Abit IT7Max2 v2 vs. Iwill P4HTS

Abit IT7Max2 v2 vs. Iwill P4HTS - Page 4

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

By, Marco Chiappetta
January 24, 2003


We took some Quake 3 Arena v1.32 Time Demo (demo four) scores at a resolution of 640X480, using 16-bit color and textures.  Running Quake 3 with a high-end graphics card with these minimal settings isolates motherboard and processor performance.  Frame rates are limited by the number of polygons and data the CPU and memory subsystem are able to push through the bus, without being limited by the graphics subsystem.

Performance Comparisons with Quake 3 Arena v1.32
Low-Res Fraggin'

Are you beginning to see a pattern emerging? Here, once again, the IT7 Max2 v2 outperformed the P4HT-S, but it was by an insignificant margin of 4.2FPS or just under 2%.  At this point, clearly both of these boards perform very well, and are worthy competitors.  Abit and Iwill have done a great job with the i845PE.  Synthetic benchmarks and Quake3 don't tell the whole story though.  What do you say we move on to some real-world testing and jam with the stones...

"Real World" Performance with the Stones
Simulated Application Performance

In our next test, we used ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2002 benchmark to simulate "real world" application performance.  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, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), 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 2002 applications (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton AntiVirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Now it's tome for 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

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

The trend continued with the ZD benchmarks, where the Abit IT7 Max2 v2 eked by the Iwill P4HT-S by .5 points (1.6%) and .2 points (.5%) respectively, in the Business Winstone 2002 and Content Creation Winstone 2002 tests.  We have to reiterate that paltry performance deltas like these are nothing to get excited about.  However, it is worth mentioning that the Abit board did manage to outperform the Iwill board in every test at default settings, even though the margins were miniscule.


Well, based on the benchmark scores alone, there is no way to declare a clear winner.  Yes, the IT7 Max2 v2 did outrun the P4HT-S in all of the benchmarks, but the performance deltas were insignificant and can be attributed to the slightly more aggressive timings on the Abit board.  Benchmark scores only tell part of the story, however.  There are many things to take into consideration when purchasing a motherboard, like the price, integrated components, overclockability and the bundled accessories.  All things considered, we would have to give an ever so slight edge to the Iwill P4HT-S...

The Iwill P4HT-S is a very good all-around product.  Its got all of the accessories enthusiasts crave, like RAID, SATA, an on-board Ethernet controller, an actively cooled Northbridge and even a colored PCB.  The P4HT-S was also an excellent overclocker, taking our 2.4GHz Pentium 4 to almost 3GHz with air cooling!  Throughout our benchmarking process, the Iwill P4HT-S also proved to be very stable, only faltering when heavily overclocked.  Its performance was also excellent, and the P4HT-S is very competitively priced currently selling for $112 at NewEgg.Com.  Based on its great overclocking abilities, good bundle, complete feature set and modest price, we're giving the Iwill P4HT-S a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of 9...

  • Good Price
  • Great Overclocker
  • Complete Feature set
  • Colored PCB
  • Actively Cooled Northbridge
  • A little too Red!
  • Questionable connector / component placement

Although we gave the nod to the Iwill board in this duel, the Abit IT7 Max2 v2 is still a big winner in our eyes.  The IT7-Max2 v2's feature set is second to none.  This board is packed with every useful feature of the P4HT, plus IEEE1394 "Firewire" and an on-board POST diagnostic tool.  It overclocked very well, and Abit includes a very complete set of bundled accessories.  All these goodies do come at a premium, however.  The Abit IT7 Max2 v2 is currently priced at $167 on NewEgg.Com.  Anyone looking for a feature-rich, quality product will be very pleased with this board.  Based on its very complete feature set, excellent performance, great bundle and overclockability, we give the Abit IT7 Max2 v2.0 a HotHardware Heat meter rating of 8.5...

  • Great layout
  • Loaded with features
  • Good Overclocker
  • Great bundle
  • Top Notch Performance
  • Above Average Price
  • Boring PCB color
  • Didn't Overclock as High as the P4HT-S
    (But it was still a good overclock)


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Tags:  X2, Will, P4, Abit

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