Abit IT7Max2 v2 vs. Iwill P4HTS

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Abit IT7Max2 v2 vs. Iwill P4HTS - Page 2

The Abit IT7-Max2 v2.0
vs.
The Iwill P4HT-S
Two Fully-Loaded i845PE's Duke it Out...

By, Marco Chiappetta
January 24, 2003

Quality and Setup of the Abit IT7-MAX2 v2
Packed With Goodies!

   

With the exception of the black PCB, and the i845PE chipset the IT7 Max2 v2 is physically identical to the original revision.  The layout of this board is very well thought out, with very good component and connector placement.  If you're not already familiar with Abit's "MAX" line of motherboards, the first thing that'll jump out at you is the IT7 Max2 v2's external I/O port layout.  Abit has done away with the dated serial and parallel ports in favor of more USB ports, IEEE "Firewire" ports, Ethernet and 6-Channel audio with digital output.  The slot configuration is also different from most other boards, with a larger than usual gap between the single AGP slot and four PCI slots.  The Northbridge is passively cooled by a large aluminum heatsink, which is more than adequate considering the relatively low operating temps of the i845PE.

   

The IT7-Max2 v2's 4-Phase power circuitry located behind the Socket 478 is visible in the above shots.  Abit claims the 4-Phase power circuit will carry this board well into the future, and allow it to reliably operate some yet to be announced CPUs.  There is ample room around the socket to accommodate large coolers, with the ATX power connectors mounted out of the way, flanking the CPU socket on either side.  Traveling further down the board we can see the well placed RAID and SATA connectors (powered by a HighPoint HPT374 controller), mounted perpendicular to the edge.  Also visible are the very useful integrated power and reset switches, as well as the integrated POST diagnostic tool's bank of LEDs.

Two of the four available fan headers can been seen in the picture above.  Mounted just behind the 3 DIMM slots, parallel to the edge of the board, you'll find the connectors for IDE channels 1 and 2, along with the floppy connector.  Unfortunately, the DIMM slots are situated in a way that make it almost impossible to install or remove RAM without first removing the video card, but we won't hold too much against Abit for this.  Almost every other OEM has made this mistake on multiple occasions.

THE BIOS:

       

       

The Abit  IT7-Max 2 v2.0 was equipped with a Phoenix / Award v.6.0 BIOS derivative, all of the standard BIOS menus are visible above.  From within the IT7 Max2 v2.0's BIOS, all of the integrated peripherals can be enabled or disabled.  Users planning to use high-end add-in audio or NIC cards do not have to worry about conflicts with the on-board components.  Tweaking memory timings for optimal performance is possible, thanks to a multitude of toggle that will actually allow CAS latency settings as low as 1.5!  User's are also given the ability to specify what percentage to throttle down their CPU speed, or to completely shut-down the system, should it begin to overheat.

     

Enthusiasts familiar with Abit's SoftMenu III will be happy to know it is incorporated into the IT7 MAX 2 v2.0's BIOS.  SoftMenu III give users the ability to adjust virtually every aspect of their CPU and FSB.  Should you be lucky enough to have an unlocked ES P4, the multiplier can be manually altered and the FSB (Front Side Bus) can be set to any speed between 100 and 250MHz, in 1MHz increments.  This board also has an assortment of dividers that allow for better stability at higher bus speeds, but the most useful feature allows users to lock the PCI clock at 33, 37 or 44MHz, regardless of what FSB is being used.  Vcore and DDR voltages can also be adjusted, but unfortunately the I/O voltage cannot be changed.  The Vcore can be set as high as 1.7v in .25v increments, which is relatively low, hopefully a future BIOS update will raise this limit.  The DDR memory voltage can be set to any voltage between 2.5v and 2.8v in .1v increments.

The Iwill P4HT-S

 
Tags:  X2, Will, P4, Abit

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