Absolutely stable board with no cold-boot, ATI Radeon AGP8x, or memory timing issues.
|» Pros|| |
Onboard LAN, sound, DDR333 suppport, and SPDIF optical connectors on a sub-$100 motherboard.
Unoffical 800Mhz FSB support with 4-phase power circuitry.
Mounting holes on far right hand side of board don't line up with standard ATX mounting holes.
|» Cons|| |
A single SATA hookup comes at a price - namely the loss of IDE Channel 2.
Unoffical 800Mhz FSB is only guaranteed to work with 2-banks (typically one 512MB chip) of memory.
I used this motherboard for about a month before being tempted by the Abit IC7 (Canterwood Chipset) offering from Abit. However, if you are on a budget, don't want to shell out the money for DDR400 memory, or just want a board that is very overclockable; this is your board.
|» Review|| |
I could go on and on about how great the BIOS options are, how the layout is top notch, etc., but I'd rather tell you a few things that you won't read anywhere else. First, the build quality of this board is top notch. It uses capacitors from Rubycon (one of the highest quality capacitors available) throughout the board, solder on the back is filed down and smooth so you don't poke or scratch your hands installing it, and even the corners of the board are rounded. What this means to me is that Abit is commited to making a high quality product, and are willing to sell it cheaper than the competition to win brand loyalty. Next, the 4-phase power circuitry is above and beyond the requirements for an 845PE chipset board, which typically use 2-phase power circuitry. This means you'll be able to enjoy higher Ghz processors, while others are forced to upgrade their boards, because of power issues, later on down the road. Finally, the board comes with the very unique feature of having SPDIF connectors on the back plane of the motherboard, which makes it an excellent candidate for a home theatre PC motherboard.
All of that said, if you're serious about getting an 800Mhz FSB Pentium 4 in the near future, you'll probably want to get the Abit IC7 even though it is more expensive. The reasons for this are twofold. One reason is 800Mhz FSB P4s will take a larger hit than 533Mhz FSB P4s do in performance because of lack of memory bandwidth, which is supplied on the IC7 by dual-channel DDR. The other reason is that even with a stable 800Mhz FSB on this board, you are realistically limited to 512MB of RAM. I do know if you have 1GB of RAM installed as I do, you'll notice that current games like BF1942 and Warcraft III will use 600-700MB of physical memory, and this situation will only get worse. The offical 800Mhz FSB support, SATA RAID, and Dual-Channel memory of the IC7 come at a price...which is really the key deciding factor if you're building a new system right now. However, if you want a cheaper and still very fast P4 motherboard, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Abit BH7 over all the 845PE chipset boards available at this time. In my opinion this board offers more bang for your buck than any other 845PE chipset board available, and is a great value any way you look at it.