Intel P965: abit AB9 QuadGT

by Gary Key on 1/22/2007 5:15 AM EST
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  • 8KCABrett - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link



    1. "loading the JMicron RAID driver instead the standard XP IDE driver" is a one time thing that can be done at installation and not worried about after that right?

    2Does this lead to any other issues. . . is it still possible to use and IDE optical once this is done?
    Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - link

    Gigabyte may have had BIOS issues with the early releases, but their memory guide also gives a pretty good idea of what will work with the board. I have put in 2 P965 DQ6's recently). Both times I got the recommended Kingston kits, and everything works fine and is blazing fast. For the same price as this Abit is selling, it has 2 more SATA ports, 2 internal firewire headers (though I honestly don't know how many the abit has, both the abit and the gigabyte have a rear port built in), the DQ6 seems to have a better cooling system, a better floppy port location, better PCI-Express auxiliary power location, and it comes with 2 eSATA brackets, each with two ports, and 4 eSATA cables.

    Speaking of Kingston kits, one of the above posters was correct in asserting that many manufacturers ship an immature bios with their boards, and this has proved true for many P965 boards (1.8V only, etc.). A P965 is definitely not a platform on which I would want to muck around with enthusiast memory.

    BTW, you should review the i-Star S-8 Storm Series enclosure. Best case I have used in a while, though they always seem to be trying to play some cruel prank by shorting you some screws. Luckily, building all of those Supermicro 750 and 760 based workstations years ago has left me with quite the surplus.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, January 26, 2007 - link

    Its pretty much in-excusable, releasing a motherboard, using an enthusiast chipset, that doesn't support the best enthusiast memory chips. At least, from the enthusiasts perspective, thats all we were saying. Reply
  • RippleStrip - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Ok, so I've been out of it for a while. I remember reading on reviews for early 975s and 965s that it was possible to change the cpu multiplier (although sometimes only one way). Did Intel bop this on the head, or do some motherboards still do this? What about the nvidia boards?

    -Steven
    Reply
  • SignalPST - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    This has nothing to do with the article, but nevertheless, I'm dying to ask.
    Will AnandTech do a roundup of non-refrence nForce 680i motherboards once they are all out? So far, the guys that are or will be making them are ASUS, ABIT, GIGABYTE and DFI.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Yes, finally received the new ASUS boards yesterday and the Gigabyte/abit boards are due this week. Reply
  • SignalPST - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Great! I'll be looking forward to the review, and I'm sure alot of people will be too.

    I get a sense that everyone is still tight-liped about the DFI nForce 680i motherboard :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Heh, Gary, was that you on the ABIT forums that smoked the set of Corsair 6400 memory ? (because of the uGuru issue) Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    That was me. :) Reply
  • Heidfirst - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    there's a new beta BIOS available for it already (the board hasn't even made it to retail in the UK yet).
    http://forum.abit-usa.com/showthread.php?t=119222">http://forum.abit-usa.com/showthread.php?t=119222

    Tbh with market pressure & shipping schedules I think that many mobo mfrs are shipping boards with an initial slightly buggy BIOS hoping to have a better 1 available for download by the time that the boards hit retail.
    e.g. look at Gigabyte's BIOS development for the P965 series or the fact that the Asus P5N-E SLI is still on the release BIOS & that could use more work too.

    Is that ideal?
    Of course not but it's commercial pressure driving it...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    E6600 Results so far -

    7x525 - http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/2339/abitq7x525...">http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/2339/abitq7x525...

    7x535 - http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/687/abitq7x535s...">http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/687/abitq7x535s...

    CPU-Z - http://img345.imageshack.us/img345/3088/abitq7x535...">http://img345.imageshack.us/img345/3088/abitq7x535...
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Yeah, from what I've read, the Gigabyte DS3 was it ? Has issues with the Micron D9 chips for the longest (and may still have). Keep in mind, that among multitudes of Motherboard OEMs, Gigabyte would be in my mind, top tier, and I have the highest regard for them.

    It just so happens that ABIT is what I prefer, because of the experiences I've had with stability using their main boards.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    We really like the board and were impressed with its overall performance. In fact, the board just seems to be light years ahead of the AB9 Pro, but an otherwise excellent design is ruined by an immature BIOS. The issues we discovered during testing make us wonder if the light is on at abit's quality assurance department.


    If you guys had dealt with ABIT for any amount of time, you would know that this happens quite often with a new motherboard from them. The key here is, ABIT almost as a rule, continues working on their BIOS' for around a year, after a new motherboard is released, and they typically work out most of the bad kinks in the first few months. I'm quite surprised that you fellas at anandtech did not know this, or at least would mention this.

    Anyhow, just like every other company out there, not all of ABIT products are perfect. However, even though their forums are not 'maintained' by them, their forums group is top notch, and most of the time, you can get the scoop an any given motherboard made by ABIT there. Hell, I've even gone to ABITs forums for support on products ABIT didnt even make, and have found solutions rather fast . . .
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Hi,

    We have dealt with abit for a long time. I spent time in their California offices in November and Taiwan in December going over the new product launches to ensure the issues we have noticed in the past couple of product releases were not repeated again. The design issues were solved and the BIOS issues should not have happened. We have mentioned these issues in previous articles, look at my three briefings on the AB9 Pro. ;)
    We expressed our concerns about the BIOS maturity on the AB9 series and they launched anyway with a BIOS that rendered most of the boards useless and led to a recall. We are getting frustrated with reporting our findings during testing and then seeing the boards released anyway with flaws that are easily fixed for the most part. I have been an abit fan for a long time and understand their routines but there is a difference in knowing about an issue before release and ignoring it or finding an issue after release that was one of twenty five thousand combinations not tested.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Ah, forgot to mention, My board is an ABIT NF7-S2G, the actual owner of the business here (also a friend) has been using an AS8 for around 2 years now, one of the other techs, is using an ABIT simular to mine, but is an Intel system baord (sorry dont remember the model of hand), and a friend who has been staying here with us for a few months, is using an AW8-MAX. SO its not like we ALL bought the same board, etc. Matter of a fact, I'm in the minority, with the only AMD systems here . . . Well, actually, the owner did just recently buy an NF-M2 nView, but its not working yet (still waiting on newegg, for the DDR2 6400 Corsair sticks . . .) Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Well, Gary, just by reading your posts here and there (anandtech, and abits forums) I can tell you know what you're talking about. I can also see, from your posts on their forums, that you are going way out of your way to help them nail what problems you do find. This is a very good thing for them whether they know it or not (but I'm sure they do). I for one, would really hate to see ABIT go by the way side, and feel compelled to thank you for helping them create a better product.

    My main *bitch* about the article wasn't that you guys found the ABIT board to be inferior because of the BIOS, but because of the way it was said, which to the un-initiated could be misleading. I think a mention of ABITs attention to detail, of their BIOSes over time would be very appropriate.

    I'm going to sound like a fan boi here in saying this, but we have approx 10 ABIT boards, of varying age, and the majority of them still run perfectly (ranging from 1-8 years old), and every single one is very stable. Now one of which is mine (an ABIT KT7A-RAID100 board) did die after 5-6 years of use, because of leaking capacitors, so its not like these boards are perfect forever. We also have other random OEM boards, which have lasted this long as well, one of which is a server / workstation Tyan board, and I believe the rest are mostly Intel boards (its a shame they don't make them like they used to any more).

    There are three of us here, we are all in the IT business, and I think it speaks highly that all three of us, all use ABIT boards. Now, this is not because we are fans of ABIT (well, we really are), but there is a reason, the simple fact that they all arrived working, all are very stable, and they continue working for years on end, without much, if any problems. Now if <insert OEM here> had proven themselves to us, I'm sure we would be using their boards instead, but thats not how things worked out.

    I'm sure you remember my posts about my current desktop system board from last year, if not let me refresh your memory. Asrock AM2NF4G-SATA2 system board. It's only saving grace, sadly, is that it only cost me $54usd, and could be tossed into the garbage when, and if I get the funds for something better, which in fact is the ONLY reason I bought it to begin with. Now look at the life cycle of this companies BIOSes. 2-3 Months after this board was released, they stopped updating their drivers (most of which were from last year already anyhow), and BIOSes haven't been updated either. This, to me, is way worse than the issues mentioned in the article, however, the board was also pretty dahmed cheap.

    I just wish the NF-M2 nView board had been released when I got around to buying this one. That is the one thing I do not like about ABIT, they tend to take much longer, than the rest, to release <insert chipset here> system boards. I've found also, that in the long run however, this thing I do not like about them, also works in their favor, because usually their boards, are a cut above the rest, concerning stability.

    Now on to the things you were talking about, such as releasing products with known flaws, and doing nothing about it, well, I can not really comment on this, because I have nothing to go on, except, what you're saying. I believe you, however, at the same time, I find it really hard to believe, that if a company that was REALLY as bad, as the article stated (at least, this is how it seemed to me), that myself, and my two associates would be using ABIT boards, and very happy with them, especially since we fix / build systems daily. Now, if only we all could agree, on who makes the best processor . . . ;)

    Gary, thank you for helping the motherboard manufacturer I prefer, better themselves.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    We know that's how abit tends to operate, and the simple fact is that it's a lousy way to run a computer hardware company. People who look at buying quality motherboards want quality NOW, not in six or nine months. Given the choice between two P965 boards that cost similar amounts (i.e. ASUS P5B Deluxe and this new abit QuadGT), which would you take, knowing that abit tends to perform a bit better but still has BIOS issues? Would you be happy with a board that runs faster but has some bugs, or a slightly slower board that's very stable?

    Most people I'm sure would opt for better stability over a few percent of a performance boost. Having a great support network is nice, but I'd rather have a good product that never requires me to seek out such support in the first place if at all possible.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Jarred, I've been using mostly ABIT boards for years (as in close to 10 years), and this is how things have always operated with them since at least the early to mid 90's when I bought my first ABIT board. I've owned motherboards from just about every motherboard manufacturer out there, and what I haven't personally owned I have at least had experiences with through customers, or friends.

    To answer your question about which would I take ? Hands down the ABIT board (assuming id buy a P965 board, which I wouldn't) Why do you ask? Past dealings with both companies since the early 90's, and recently. As an example, I purchased an ABIT NF7-S2G right when they were released, this board exhibited similar problems to what you're referring to here. Yes, I was a little upset that the board wasn't 100% stable, because of BIOS issues, HOWEVER, one week later, they released a BIOS for the board, that was rock stable, and the system had been happily running Windows XP for months on end, without reboots, 24/7, until now, its found a home, as my Dapper 6.06 LTS AoE SAN system. I haven't looked lately, but they did continue to release BIOSes for this board past a year of the boards release, since my current system is solid as a rock, I didn't bother with newer BIOSes, since everything I wanted, ran perfectly.

    Now about Asus, you guys really do not want me going down that road, I have nothing good to say. As for their Daughter company, Asrock . . .stay away, again, is all I would recommend. DFI ? Recently, no idea, but past dealing with them have ruined their reputation in my eyes long ago.

    All this being said, I think it is good that you guys are informing your public about the quirks of the newly released motherboard. You guys did the right thing, HOWEVER, again, you left out an important fact, that the BIOS team at ABIT is top notch, and continues putting out BIOSes long after the board has been released. This is a very important factor.

    As for someone who needs a working board RIGHT NOW, well, all I can say is, not only do you get what you pay for, but you also get what you research for. IF you HAVE to have something RIGHT_NOW, you're never going to be happy, but if you take your time, research the parts you're buying, and perhaps practice a bit of patience, you stand a very good chance of getting what you want /need. Also, keep in mind, you're comparing a motherboard that has been out for a while now, to one that has just been released.

    As for stability, you guys have already stated numerous times something to the effect '*this* ABIT board has exhibited the stability we have become accustomed to using ABIT motherboards' You know dahmed well, ABIT is not going to stand by, doing nothing, while one of their high-middle end motherboards is not performing stably, another important fact left out of the review.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    It would have been nice if you could have went into the advantages and disadvantages (I'm assuming there are disadvantages) of the PWM that supplies the CPU with power without the use of any capacitors.

    Also, I like the inclusion of fan control info but maybe you can list which headers are 4 pin and which are 3 pin in the future as well as possibly giving us a screen shot of fan control portion of the BIOS?

    Good review though.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    We will show the EQ BIOS settings in the final review and also go over the digital PWM advantages or at least the theory behind it. Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - link

    Excellent. Reply
  • Talcite - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Do you guys mean 'Final Impressions' on the last page of the article? Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    It was First Impressions, slip of the tongue until we get the next BIOS release. ;) Reply
  • mechBgon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Hey Gary, I think you got a typo:
    quote:

    Something else worth nothing is the audio features.
    You meant "noting," not "nothing," right?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    That was my fault, and it's what happens when you edit at 3 AM (and use voice recognition). Anyway, it's fixed, thanks. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Intel has such a good processor, then messes up on the IDE. I would gladly make a computer around such a chip, but the nForce 6150 and AMD/Ati chipset is much more compelling, and since my customer needs IDE anyhow, AMD wins. Reply
  • MadAd - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    Its taken all this time to get rid of the parallel port yet the much more used IDE (which should have the same kind of legacy lifespan) is out the door in a flash.

    If I had a tin foil hat id be shouting conspiracy theory and wondering which one of the storage majors paid Intel off to pull a stunt like that.
    Reply
  • Stele - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    ...Japanese sourced solid state capacitors ...


    Oh no, that misnomer strikes again... capacitors which use solid aluminium electrolyte are properly called "solid aluminium electrolyte" or at least "solid aluminium"... there are no "solid state" capacitors since, in electronic parlance "solid state" is traditionally used to describe circuits that do not use vacuum tubes (electron flows in solid materials - the semiconductors within ICs - rather than vacuum/empty spaces such as in tubes).

    It's a minor point on the face of it, but Anandtech is well-respected throughout the IT community; hence a mistake or misconception could potentially reach and misinform a great deal of readers (and even writers) out there. :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Changed - not all of us are electronics experts. Solid state or solid electrolyte - is there a difference to the laymen of the world? ;) Reply
  • Stele - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    ...not all of us are electronics experts...

    Oh no, no, didn't mean it in any negative way; I understand that, so was just contributing what little I can to help keep Anandtech at the top :P

    You're probably quite right that the layman may not know the difference, and indeed they likely wouldn't care either way anyway. The ones we're worried about are those that are just entering the technical arena and/or are in their formative, learning stages... wouldn't want them to start on the wrong footing and spread the misstep when they in turn teach others ;)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Oh, Gary, and Jarred, if you're thinking we, your readers are being harsh on you, well perhaps we are to an extent, but speaking for myself, this is because we care, and often look forward to your articles. So think of this as constructive criticism, and not outright flaming, please. Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - link

    You are not being harsh. I changed the article back to "Conductive Polymer Aluminum Solid Capacitors" as abit finally confirmed the majority of the capacitors on the board are this type (I looked up the capacitor part numbers before hand but edited the article back the other way). I will update it when they confirm the three capacitors that did not match, they are solid but I have two boards each with different part numbers/suppliers on those three items. At times the manufacturers want us to use their marketing terminology as they might change components during production lot runs based on engineering changes or spot market pricing or to use layman's terms on the website. My previous articles on the Gigabyte boards used the correct terminology based on the capacitors on the board and we had an enormous amount of email and forum traffic asking why we stated something different than on Gigabyte's website at the time. We dumbed it down a little this time after a discussion and should not have. ;) Thanks for the comments and we do listen. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Like the man said, Solid State is used when referring to Integrated Circuits, not Capacitors. The end result, is that you end up 'looking' like a fool, when someone who knows better sees this ( and possibly spread a minor form if 'mis-information).

    Think about it like this, what is the difference between a NAS, and a SAN ? Would you call a SAN, a NAS, in the company of enterprise IT geeks ? Probably not, at least, not without causing some confusion, or being corrected several times in the process . . .
    Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Well they (caps suitable for motherbards) are either AL electrolyte or solid polymer based.

    Electrolyte caps are the more common type an actually contain electrolytic fluid which can leak when the cap fails. Polymer caps avoid that problem and also last longer -- to the laymen that would be the key difference.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    I have used the terminology, "Conductive Polymer Aluminum Solid Capacitors" in past articles and received several emails asking why we do not use what the manufacturers state on their websites as that term was deemed confusing. :) Reply
  • Stele - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Part of the problem lies in the confusion about the various kinds of capacitors of that category.

    Amongst the kind that we're concerned with on motherboards, graphics cards etc, we have the most basic: the aluminium electrolytic capacitor. Because this type started out with liquid electrolyte, the word "liquid" is generally omitted from the name as it is understood.

    Then came the solid aluminium electrolytic capacitor, which replaced the liquid electrolyte with, well, a solid one - usually based on aluminium oxide. These are the type that we're nowadays excited about - the lack of liquid makes them more resistant to blow-outs and electrolyte leakage/dry-out, especially under prolonged, high temperature use. For short, they're sometimes referred to as merely "solid electrolytic" ("aluminium" is sometimes left out because, as noted above, the solid electrolyte is usually based on aluminium oxide and hence is understood as such) capacitors. To call them "solid capacitors" isn't totally useful because most capacitors are indeed solid objects :)

    In conductive polymer capacitors, on the other hand, the dielectric is made from polymer foil (e.g. polypropylene, polyester, polystyrene, polycarbonate) coated with a layer of metal deposited on the surface. It follows that the basic conductive polymer capacitor has no liquid electrolyte inside - indeed there is no electroylte as the dielectric is purely the polymer foil.

    However, manufacturers can and do mix in aluminium electrolyte with the polymer foil to improve certain performance characteristics; the electrolyte is often solid (rather than liquid) aluminium-based, hence "conductive polymer aluminium solid electrolytic capacitor".

    As such, the exact names can mean quite distinct types of capacitors, and are not merely loose permutations of words like "electrolytic", "aluminium", "solid" and "polymer"... so if one wants to accurately describe a capacitor being used, one would need to double-check exactly what dielectric is being used in that capacitor :)
    Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    quote:


    The JMicron fiascoes have hit every board manufacturer at one time or another and if you want to blame somebody then start at the doorstep of Intel for shipping a chipset without native IDE support before the market was ready for it.




    Thats a understatement. The only thing i don't like about my 965 board is lack of IDE and the use of the jmicron junk.
    One of the reasons I am waiting for more 650i boards and the ?last? ati chipset for Intel chips.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    It's one of the reasons I'd still chose i975x rather than i965 for a chipset. i975X still has native Intel IDE.

    Due to recent nVidia chipset/board issues, and past issues with heat production, I'm not sure I'd choose them for an Intel board either, so that leaves the i975X as the only chipset I'd be comfortable with.
    Reply
  • Numb3rs - Thursday, January 25, 2007 - link

    quote:

    It's one of the reasons I'd still chose i975x rather than i965 for a chipset. i975X still has native Intel IDE.


    Honestly, what in a new build would require and IDE interface..? eSATA is important and I am glad it's included. Abit has always made mobos dropping legacy devices no longer used by enthusiasts. Look at their old Abit "MAX" boards.

    Why, in 2007 are manufacturers still using serial and parrallel I/O's..? Remove them completly and free the backplane for more useful eSATA, USB..etc








    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, January 26, 2007 - link

    Obviously, you've never configured a Cisco router through its console port (which usually requires a serial port). And perhaps I don't want my list of optical drives confined to only SATA (currently Plextor and LiteOn are my only options, and I don't want one due to price and the other due to writing quality reasons).

    There are also some known issues with using Symantec Ghost on the JMicron chipset. Unless I hear they are worked out, that's an important thing to me too, and so IDE is still important to me. Just because it isn't useful to you doesn't mean it isn't to a lot of others.
    Reply
  • Stele - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    I second that. Intel has, unfortunately, a reputation for making drastic moves every now and then in a certain technological direction which it feels that everyone should head towards, and hurry - never mind if everyone else does not feel the same way about it, or if that direction is simply not ready for prime time; RDRAM, Itanic, BTX, and now removal of native IDE support stand testimony to that.

    I can't speak for everyone of course, but JMicron isn't so bad, really, at least from personal experience... a string of systems using P5B Deluxe and P5B-E Plus motherboards have so far behaved quite well during setup and installation. Part of the problem probably lies in how well motherboard manufacturers implement the device in their design and how much effort they put in to make sure they get it right. As for the alternatives to JMicron, it's not too easy to find one that can match the JMB363 in terms of features... PCIe, 2 SATA II-compliant ports, 1 ATA-133 IDE interface in a compact, single-chip solution. Perhaps Silicon Image should step forward and make use of their excellent IP to create such a competitor, but I suspect they're focusing on HDMI right now....
    Reply

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