAN, Audio,
Firewire, a slew of USB connectors, a POST debugger
and Serial-ATA, along with all of the necessary cables
and adapters to use these features, the IT7-MAX2
brings new levels on integration to the market.
The only thing that may shy some potential buyers away
is price. The IT7-MAX2 is currently selling for
about $140 US, which is approximately $50 more than
some other i845E based motherboards. If you ask
us though, buying an IT7-MAX2 is money well spent.
We should mention that the i845PE based IT7-MAX2 v2.0
is also available, but the only real difference is
official support for DDR333 memory speeds. This
fact doesn't sway our recommendation of this board a
bit, however, because it ran perfectly stable at the
"unofficial" DDR354 memory speed available by
"tweaking" the memory timings in the BIOS. The
bottom line is the Abit IT7-MAX2 is an excellent
product, and is deserving of your consideration if a
high-end P4 system is in your future. Based on
its performance, stability, features and
overclockability, we give the IT7-MAX2 a solid
9 on the
HotHardware.Com Heat Meter.
- Great layout
- Slew of useful
- Very Good
- "Best of
- Higher than
- No Official
support for RAM speeds higher than PC266.
(DDR354 speed worked fine though)
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