Final Words

After many hours of testing we have decided that the best value Pentium 4 motherboard is ABIT's IS7 based on the 865PE chipset. The IS7's assortment of onboard features such as IEEE 1394 FireWire, Serial ATA RAID, 10/100 LAN, and AC'97 alone make it a great buy at just over $105. However what separates the ABIT IS7 from other motherboard's is its excellent overclocking ability and superb performance that rival the most expensive motherboards on the market, including those based on Intel's 875P chipset.

After much discussion we finally decided that the ASUS' P4P800 Deluxe is the best mid-range Pentium 4 motherboard currently available on the market. The P4P800 Deluxe comes with excellent onboard features such as Serial ATA RAID, IDE RAID, Gigabit LAN, IEEE 1394 FireWire, and AD1985 sound among other intriguing features. The ASUS P4P800 Deluxe was also the highest FSB overclocker out of all the motherboards we tested, in addition to being a great performer. At just over $140 the P4P800 Deluxe is truly a superb choice for a mid-range Pentium 4 motherboard.

There were a handful of motherboards that were very close in features and performance that deserved to be the best high-end motherboard, but in the end the Gigabyte 8KNXP stood out the most. A combination of outstanding features such as IDE RAID (ATAPI and hard disk support), Serial ATA RAID (two separate controllers), Gigabit LAN (via CSA bus), IEEE 1394 FireWire, and ALC655 audio among other features made the 8KNXP stand out quite a bit. Other high-end motherboards had very similar features, so these attributes alone were not enough to decide if the 8KNXP was the best high-end Pentium 4 motherboard we've ever tested. What really pushed the 8KNXP over the hump was its outstanding performance in stock and overclocked modes, coming in just shy of the ASUS P4P800. The addition of the DPS 2 unit and a dual BIOS was also a contributing factor. All in all Gigabyte has yet again put together a stellar high-end motherboard.

In the end however, after countless hours of testing and much debate, we finally decided to give our Editors Choice Gold Award for best overall Pentium 4 motherboard to the ABIT IS7. ABIT has put together a well performing motherboard with a wonderful array of features and overclocking potential at an incredible price point. The ABIT IS7 is living proof of ABIT's commitment to the enthusiast desktop market, and we can only hope they continue to produce more motherboards like the IS7 for years to come.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 865PE and 875P coverage as we investigate even more motherboards based on these new chipsets. We'll also give you a preview of what type of performance you can expect from Intel's new Extreme Graphics core based on the 865G chipset.

High-End Workstation Performance (continued...)
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  • Zak - Sunday, January 18, 2004 - link

    I bought IS7 after reading this article and I've been having problems. Random resets, then BSOD after changing XP recovery settings. Over the past few months it worsened. In the begining it like once a week maybe. I wasn't concerned, bad driver I thought. Now it won't run more than an hour without BSOD. I have Corsair XMS DDR400 in it. I've played with memory settings for weeks, timings and voltages as well, reinstalled XPPro several times, updated BIOS, got all newest drivers and run out of ideas... I've put a stick of DDR333 because that's all have to test and I still get the same random BSOD, even durnig XP installation. I have no PCI cards in this box. Mushkin calls this board problematic and attributes the memory problems to forced implementation of PAT that is not normally present in 865. I may try getting it replaced by NewEgg but I don't suppose it'll help. I'm thinking about getting a 875 board instead. Zak. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    I would like to see part II of the roundup of the 865 chipset. I wonder what is the delay? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 13, 2003 - link

    I thought Part 2 would be out by now at least... There are good new boards out there I'd like to see... Shuttle AB60R (cheap and full featured) and Abit IC7-MAX3 (OTES for mobo power area). I am still looking forward to seeing this, eventually, right guys? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    Any comments on newer motherboards? Why hasn't supermicro been tested since 2000?

    Looking to compare supermicro
    Intel s875wp1-e and Super P4SCE (SuperServer 5013C-I (SYS-5013-CI)) for a $50k cluster

    Thanks
    syzygyus@yahoo.com
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 29, 2003 - link

    Evan, how in the world is #4 going to research your statement when the articles/review comments forum gets purged/is gone now ? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, August 23, 2003 - link

    Any word on Revision 2 of the Gigabyte 8knxp ultra board yet? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, August 10, 2003 - link

    I bought the is7 after I read this article. It had many problems. I ended up having to ram this board twice. If you read the abit forum boards you will see alot of problems I am fairly surprised after all the tests this board was put through nothing ever went wrong. I will not buy another abit product period. I will stick to gigabye i've built 6 systems with Gigabyte and yet to have any problems with them. Save for the chipset fans having a low life. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 8, 2003 - link

    I bought the Abit IS7 and am completely pleased. One note is that many of the IS7's appear to be getting shipped with the gigabit lan as opposed to the sales brochure stated 10/100. (mine has the gigabit) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - link

    How could it be that the Asus p4c 800 de luxe is more expensive then the asus p4p deluxe but in the testresults it is slower?

    I would think i am misinformed by the computershop?

    And the p4c deluxe got a gigabit lan on board, despite mentioning in the summary of this Mb it has not.
    Reply
  • PixelDoc - Sunday, July 27, 2003 - link

    Error Re: Gigabyte GA-8KNXP MoBo
    This MoBo has 4, not 2 SATA connectors, 2 controlled by ICH5R and 2 more contolled by the SIL3112 chip.
    Reply

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