Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface
Intel 82865PE MCH (North Bridge)
Intel 82801ER ICH5R (South Bridge)
Bus Speeds
up to 412MHz (in 1MHz increments)
Core Voltages Supported
up to 1.925V (in 0.025V increments)
I/O Voltages Supported
DRAM Voltages Supported
up to 2.80V (in 0.05V increments)
Memory Slots
4 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots
1 AGP 8X Slot
5 PCI Slots
Onboard IDE RAID
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394
Eight USB 2.0 ports supported through South Bridge
TI TSB43AB23 IEEE-1394 FireWire (2 ports available)
Onboard LAN
3COM 10/100 LAN (no CSA)
Onboard Audio
Analog Devices AD1985 codec
Onboard Serial ATA
Two SATA connectors via ICH5R (RAID 0 & RAID 1 only)
BIOS Revision
Rev. 13 B03

As is to be expected from ABIT, the BIOS options are superb. A nice and high 412MHz FSB is the maximum allowable FSB available in the IS7's BIOS. A 2.8V VDIMM is noteworthy, especially with such a potent motherboard as the IS7. Finally we have the Vcore that is available as high as 1.925V in 0.0250V increments. The Vcore in particular stands out because there are many 865PE and 875P motherboards that are constrained by 1.60V Vcore ceilings, making the serious overclockers quite unhappy. The IS7's 1.925V Vcore is more than enough, in fact we would have been happy with 1.80V.

On the performance side of things we see that ABIT is yet another manufacturer that has successfully mimicked PAT (Performance Acceleration Technology) code previously exclusive to 875P motherboards. As a result the IS7 is not only slightly faster than every 875P motherboard we've tested but, ironically, also faster than ABIT's own 875P motherboard, the IC7/IC7-G. It doesn't take much effort to reap the benefits of PAT-like performance from the IS7, simply make sure that your memory timings are as reliably aggressive as your modules are able to withstand, the "PSB533" setting is enabled under "N/B strap" if you're using an 800MHz FSB processor, the 1:1 ratio is enabled along with the "fixed" option for your AGP/PCI bus, and the CPC (Command Per Clock) is enabled in the Advanced Chipset Features section. This applies to users that will be running their IS7 at stock speeds, but if you're overclocking (especially past 250MHz FSB) make sure you use change N/B strap back to PSB800 so as to not max out your memory too quickly. We suggest the 3:2 ratio if you're going well past 250MHz FSB.

There are only a few negative things to say about the IS7. Firstly there's the layout, which ABIT has struggled with a bit in the recent past. The horizontally placed Primary and Secondary IDE connectors are simply unacceptable for any modern day computer case if you ever plan on using that first or second bay for your optical drive(s).

Another poor layout choice is the positioning of the DIMM connectors that are much too close to the AGP slot. Even if your video card isn't all that long the DIMM connectors are still nearly impossible to unhinge unless you go through the annoying and time-consuming task of unscrewing and uninstalling your video card for a simple memory upgrade or initial install.

Our final layout complaint deals with the truly mind-boggling location of the AGP lever. The AGP lever is positioned in such a way that makes it virtually impossible to push into place, forcing us to uninstall the memory module in DIMM slot #1 just to get it positioned correctly. Our video card could have been completely void of capacitors (though that's impossible) at its lower edge and we still would not have been able to get a finger near the AGP lever. We don't see what kept ABIT from organizing the capacitors so that this wouldn't be a problem.

Our final general complaint deals with the lack of any SATA-to-IDE adapters, what ABIT calls "Serillel", or as it's now called "Serillel 2". This is a very convenient tool for users that want to use more than the two available Primary/Secondary IDE connectors and who don't happen to have (or want to purchase) any Serial ATA drives. Performance degradation with these adapters is virtually nil, especially if your apps don't require high sustained throughputs of 70MB/s or more (most don't).



View All Comments

  • 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 07, 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

  • 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 08, 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 05, 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.
  • 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.

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