Abit IT7-Max2 i845E Motherboard

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The Abit IT7Max2 i845E Motherboard - Page 3

The Abit IT7-Max2 i845E Motherboard
A New Addition to Abit's "Legacy-Free" Product Line...

By, Marco Chiappetta
December 5, 2002

We also ran some Quake 3 Arena v1.17 Time Demo (demo001) scores at a resolution of 640X480, using 16-bit color and textures.  Running Quake 3 on a system equipped with a high-end graphics card, with these minimal settings, isolates motherboard and processor performance.  Frame rates are limited by the amount of data the CPU and memory subsystems are able to push through the bus, without being limited by the performance of the video card.

Performance Comparisons with Quake 3 Arena v1.17
Low-Res Fraggin'

Performance across all three of the motherboards we tested was very good, and like the other tests we've run so far, virtually identical.  The 5.7 FPS performance delta between the BD7II-RAID and the IT7-MAX2 equates to a 2.2% difference, which falls well within the margin of error in this test as well.

"Real World" Performance with the Stones
Simulated Application Performance

For our next series of tests, we ran ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2001 and Content 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:

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

  • Microsoft Project 98

  • Lotus Notes R5

  • NicoMak WinZip

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

ZD's Content 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:

  • 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)

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.

CONCLUSION:

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 features
  • Very Good Overclocker
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Complete bundle
  • "Best of Class" Performance
  • Higher than average price
  • No Official support for RAM speeds higher than PC266. (DDR354 speed worked fine though)

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Tags:  Motherboard, X2, Abit, board, AR

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