Intel Chipset The Intel 875P packs a powerful punch. Sporting AGP 8X, Native Serial ATA, Dual Channel DDR at 400MHz and many others, Intel is serious about the performance of thismotherboard. Intel decided to go from a CPU bus of 133MHz, skipping over 166MHz completely and landing at 200MHz and 1 upping all current AMD platforms. When Prescott comes later in the year, it will only further cement Intel's position on the performance market (Unless the Athlon64 can pull some tricks out of the hat. We won't hold our breath). Lets take a look at the Canterwood chipset and it's specifications.
"The Intel® 875P chipset features support for an 800 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) and implements Intel® Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT) with dual-channel DDR400 memory configurations to get incredible performance from the memory interface. Optimized to support the Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor with Hyper-Threading Technology, the 875P chipset adds intelligence to help manage and prioritize multiple threads received from the microprocessor. "The 875P chipset-based platform integrates Intel® Communication Streaming Architecture (CSA) featuring a Dedicated Networking Bus interface, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, and Serial ATA. An enhanced AC '97 audio implementation with dual independent DMA audio engines delivers improved sound quality and new audio usage models. The 875P chipset helps to ensure that tomorrow's most demanding applications will run optimally on Pentium 4 processor-based platforms."
Supports Dolby* Digital 5.1 surround sound (1), delivering six channels of enhanced sound quality.
Intel® Communication Streaming Architecture
Wire-speed GbE with the Dedicated Network Bus for performance network connectivity.
While I think Intel has really hit the mark here with the 875P Canterwood chipset. The one thing that continually stands out as lackluster is the onboard sound. 6-Channel Audio is a mildly souped up AC97 in disguise, while you'll find highly superior Dolby Digial SoundStorm on the nForce2 Ultra chipsets.
Software and Extra's
As is ABIT's style, there isn't a lot of "unneeded" software included in the package. What you'll get is up to date drivers, Manual and monitoring utilities. As I've stated previously, I prefer this deal over other manufacturers who include a larger software suite to entice buyers as opposed to having a top notch product. Bottom line is, if I need software, I'll buy it.
Also included is a peculiar new item known as Secure IDE. Basically this is a hardware feature that does several things to include, Protecting your HD Data, Safeguards privacy and Identity, and Encryption. Let's dig a bit further into this new intriguing feature.
How to Use ABIT's SecureIDE™ to Protect your Information/Data? Secure IDE is a encryption card that uses the eNOVA X-Wall chipset that ensures confidentiality and privacy of your data through disk encryption. When booting up your system, go to DOS and implement the FDISK instruction. This instruction will make a partition to format the Hard Disk to accept the secure IDE key. After this procedure, there are no more extra steps to perform besides using the IEEE key to "open" the hard disk each time you boot up your system.
Nowadays it is necessary to have information security no matter what field your data comes from: business, scientific, government or copywrite protection. Only Secure IDE can protect your data.
X-Wall® Chip ensures privacy and confidentiality of your data through entire disk encryption.
Hardware secure key authenticates during computer booting.
Without the key, your hard disk can not be accessed.
Device Driver free, Compatible with all OS.
Zero CPU and memory utilization.
Ultra ATA 100/133 hard drive supported.
Automatic and transparent encryption/decryption.
Quite a nifty little feature, that may not be for everyone, it's certainly interesting, and can be very handy if truly needed. It's nice to see ABIT bring something new and innovative to the table with a consumer level motherboard.
Layout and Feature Set
One of the most anticipated features of the IC7-MAX3 is the onboard OTES cooling. Motherboard cooling? That's right, ABIT has something special in store for the hardest of hardcore overclockers and cooled notoriously hot spots of the motherboard with their patented Outside Thermal Exhaust System Cooling, more commonly known as OTES. What the OTES does is surround the components that need to be cooled, pulls the hot air off of them, and expels them outside of the PC case, getting the hot air out and away from internal components. You gotta hand it to the ABIT crew on this one, nobody else has even come close to this type of innovation in the motherboard sector.
"The IC7-MAX3 is equipped with features never even conceived for a desktop motherboard. For users who require MAXimum security and storage, the ABIT MAX3 features 6 channel serial ATA RAID with the Silicon Image 4-port serial ATA RAID controller plus native 2 channel support, as well as ABIT's latest ABIT Engineered™ feature: Secure IDE™. But what is most exciting about MAX3 is that it features the most advanced cooling technology ever seen before on a motherboard - OTES."
WOW! Who'd have thought that so many features could be packed into a motherboard? Well, we have all dreamed, and now it seems our dreams may have come true. 6 Channel SATA support!! More than anyone could even really use, but as we like to say around here, overkill is a good thing, and there's plenty of that on this mobo. Nobody can accuse ABIT of being afraid to go over the edge, that's for sure. Let's move on.
Right from the get go we can see the IC7-MAX3 means business. The Northbridge comes stock with the biggest, meanest looking cooler we have ever seen from a factory board. It's big and meaty, but doesn't output a high amount of noise. You'll see 5 PCI slots on the board which at first, may not seem like a lot. But after seeing that the IC7-MAX3 comes complete with Onboard Gigabit Ethernet, 1394 Firewire, 4 USB2.0 ports (with connections for plenty more) and onboard 6-channel Audio. There won't be much need to take up many of your PCI's.
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