All indications are that
we are shaping up for a very busy fall here in the PC
Hardware scene. New Processors, Motherboard
Chipsets and Form Factors, Graphics Cards and Graphics
Chipset, are coming to fruition from various
manufacturers and we get the feeling that a tidal wave
of technology is upon us. Perhaps the US and
world economies have hit a proverbial speed bump but
for sure, investment in R&D and next generation
technology continues with vigor.
fuel to the fire, Abit Computer has
released a follow on product to their well designed
TH7-RAID, Socket 423 Pentium 4 Motherboard.
Typically, Abit seems to like
to let the competition lead the introduction of new
platform and then enter the scene with a more refined
and matured offering. This time around the
TH7II-RAID (noticed the "II" in there, as in the
"second coming") is the first Socket 478 board to hit
the market, as far as we can tell. From our
initial look at this new gem from Abit, the
refinements seem to already be built in. So, in
typical HotHardware fashion, we put it through its
paces to find out just how refined this board really
Of Abit's TH7II-RAID
Socket 478 Dream
Supports Intel Pentium®4 Socket478 processors
(400MHz System Data Bus)
Intel® 850 (ICH2) chipset
Supports 400MHz (Front Side Bus)
Supports up to Four 184-pin Direct
Rambus RIMM modules
up to 2GB
Ultra DMA 100/RAID
High Point HTP370 IDE Controller
AC'97 Digital Audio
circuit traces on the underside of the PCB, near
the CPU socket, which add to stability while
4 Channels Bus Master IDE
Ports support to 8 Ultra DMA 33/66/100 Devices.
Slots and Expansion
1 AGP slot, 5 PCI slots and 1CNR slot
On board Intel 82562 Physical Layer Interface
is what we have come to expect from Abit, when it
comes to Intel based motherboards. The first
incarnation of Pentium 4 based motherboards, was a
little dry and left plenty to be desired in terms of
system optimization features. The TH7II-RAID is
loaded with goodies that will attract die hard
Techno-Freaks and Overclockers.
foremost, SoftMenu III is driving the BIOS, this means
FSB adjustments in 1MHz. increments. More on
this later. Of course, this a "-RAID" version
Abit board, which means an integrated
ATA100 RAID Controller, is at the ready for various
dual drive RAID configurations or two extra ATA100
channels, for up to 8 total system drives.
Makes It Debut:
this is the first we have seen of Abit's new "Abit
Engineering" effort. Here is what Abit has to
say about this new approach...
"ABIT users are people that push their boards to new levels.
Standards are not even an option but are simply
numbers to blow by. ABIT engineers are like our
users in this way. They take existing, already
extremely overclockable ABIT motherboards and they
modify them to do even more. With the launch of
ABIT is making these ABIT engineered modifications, standard features on certain ABIT
motherboards. Now these in-house modifications, the ABIT engineers have been using on
their boards, are available
to all of our users.
specifically with respect to the "Abit Engineered
Overclocking Strips" that are featured on the
under side of the TH7II-RAID motherboard, here is what
Scott Thirlwell, Abit's resident PR Macho Man, had to
"The story is that an engineer did his own mod
which included these strips. I asked everyone why they
were on the board and it was almost like they thought
they had done something wrong by putting on something
they used, on their own mod devices. Anyway, I talked
to that engineer and he said that with RAMBUS systems,
the strips should increase overall system stability,
especially when overclocking. He went on to say that
during overclocking, this will also increase stability
between all the devices and the board. How do you test
this? The engineers don't really know either. They say
that through use over the past year, they know it is
effective. Other than that they have also run EMI
Tests during regular usage and while overclocking.
The boards with these strips definitely came in with
lower EMI than the systems without.
do you think? Do you like the sound of all of
this? We certainly do. Kudos to Abit for
going the extra mile here and giving the end user a
little bit of that "home cooking" goodness that was
otherwise kept in house.
connections and on board AC97 Digital Sound, round out
the TH7II-RAID's feature list, nicely.
used on the TH7II-RAID is from the same company that
Abit uses for most Softmenu III designs,
very nice feature of the TH7II-RAID is one that was
carried over form the original TH7. The board
has two small momentary button switches, for reset and
power on functions. This makes life easier for
folks, like us here at HotHardware, that don't always
install boards into a case for testing. Simply
plug in your cables, and power supply, hit the power
on button on the board and she'll boot right up!
things set up and cranked up, shall we?