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| AquaMark3 |
| DX8 And DX9 Gaming Performance |
Massive Development's AquaMark3 is a new addition to our benchmarking arsenal here at HotHardware. However, with its DX9 enhanced gaming engine, we feel it's an excellent addition that provides a "real-world" relative gaming performance evaluation.
Here the IC7-MAX3 displays a bit more gaming muscle, edging out the DFI board at default settings, while taking a commanding 6% lead at Game Accelerator F1 settings. The differential was much smaller, at default PAT timings for the IC7-MAX3, with only a 3% Abit advantage. It does seem however, that the IC7-MAX3 has the ability to unlock a bit more juice from a Pentium 4 / i875P Canterwood configuration, which is nothing but goodness in our book.
Score another win for the folks at Abit. The IC7-MAX3 is a pure specimen example of what a motherboard targeted toward the enthusiast and power user, should deliver. This new Canterwood board from Abit exhibited the kind of stability one would expect from a second generation offering, that has had time to mature. However, it did so with top end speed, features and overclocking capabilities, that could easily be thought of as bleeding edge. Abit's OTES technology that was designed for the IC7-MAX3, also adds to the board's fantastic stability, affording it a real advantage with cooler power FET and PWM temperatures. We weren't surprised at the great results we achieved overclocking the IC7-MAX3. Enthusiasts have been realizing the benefits of MOSFET cooling for sometime now. It just took Abit to polish the technology and bring it to market with their usual quality and flair. Just take care when choosing your CPU cooler, as tolerances around the CPU socket area are very tight for some retention clip designs, like those that are found on a stock retail P4 cooler.
In addition to all this motherboard technology innovation, Abit took steps to include optional features not found on many motherboards, at least to the extent they are on the IC7-MAX3. With 6 SATA ports, great chipset cooling, Gigabit Ethernet, 6 channel audio with optical outputs, USB 2.0, Firewire and the Secure IDE module, there's something for everybody on this board. Simply put, it's the best Pentium 4 motherboard configuration we've seen in our lab to date. However, all these bells and whistles do come for a price. The IC7-MAX3 weighs in on various price search engines for $215, while other Canterwood competition comes in at around $180. Regardless, we think it's money well spent on a fantastic new motherboard from Abit.
We're giving the Abit IC7-MAX3 a 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter and our Editor's Choice Award for Innovation and Excellence.
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