Motherboards - Published on Wednesday, 24 September 2003 14:59 Written by Christopher Zell
The BIOS of the IS7/IS7-G is a typical ABIT BIOS meaning a Phoenix AwardBIOS with a nice section called SoftMenu. If you want to overclock, this is the first section you go to. The FSB is freely adjustable and ranging from 100 to 412 MHz, more than you need in most cases. There are plenty of memory ratios, 1:1/5:4 and 3:2. The AGP bus can be fixed to 66 MHz, but also freely adjusted between 66 and 96 MHz.
The vcore can be increased to 1.9V while the DIMM voltage can be increased to 2.8V. That is a bit low, 3.0V would have been better, but who knows, a future BIOS revision might take care of that. Finally, the AGP voltage can be raised to 1.65V.
Bellow is a table showing the most important settings.
100-412MHz (1MHz intervals)
fixable and freely adjustable between 66-96MHz
1.525v-1.90 i 0.025v intervals
2.5v - 2.8v i 0.05v intervals
1.5v - 1.65v (0.05v intervals)
In Advanced chipset Features we have the possibility to configure the memory settings. The fastest timings are 2-5-2-2 and the slowest are 3-8-4-4. The rest of BIOS follows the usual design with a system monitoring section, a section for the integrated features and so on.
ABIT has always been somewhat of a pioneer in BIOS development, and this time they are no worse. The IS7 boards BIOS have in later versions been updated with a feature ABIT calls "Game Accelerator". The point is the same as with Intel's PAT (Performance Accelerator), namely to increase performance by using more aggressive timings on the chipset.
By activating this function, the performance is supposed to be drastically increased and the IS7 boards to crush the competition.
Of course they have given the different settings proper names estimating their "speed". Auto, Turbo, Street Racer and F1 are the available settings. As the performance is optimised there is a risk for decreased stability since the chipset is pushed to use speeds that it's not designed to handle.
Exactly how this works in practise we'll see in the tests. As of yet we can only congratulate ABIT for their never ending innovations.
What else can you say but phenomenal ABIT. Yet another great BIOS that really provides the enthusiast with everything he or she wishes. If we just had a little more DIMM voltage to play with, the board would have received a 10.
The BIOS section is not the only thing the IS7 series has inherited from the Canterwood class. The overclocking possibilities seems to be as good as on the other boards, as you soon are to see. For the FSB overclocking tests we used a 2.4C CPU unlike in the other tests where we've used a 2.8C CPU. The reason for this is the lower multiplier of the 2.4 making it easier to reach high levels of FBS. The cooler we've used is a Speeze Pantherstream. This is not the best cooler on the market, but still better than the stock cooling.
Since we didn't have a better heatsink we couldn't go higher than 1.65 v core since the temperatures got too high. The results are impressing none the less with almost a whole GHz free performance from our 2.4GHz CPU. The memory timings we used to reach stability were 2.5-3-6-3.
Thus the both IS7 boards reached the magic 280 MHz FSB which is the maximum our CPU can handle with 1.65 V. This is the same result we've reached with ABIT's Canterwood board making it rather certain that the CPU is what's holding us back in this case. Coupled with a 2.4 GHz 800FSB CPU the IS7 is a great alternative for the price conscious users. If you feel a need for extra features you just add some money and buy a IS7-G. What ever you choose, you can be certain that the IS7 series won't let you down when it comes to overclocking.
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