ABIT IT7-MAX2 V2.0
While the IT7-MAX series is just over seven months old, ABIT has made quite a few changes to its positioning with the product. Originally the IT7-MAX was intended as a take-no-prisoners, legacy-free, high-end motherboard. Gone were the outdated serial and parallel ports, ABIT even did away with the PS/2 ports used for your keyboard and mouse! The future as ABIT saw it was with high-speed USB 2.0 and FireWire devices, the days of being constrained to legacy devices was long gone, it’s almost a surprise ABIT included a floppy connector!
The future ABIT had envisioned didn’t quite pan out however. Numerous requests came in to bring back the PS/2 ports; it turns out there were people who didn’t have USB keyboards and mice after all. Chalk the IT7-MAX up as a product that was ahead of its time.
This shouldn’t be surprising though, considering that it was coming from ABIT. You see ABIT has always been at the forefront of incorporating new technology into their motherboard designs. Jumperless motherboard technology – you can thank ABIT for that, as their motherboards supported this feature years’ before the competition. Integrated IDE RAID controllers? You can largely credit ABIT for this feature as well. We still remember the speech we were given by a former ABIT VP a few years ago “IDE RAID for Everyone”. ABIT has been offering this feature on their motherboards for quite a few years now. We could go on and on about the innovations ABIT has brought to the marketplace, but we’ve only got so much time, and you’re hear to read about the IT7-MAX2 V2.0 right?
Northern end of the motherboard
You can see the empty space between the AGP slot
Taking MAX to the next level
ABIT refined the IT7-MAX recipe by including Serial ATA, and bringing back the PS/2 ports in the IT7-MAX2. We also really dug the black PCB it was built on. Unfortunately however, it was based on Intel’s 845E chipset, which only supports PC2100 DDR memory. This limits bandwidth to 2.1GB/sec. This is fine and all when you’re running a Pentium 4 processor with a 400MHz system bus, but with 533MHz Pentium 4’s like the 2.53GHz becoming increasingly popular, the discrepancy between the memory bus and the system bus increases substantially, as these processors can eat up to 4.2GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Hence the 845PE chipset from Intel was born.
Unlike 845E, the 845PE chipset supports newer PC2700 DDR memory. While this still doesn’t match the bandwidth offered by the P4’s faster bus, it does a much better job of keeping the processor fed with data. We saw performance gains of up to 8% at 2.8GHz in our 845PE article, and guess what folks, as the clock speed of the processor increases, that gap only gets wider.
Therefore, in order to update its IT7-MAX2 line (the flagship of ABIT performance), ABIT has introduced the IT7-MAX2 V2.0. This motherboard is built around the 845PE chipset, so you know it’s going to be fast.