Abit TH7II-Raid Socket 478 i850 Motherboard

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Abit TH7IIRaid Socket 478 i850 Motherboard - Page 2

Abit's TH7II-Raid & Skt. 478 P4 CPU!
Setup for the next generation of Intel's Flagship

By, Dave Altavilla
August 16, 2001

 

Intel's Socket 478 or mPGA (micro Pin Grid Array) version of the Pentium 4, hasn't officially been released yet.  We'll have some coverage later this month when the wraps are taken off.  However, for this review, we have gotten a hold of one of the chips for testing.  Let's have a quick look.

Installation & Setup
A new socket rocket from Intel and a new Cooler from Thermaltake

These things certainly are tiny when compared to T-Birds or the Socket 423 Pentium 4.

   

   

Again, the mPGA 478 version of the Pentium 4 has, you guessed it, 478 pins.  There are many more power and ground pins in this version of the chip, which will help to stabilize the part at speeds of 2GHz. and higher.  Intel simply didn't have the mPGA 478 ready in time for the initial launch of the Pentium 4, so they went with the PGA 423 package, which was more mature at the time.  However, all future clock speeds beyond 2GHz. will be in this new mPGA 478 package.  The PGA 423 design will support speeds up to 2GHz. but no higher.

 

New Cooling - Enter Thermaltake's Volcano P4:

Now that we have a new CPU package form factor to work with, we'll definitely need new Heat Sink and Fan combos to keep this chip cool.  We decided to go with an HSF from a company that is well know for top notch CPU cooling gear, Thermaltake.

Specifically, we chose their new Volcano P4, to cool our little P4 friend down.

   

As you can see, in this quick shot taken from the Winbond Hardware Doctor utility that Abit bundles with the TH7II-RAID, the Volcano P4 does an excellent job of cooling things down.  This is a temp reading that we took at idle in WindowME.  Also, the lower core temperature reported here is due in part to the improved thermal characteristics of the mPGA package of this new version P4.

 

TH7II-RAID Comes to life
Soft Menu III - You've got to love it

Back to the star of our show, the TH7II-RAID.  The BIOS for this motherboard is supported by Abit's ever fabulous SoftMenu III technology, for setting up the CPU and tweaking it to your heart's content.

Click images for full view

There are more than a few notables here beyond the obvious beauty of Abit's SoftMenu III.  Yes, you can set the Front Side Bus speed to pretty much anything you want, all the way up to 255MHz. and in 1MHz. increments.  However, Abit includes the ability to set the AGP Clock Divider to a fixed 66MHz. clock, as well as  2/3 or 1/4 derivatives of the FSB.  Now, throw in CPU voltage adjustments up to 2.2V and we are looking at some serious overclocking prowess.

Finally, under the RDRAM setting menu, there is a setting called "Differential Current".  When we asked Abit what this was all about, they told us it really is intended for system trouble-shooting and testing.  It really doesn't need to be adjusted unless users are experiencing stability problems with respect to the RDRAM.  We were also told that this should rarely ever occur if at all.  Never the less, it was included just to give you access to the feature.  Once again, "tweakability" is king with this board.

Moving right along.  Let's get this new board from Abit on the bench and into our benchmark gauntlet.

Overclocking, SiSoft's Sandra, and The Winstones

 
 
Tags:  Motherboard, RAID, SoC, socket, Abit, board, AI, id, AR, K

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