Overclockers Australia!
Make us your homepage. Add us to your bookmarks  
Major Sponsors:

News Archive

Articles & Reviews

Folding Team
Seti@Home Team
Climate Prediction

OCAU Sponsors
Online Vendors
Motorcycle Club

ABIT IT7 Max2 Version 2 i845PE Motherboard
Join the community - in the OCAU Forums!
Date 6th December 2002
Author Chainbolt
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer ABIT

Comparison Continued, Features

Having 2 almost identical IT7 in front of us and not even seeing a “Version 2” print on the PCB we got suspicious. Maybe a misunderstanding? A mix up of sorts? We removed the big MHC aluminum sink to have closer look at the MHC. Our suspicions were laid to rest because we found a MHC with the marking “PE”. Consulting the Intel specification sheet for the 845PE chipset we found that our 845PE MCH is a stepping B0 version. Obviously Intel plans later to release a 845PE MHC with a B1 stepping. According to the 845PE technical documentation the S-specs for the 845PE MCH steppings are:
  • B0 stepping: SL6H5
  • B1 stepping: SL6PS
The S-spec can only be checked when the MHC heatsink is removed. As the 845PE chipset will be quite long in production at least until “Springdale” chipset is out in spring 2003, we think that the B1 stepping is referring to a future product update. A quick survey among a few OCAU members with 845PE boards indeed revealed that all currently circulating 845PE boards have obviously a B0 stepping MHC.

MHC (North Bridge) of V1 (left) and V2 (right).

Other differences are very subtle and become only visible by close inspection and comparison. Unchanged from its predecessor, the new Version 2 has a 4-way power supply with 8 mosfets. But closer inspection shows that the size of the mosfets has almost doubled.

Power supply MOSFETs of V1 (left) and V2 (right).

The mosfets regulate the current supplied to the CPU and their quality is important for stability. We also realized that the number of capacitors around the CPU socket has been reduced from 6 to 5 and that several smaller transistors in the area around the DIMM sockets have been added.

Different capacitors on V1 (left) and V2 (right).

We asked ABIT R&D about the reason for these changes and got the following answer: “Due to the Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, the CPU has a higher power consumption, we modified the mosfets and transistors to support this new technology on the IT7-MAX2 V2.0." This is good, but we hope that it doesn’t mean that older 845E based ABIT boards like the BD7-II and the IT7 MAX and IT MAX 2 Version 1 - although according to Intel, HT capable - will have problems with Hyper-Threading capable CPUs. A positive side effect of the better power supply seems to be a slightly better stability and overclocking potential as we found out later.

Slightly different layout of V1 (left) and V2 (right).

IHC (South Bridge) of V1 (left) and V2 (right).

The IT7 MAX 2 box with its solid plastic protection inlay and the content remain unchanged from Version 1 to Version 2. It’s a carefully prepared package with a lot of items. Even zip ties and cable binders are provided. It also includes a SATA cable and the ABIT propriety SATA to PATA adaptor that allows running a parallel ATA disk from one of the 2 serial ATA connectors. Still unique is the 4-channel Highpoint RAID controller which is in a clever way converted into a combined 2-channel SATA + 2-channel PATA RAID controller. In combination with 2 SATA to PATA adaptors it can still be used as 4-channel parallel ATA RAID controller. This makes the IT7 MAX 2 the currently most flexible solution for on-board RAID in the market. Another interesting feature of ABIT’s MAX series of motherboards is the optional ABIT’s Media XP front panel which fits into a 3.5" drive bay. It includes connectors for audio, USB 2.0, IEEE1394, IR remote control and card readers for compact Flash, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick. Media XP is even available with wireless LAN. The IT7 MAX 2 box content and mainboard features are described in detail with pictures in our original IT7 MAX 2 (Version 1) article here.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
Interested in advertising on OCAU? Contact us for info.

Hosted by Micron21!

Recent Content

Mini Server Rack

SpaceX Starlink

T-Force Cardea
Zero Z330 NVMe SSD

Team Group T-Force
Vulcan G SSD

Synology DS720+ NAS

Raspberry Pi 4
Model B 8GB

Retro Extreme!