ABIT: Motherboard manufacturer extraordinaire
Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini. All three of these of these brands are well known for producing high-end sports cars. Just as these companies represent the cutting edge in automotive performance, ABIT has established itself as a dominant player in the upper echelon of performance motherboards. Unlike most motherboard manufacturers, ABIT has catered their products towards hardware enthusiasts. Only recently have they focused more production on the value and OEM segments. As a result, their board production isn't up there with the volume players such as MSI and ECS; instead they sell slightly fewer boards but they sell for greater premiums.
This tradition started many years ago when ABIT released its first jumperless motherboard. In today's day and age, nearly every motherboard on the market features jumperless technology but just a few years ago this was not the case. Early on ABIT did run into some problems gaining support of its jumperless technology, but ABIT proved that its jumperless configuration was a viable implementation when they released their IT5H motherboard. Based on Intel's 430HX chipset, the IT5H brought new levels of performance to the Pentium platform.
Over the years ABIT's jumperless technology dubbed "SoftMenu" became easier to use while at the same time it also became more powerful. End users had access to system settings they'd never seen before, allowing them to enhance their system's performance at the touch of a button. Today's SoftMenu III interface revolutionized the hardware world when it was launched on the BE6-II and BF6 back in 1999: for the first time in history consumers had bus speed settings in 1MHz increments, allowing for the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to overclocking the CPU. In fact, the article you're reading today was published on a system powered by ABIT's BF6 motherboard that has been running overclocked (142MHz) for two years nonstop. Truly ABIT's products have been designed for extreme use.
With so much success, it didn't take long for the rest of the industry to catch up. Today you'd be hard-pressed to find a motherboard that doesn't feature some form of jumperless technology and bus speeds in 1MHz increments are standard fare on practically every motherboard geared towards hardware enthusiasts.
Therefore, in an attempt to differentiate themselves from other motherboard manufacturers, ABIT launched its MAX series of motherboards earlier this summer. With the MAX lineup, ABIT has strived to remove all legacy components within the system. You won't find any serial or parallel ports on a MAX motherboard. Instead you'll find high-speed USB 2.0 and Firewire ports for connecting those devices. The MAX motherboards were quite a hit with the enthusiast community, but as good as they were, they were lacking in a few areas. In an attempt to make a good product even better, ABIT sweetened up the MAX formula and made it even more successful.
Read on to find out what makes the IT7-MAX2 an Editor's Choice product, and don't forget to answer the quiz questions for a chance to win an IT7-MAX2 of your own, courtesy of ABIT and FiringSquad.