Motherboards - Published on Tuesday, 24 June 2003 23:39 Written by Christopher Zell
875P chipset offers superb performance, which we have seen today,
provided that it's paired together with a new 800MHz FSB processor.
If one's aiming to get the fastest motherboard available, it has
to be based on Canterwood. To date, there are no other chipsets
available from neither VIA nor SiS with support for 800 MHz FSB.
The price conscious, however, will do right by checking out the cheaper Springdale boards first. ABIT's IS7, for example, which we used as a reference board in this roundup, shows an astonishingly solid performance which almost equals with the Canterwood boards - and all this for a much lower price. Moreover, it will be fairly interesting to follow the manufacturers' BIOS updates for their Springdale based boards, as a handful of manufacturers already are boasting PAT support with new BIOS versions. We are also happy to announce that a review of ABIT IS7 will become available shortly.
we should go on-topic again, we may point out that the 875P chipset
has a lot to offer when it comes to integrated peripherals due to
the new south bridge, which has given the manufacturers the ability
to build cost-effective but still feature rich motherboards. This
has really been proved in this roundup and no board that we've tested
has been stingingly equipped.
Beyond that, it is easier to keep the PCB's surface clean from controller circuits, which in other cases are required to support a stabile set of features. This results in a cleaner overall appearance of the motherboard, which also has shown in our tests.
It also appeared that the motherboard manufacturers are finally putting some effort into the packaging and bundled accessories. MSI and DFI show the way with crammed cardboard boxes. The other manufacturers remain a tad modest, but yet show us that they've learnt a couple of things since last time. However, features and performance are not the only keywords we'd like you to remember. Overclocking is actually something that i875P manages elegantly, given that the manufacturers put some effort into making overclock-friendly motherboards. This also leads us directly to this evening's distribution of prizes.
The first place is shared by to close relatives, which have proven themselves to overclock better than any other Canterwood motherboard we've seen. They have a rich set of features at their disposal and last but not least are very beautiful.
Obviously, I am talking about ABIT's IC7 and IC7-G boards. These two boards made a great impression with their solid performance and stability. Of course, a first place also comes with a medal, or at least a small statue.
The MSI board opted for an interesting opponent, but the stability issues we encountered with our test board prevented it's success early in the review. It's most likely a defective copy, since MSI hasn't received any other reports of similar problems from other sources. The board is thus not given a true final grade, as we instead will try to get a fully working copy and simply update the review. But those grades we managed to set are absolutely promising.
There has been some controversy about the EPoX motherboard since it was reviewed. This is due to the new BIOS release that improved its overclocking potential remarkably and came out shortly after this review had been put up on the website. As you may read in the BIOS section of this article, we have been unable to redo the tests, but the board would undeniably have performed better in this respect, as the CPU voltage now may be raised to 1.85V.
DFI has with its Lanparty series taken a new step in the motherboard development and now offers a package of accessories never seen before. The board itself is also crammed with features, and the only thing missing is firewire, which however feels like a trifle in this matter. Unfortunately, the board is not surprisingly priced high, and it's BIOS and overclocking abilities can't compete with high-end boards, but we still recommend this board to anyone who's eager to be seen.
There's actually no board that we can't recommend among the boards we've tested, but we all have our favourites. In the present situation, the market of motherboards has come to a point where you can get exactly the board you want most of the time, and our assignment as reviewers has more or less become to enlighten you readers about what options that are available.
We at the editorial office, however, think of ABIT as the victor in this duel, but we're still truly disappointed that we can't give you a complete judgement of the MSI 875P Neo-FIS23 for the time being, which seems to be a motherboard with a capital M for that matter.
That was all for this time. Below you can find a summation of the different grades. Questions and discussions about these boards are highly welcome in the current thread.
Lastly, we would like to thank all of the manufacturers that made this article possible!
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