abit was the top manufacturer of enthusiast level boards a few short years ago, but after they expanded into areas where they didn't have the manufacturing expertise or cost advantages to compete with the larger tier one manufacturers they fell on hard times. As a result, abit lost market share as well as mind share. Fortunately, abit entered into a long-term partnership with USI that saved the company. With that save came a name change, Universal abit is the successor to the Abit motherboard brand name. Since the merger, the company has tried to rekindle their former leadership in the computer enthusiast, extreme overclocker, and high performance markets.

The first wave of products in the summer of 2006 from Universal abit was interesting to say the least. In some cases like the abit AW9D-MAX they released a top performer that reminded us of the old Abit; in other areas, however, we found boards like the ABP9 Pro represented a crossroads in abit's new product launch. This board held great promise in our early looks, but it quickly turned into disappointment at launch and then finally redeemed itself near the end of its product cycle. However, this series almost spelled doom for the new Universal abit as it only reinforced problems that users had grown tired of in the last year of Abit's existence.


abit took tremendous criticism for the AB9's poor layout and early BIOS issues when the product launched. It was not feasible to alter the layout after the product launch, but they solved most of the initial performance and compatibility issues after several BIOS releases. After listening to the loud chorus of boos, abit did something that most motherboard companies do not; they addressed the majority of complainants with the AB9 Pro board by introducing a mid-life product update. Thus the abit AB9 QuadGT was born and it most definitely addressed the layout, component selection, feature set, and BIOS options that dogged the AB9 Pro.

Sadly, the BIOS engineering and quality assurance groups did not make the same headway, and the QuadGT board again experienced nagging BIOS problems for numerous weeks after the initial launch. It seemed as if the ghosts of Abit's past were determined to see the new abit fail. It was with great apprehension that we awaited the release of their P35 boards. Would this series of motherboards continue the downward spiral of being late to market with severe BIOS problems like the previous product launches, or would the new Universal abit finally have products that would capture the minds and hearts of the enthusiast community once again?

Fortunately for abit's remaining customers (and us), they succeeded in delivering an entire series of P35 motherboards that make amends for the past. These boards are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they do show that abit is finally back to delivering products that target certain market sectors and have the features and performance to back it up. With that said, let's look today at the IP35-Pro feature set and performance results.
abit IP35-Pro: Board Layout and Features
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  • Odeen - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    In this day and age, PCI LAN = fail.
    Dual PCI LAN = double fail.

    Realtek ANYTHING does not belong on a board that advertises itself as a "Pro"

    Whatever happened to the good old days where the south bridge had a MAC that just needed a PHY to have a network connection that was completely independent of other external buses? I know the ATI/AMD RD600 doesn't have a MAC and requires an external network adapter, the ICH9 has a gigabit MAC, and requires merely an Intel 82566 PHY chip to have a gigabit Ethernet connection.

    For that matter, who here uses dual NICs? Please raise your hands and tell me what you use them for. Seems like a waste of power to use a computer for internet connection sharing, in the day and age of $25 wireless routers....
    Reply
  • Mekreluk - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    Right, so let me get this right.

    You give the IP35-Pro a gold award, and the DFI P35-TR2 a silver award?

    The IP35-Pro had bigger vDroop, reaches a lower FSB with a Quad and scores a mark above the DFI?

    I'm not disputing that it's a good board, after all it's cheaper than the DFI and has uGuru but these motherboards are for enthusiasts. The users who chuck the most expensive, best performing hardware into their online carts without a second thought.

    So, I'm thinking a Vauxhall Zafira should score more than a Lotus Elise because hey! It's slower, costs less and can fit 7 people in it.

    Add to that the fact the DFI P35 review walks all over the IP35-Pro one as it's also a more in depth guide into it's overclocking with the GTLREF settings etc.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, November 02, 2007 - link

    It has been said that the vdroop on these boards is associated with inexperienced users *not* using a different 12v rail for the 4 pin PCIe AUX power connection. The only vdroop I had with my IP35-E and E6550 @ 3.33Ghz was a very small MCH vdroop, which was easily corrected in the BIOS by bumping the MCH voltage up one notch. I am also using a Power supply that is known to work well with the IP35 series.

    The award for this board is well warranted in my opinion, and I cannot help but wonder exactly how stable that DFI PoS is, and how easy it is to setup. I could care less if it runs at a slightly higher external clock if it is not stable, or is extremely hard to set up. ANYONE with half a brain can setup the IP35 boards with a reasonable OC in about 1 minute, and these boards work 100% out of the box the way they are intended, and are dahmed stable(meaning I have not experienced a single BSoD, or crash since this board made it into my system).

    As for the 'bad' ethernet performance, ANYONE who is serious about their ethernet performance is going to be using either an Intel Pro 1000 desktop adapter, or an Intel pro 1000 server adapter, and not some PoS onboard ethernet. As for why dual ports ? Maybe someone wants to run their desktop on multiple subnets ? Ive done it before . . . it can be great for remote booting. Now tying the GbE port(s) to the PCI bus is a serious no no, I will agree with that.

    Let me guess . ..you own said DFI P35-TR2 board ? If you like it, fine use it , be happy and quite whining about some review that is 'dis'n' your motherboard . . . and go wonder how serious overclockers on the ABIT forums have hit 4Ghz + with their E6600's on this board.
    Reply
  • Mekreluk - Sunday, November 04, 2007 - link

    I didn't say the board doesn't warrant the review score, as I said, I know it's a good board but there are users on XS who have gotten a higher clock out of the P35-T2R after migrating from the IP35-Pro.

    How stable the DFI is? Very stable, it's been described as rock stable by C-N, BrotherEsau, Solarfall who are 3 regular posters in the thread over at XS. I didn't actually own the P35-TR2 when I posted my comment before, I don't actually currently have a PC due to having my PC343B custom modified for a dual water cooling loop. I made my observation on real end user experiences with the board. I've since received my DFI board though.

    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    First of all, these AT mobo reviews are always way late, with endless forum posts by Mr. Key about hourly "bios updates" being emailed to him by manuf. Can't they test their own boards - why do they need a reviewer to spot a bug? Abit doesnt know about Vdroop??? Dont they test firewire thruput?
    I'm sick of motherboards that work 90%.
    And I dont want to hear about buggered up bios for months - when you get a "bought in store" retail board, then review it, other than that, stifle yourself.

    You practically sleep with these guys - where's your objectivity? Its not your job to help them bring out a working board. I mean, like they need Gary Key for input - what are THEIR engineers doing all this time?
    And why is it after all these years that mobo makers still cannot create a lousy <1MB bios that works right out of the gate.
    They are still shoving crap out the door and hoping it flies - eventually.

    I say Gary Key must go - get someone who doesnt put out all those "teaser" blurbs. Maybe that's one reason why you only have 422 members online at this moment. Its so annoying.

    And FWIW: Abit is skipping the X38
    http://my.ocworkbench.com/bbs/showthread.php?%20th...">http://my.ocworkbench.com/bbs/showthread.php?%20th...
    Reply
  • Heidfirst - Friday, November 02, 2007 - link

    "And FWIW: Abit is skipping the X38
    http://my.ocworkbench.com/bbs/showthread.php?%20th...">http://my.ocworkbench.com/bbs/showthread.php?%20th...
    No, they aren't - in fact IX38 QuadGT DDR2 stock arrived in the UK today.

    As for the dual PCI LAN there is a reason & it's a deliberate design decision - it's upto you whether it's right or wrong for you but as Gary said it won't affect the vast majority of people as it's still waaay faster than domestic broadband & also faster than a single hard drive can cope with.
    By using PCI LAN on the Pro(the IP35-E & plain IP35 use PCI-E LAN) it means that you can use the x16 PCI-E slot & the x4 PCI-E slot & still have another x1 PCI-E slot active (the last PCI-E lane on the chipset is used for the JMicron) for use with a wifi card, soundcard etc.
    Other boards from competitors disable other PCI-E slots when the x16 & x4 are used to their capacity.
    Maybe not so important now when there are still relatively few x1 PCI-E cards available (although 1 of course is abit's AirPace wifi) but in a year or 2?
    Reply
  • crabnebula - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    One of the negatives I've seen about this board in other reviews is its Firewire throughput, which is considerably slower than competitors.

    See here for example: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/07/12/abit_i...">http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/07/12/abit_i...

    This might be of importance to some people who use FireWire devices.
    Reply
  • Heidfirst - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    there was a BIOS released after that which supposedly addressed the firewire transfer rate issue. Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    At the start of the review you mentioned a problem with the heatsinks.

    Is abit planning to fix this? It sounds like kind of a serious thing that the heatsinks don't work properly out of the box in 2 of your 3 boards.

    quote:

    Engineering can only take you so far, and unfortunately the execution is not always up to standards. Out of the three boards we tested, two had problems with the heatsink properly making contact on the PWM components and the MCH heatsink was not completely flat. A quick Google search will lead you to a forum user who "fixed" this problem. We tried it on one of our boards and noticed the MCH temperatures dropped 5C while PWM temperatures dropped over 9C when overclocking the board.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    We have abit to screen their production process and to improve this design. We had one board that the PWM heatsink refused to make decent contact with the components and the other two were close to perfect. It could be manufacturing variations in the heatsink design or just plain bad quality control. Reply

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