Abit IP35-E Socket 775 Motherboard

ccokeman - 2007-07-02 19:14:57 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: July 5, 2007
Abit
Abit
Price: $103.64 USD

Introduction:

P35! Huh? For those who don't know, P35 is the designation for Intel's newest chipset on the market. This chipset is the successor to the highly successful Intel 965 chipset. What I have today is Abit's entry level board into this market. "Off Limits" is the slogan Abit is using to tout this new series of motherboards that it has developed. Even though this is the entry level board in the series, it is not short on features. HDMI ready, 12 USB ports, support for the newest Intel 1333 FSB processors, and 7.1 surround sound make this board ready for action. Seeing that this is the entry level, I am curious as to how well it performs against some of the chipsets and motherboards on the market today. Let's find out.

With many successes in the 15 years since Abit's inception, the company continues to look forward to bring us, the enthusiast, the best product available. One of the company's latest concepts is "Bullet Proof Technology". The company's goal is to deliver award-winning performance based on four key strategies: Quality, Stability, Reliability, and Engineering.

Closer Look:

Abit has moved away from the Asian themed artwork and has gone straight for the heart of Americana with the artwork on the package. Monster trucks are always cool. At least in my world. The rear panel gives a detailed look at the motherboard highlighting its features to effect.

 

 

 

 

Opening the package up, we get to see the bundled accessories on top of the motherboard section of the box. The motherboard is packaged well and took some effort to remove from the box. That's a good thing since no movement equals a safe and secure trip.

 

Closer Look:

This motherboard is the budget version of the company's series of P35 chipset motherboards. With that being said, the bundle of accessories that comes with the board is just enough to get you started. Great for a first purchase, but for the enthusiast crowd, it's quite slim. The things you get include 2 SATA cables, 1 IDE cable,1 floppy drive cable, documentation, driver CD, and an I/O plate. Like I said, slim but functional.

 

 

 

 

 

The cover artwork is incorporated into the label of the driver CD. Again, they are playing to my crowd.

Closer Look:

Aaaahh the motherboard. Now we can see if the packaging has hidden a monster (truck that is) from us. The board is an appealing blue color that really looks different. The back side appears to feature "cooling strips" around the heat sensitive areas to help dissapate heat from those areas. I first saw this feature on the company's flagship 975 chipset board, the AW9D-Max. Looking at the options available for connectivity, you still have the PS/2 ports available, as well as a digital audio out, gigabit LAN, onboard Realtek 7.1 surround sound, and 4 high speed USB ports.

 

 

 

 

 

For add-in card options, you have one PCI-e X16 slot for your graphics card, 2 PCI-e X1 slots, and 3 standard PCI slots. Sadly, this means no dual graphics cards for those of us who use them. After looking at the I/O panel, you may be wondering where the additional 8 USB ports are? Well, they are in the form of 4 front panel connectors, so you can hook them up to where you need them the most.

 

 

Each of the heat sensitive areas on the board are cooled via passive heatsinks. These areas include the power management circuit, MCH (Northbridge), and the ICH9 chipset (Southbridge).

 

 

This board supports up to 8GB of memory by populating all four DIMM slots. Looking over the CPU socket area, it is densely packed on one side by capacitors. This proved to be a non-issue once the heatsink was installed.

 

 

Installation:

The installation of the motherboard into the chassis of your choice is a pretty straightforward process. Remove your case side panels to access the internal components, including the motherboard. If this motherboard is an upgrade from a previous motherboard, then the logical first step would be to remove the older components and motherboard. If starting with a new chassis, then you of course will start fresh without the removal of your old hardware.

The first thing to do once you have the chassis ready is to install the motherboard standoffs and I/O plate specific to the motherboard.

 

 

 

The first thing I usually do to prep for the motherboard install is to install the CPU, then mount the heatsink to the board. For this review, I will be using a stock Intel heatsink. I varied from my usual routine by installing the heatsink after the motherboard was secured into the chassis, just because of the stock mounting mechanism that was used.

 

 

Attach the motherboard to the standoffs and use screws to hold the motherboard in place. Start mounting your peripherals, including your video card, system memory, and any additional cards you are using. For this review, we are using just the video card.

 

 

Wire up the board, take care of your housekeeping and wire management, and we are ready to put this board through its paces.

 

Closer Look:

The BIOS on this motherboard is not as complicated as the many others I have had the pleasure to work with. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes short and simple is a bit better for the average Joe. The items in the BIOS that I will concentrate on are the ones that will benifit us overclockers, specifically the Abit Softmenu and Advanced Chipset Features sections.

 

The Main BIOS page gives you all of the available sub-sections to make adjustments. The Softmenu page allows for changes to your CPU clock, memory ratio, and all of the system voltages. You can leave everything alone and run at the default settings set in the BIOS if you so choose.

 

 

The cpu clock is adjustable from 200 to 600 FSB, a subtantial amount of flexibility. This at least gives you a high end goal to shoot for. The memory ratios are listed and are adjustable from 1:1 to 1:2.

 

 

This board definitely has the voltage options available to you if you need them. With an available 1.945v for the CPU and 3.0v for the memory, this board has the options to play in the big leagues. Both nortbridge and southbridge chipsets have plenty of voltage options available to help urge the most from your hardware.

 

 

 

Specifications:

 

Abit Engineered

Abit SoftMenu™ The original jumperless motherboard design allows for CPU setting changes completely through the BIOS. For GigaOverclocking! Boost your PC's Performance by up to 50%. Convenient and easy-to-use fine tuning from within a self-explanatory

 
CPU

- Support Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme/Duo/Quad processors with 1333/1066/800MHz FSB
- Support Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme/Quad/Duo & Pentium® Dual Core Processors

Chipset
- Intel® P35 Express / ICH9 Chipset
Memory

- 4 X 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. memory capacity 8GB
- Supports Dual channel DDR2 800/667/533 un-buffered non-ECC memory

LAN

- Onboard Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000M Ethernet (MARVELL 88E8056)

Audio

- On board 7.1 CH HD Audio CODEC (Realtek ALC888)
- Supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF Out
- HDMI ready header (SPDIF header)

Expansion Slots


- 1 x PCI-E X16
- 2 x PCI-E X1
- 3 x PCI

Internal I/O

-1 x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88 MB
- 1 x ATA 133/100/66/3 IDE connector
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector
- 4 x USB header (support 8 ports)
- 1 x FP-Audio

Back Panel I/O

1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 Mouse
- 1 x S/P DIF Out
- 7.1 CH Audio connector (Front, Line-in, MIC-in, Center/Subwoofer, Surround, Rear Surround)
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN connector

Serial ATA
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s through Intel® ICH9
Form Factor

- ATX form factor 305 x 245mm
- PCB Color: Blue

RoHS
100% lead-free process and RoHS compliant

 

Features:

 

Testing:

I will be running the Abit IP35-E through a series of benchmarks to show what kind of performance you can expect from this motherboard. I will compare its performance against a few of the current motherboards and chipsets out on the market today. Included in the comparison will be both an Nvidia 680i chipset, as well as the Intel 965, the P35 chipset's predecessor. I will be using a combination of real world testing applications, as well as several games to show a broad snapshot of what this board is capable of. All clock speeds and memory timings will be the same on each of the boards to eliminate any variables. All video card settings were left at set-up defaults, again eliminating any variables.

 

Testing Setup:

Comparison System:

 

The system tests we will be using are listed below:

Lets get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings.

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes to complete.

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds

 

 

 

 

It looks like the IP35-E is off to a good start. In a tie for number one or leading the way in WinRar.

Testing:

Specview is a benchmark designed to test Open GL performance. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default tests were chosen to be able to compare across platforms.

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

It looks like we have some mixed results with the board up and down depending upon the tests run.

Testing:

PcMark05 is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual board, to see which manufacturer, if any, rises above the others.

 

 

 

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Higher is Better

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be concentrating on four tests: processor arithmetic, multimedia scores, memory latency and bandwidth scores.

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

Memory Latency

 

Cache and Memory

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better!

 

Cinebench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. For this, we used the default test for our comparison.

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Lower is Better

 

Lower is Better

 

Testing:

Now that the system benchmarks are complete, we will move on to the video benchmarking portion of the review. I will be using an EVGA 8800GTS 640MB as the video card of choice for today's test. We will be using an assortment of games to test performance across manufacturer's boards to look for any performance advantages.

 

The game tests that we use are as follows:

 

First up we have Far Cry. This game makes extensive use of pixel shaders and features Polybump normal mapping technology to increase character details.

 

We will be using the Hardware OC Benchmarking Utility version 1.8 with the following settings.

 

 

 

 

Testing:

F.E.A.R. is a newer game that includes its own benchmarking utility. We will be using this test to benchmark the game. This game introduces a new AI model that emulates real squad behavior. It has the ability to counteract the moves you make rather than having a predictable routine.

 

The settings we will use today are below:

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Microsoft Flight Simulator X is the newest edition of the popular flight simulator. For testing, I will fly the same route through each resolution. Testing will start at a resolution of 1024X768, since this is the lowest resolution available.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

Flight Simulator 10 is the newest installment of the series and proves to be a severe test for even high-end systems when the quality settings are cranked up.

Testing:

Call of Duty 2 is a WWII first-person shooter game that is older, but still maintains a tremendous online following. This test will consist of a timed run on the Stalingrad multi-player map, measured by Average FPS (frames per second) will be the measure used.

 

The settings used are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Quake 4 is next up for testing. We will be using the Hardware OC Quake 4 Benchmark Utility version 1.5  to complete the testing with this game. You will need to update to the most current version for the latest time demo and bug fixes. Average FPS (frames per second) will be the measure used.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Need For Speed: Most Wanted. For this test we will time each race and giving the average FPS (Frames Per Second) achieved.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

This board had a little bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The ugly being the fact that it has an issue with a double reboot on each restart. The issue is not exclusive to this chipset as the Intel 965 boards had the same issues. After speaking with Abit, the issue is known and is being looked into. A BIOS update is being looked to for a solution. The bad was that my CPU would only run a max FSB of 355. While this is not a big issue, with a higher multiplier I was expecting a little more. With that being said, 3550 MHz isn't too shabby of an overclock. Now for the good. Performance was at or above the level of the other chipsets we compared it to at stock CPU speeds and default settings. In our suite of gaming benchmarks, it consistently out-performed the other chipsets, sometimes by a wide margin. Something that was quite unexpected, considering the strengths of the 680i chipset, are in the area of graphics and memory performance. Without all the bells and whistles that its top of the line brethren feature, this board performs at a level sure to please.

This review is the first in a series of three P35 offerings from Abit. Make sure you stay tuned for the next review in the series, due next week.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: