Abit IP35 Pro Intel socket 775 Motherboard Page: 1 Introduction
Abit have a rich history of making motherboards that get enthusiasts excited. The AW9D Max brought those memories back and the IN9 32x Max cemented the fact that abit were once again one of the big players on the scene with a great motherboard.
Then IP35 Pro is perhaps aimed at the more discerning enthusiast, those with a mind for stability and performance. Based on the Intel P35 platform this is a motherboard that screams abit...and shows us just how well they can make their boards.
As usual abit have put a slightly confusing and strange front to their product with the IP35, showing a rugged snake-like truck on the front cover of the packaging. Having said that the back has a lot of well-laid out information on the motherboard.
The packaging inside the box is again typical abit with compartments for the manual and also for the accessories.
The motheboard and it's contents are well protected but unlike the Max boards you get the impression abit have focused on content and not appearance so much. This isn't to say the board isn't as well packaged, just that it doesn't feel as "special" as a Max board.
Abit have again gone for delivering a "not quite" Max package with this board. although everything is there that you would expect so see in a decent board.
* 5 x SATA connectors * 1 x IDE HDD Cable * 1 x FSS Cable * 1 x USB/Firewire backplate IO extension * 1 x Motherboard Driver CD and manual * abit µGuru guide * IP35Pro User's manual * Quick install sheet
Not a bad bundle but lacking in a couple of the extra things that the Max bundles seem to have in them.
Still, there's a load there that you would need and I don't really see a normal customer complaining at a lack of bundle, espeically considering this motherboard is significantly cheaper than the Max series.
Intel's best processor for multimedia applications with up to 80 percent faster performance for highly-threaded applications and four processing cores to handle the most massive throughput, the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor provides exceptional performance. With the IP35 Pro you are prepared for the latest 65nm and next generation 45 nm multi-core CPUs. With processors supporting Intel’s SpeedStep Technology (EIST) the IP35 Pro offers even more advanced energy efficiency. Solid State Capacitors -For Best Stability
Solid State Capacitors significantly reduce heat dissipation and offer best voltage regulation, thereby increasing performance while extending product life and even under most stressful conditions.
* 100% Japanese Made Solid State Capacitors * Best CPU and Memory Performance and Overclockability
External CCMOS Switch - Get back on track with ease
Clear the CMOS memory directly from the back panel, using abit's innovative new EZ switch. So if you are pushing your hardware to the extreme and experiment with risky settings, you now have a an easy and convenient way to go back to save grounds.. HDMI Ready Header - Supports HDMI Ready VGA card
A special 3-pin HDMI header provides S/P DIF audio to be connected with HDMI ready VGA cards, offering crisp HD multi-channel surround sound. 2 x eSATA - Fast & fiexible
eSATA is a new standard for external storage devices. With an external data transfer rate of up to 3 Gb/s no other external data transfer solution can compete with speed and ease of use. # CPU Support Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme/Duo/Quad processors with 1333/1066/800MHz FSB # Support Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme/Quad/Duo & Pentium® Dual Core Processors # Chipset Intel® P35 Express / ICH9R Chipset # Memory 4 X 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. memory capacity 8GB # Supports Dual channel DDR2 800/667 Un-buffered Non-ECC memory # LAN On board Dual Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000M Ethernet # Audio On board 7.1 CH HD Audio CODEC # Supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF In/Out # HDMI ready header (SPDIF header) # Expansion Slots 1 x PCI-E X16, 1 x PCI-E X16 (x4 bandwidth), 1 x PCI-E X1, 3 x PCI # Internal I/O 1 x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88 MB # 1 x ATA 133/100/66/3 IDE connector # 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connector # 2 x IEEE1394, 3 x USB header (support 6 ports) # 1 x FP-Audio # Back Panel I/O 1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 Mouse # abit Silent OTES™ # 1 x S/P DIF In, 1 x S/P DIF Out # 2 x eSATA # 7.1 CH Audio connector (Front, Line-in, MIC-in, Center/Subwoofer, Surround, Rear Surround) # 4 x USB 2.0 # 1 x RJ-45 LAN connector # EZ CCMOS Switch # Serial ATA 6 x SATA 3Gb/s offer by Intel® ICH9R support Intel® Matrix Storage Tech(AHCI & RAID0/1/5/10) # 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s through JMicron® JMB363 support 0,1JBOD RAID function # IEEE 1394 Supports 2 Ports IEEE 1394 at 400Mb/s transfer rate. # Form Factor ATX form factor 305 x 245mm # PCB Color: Blue # # RoHS 100% lead-free process and RoHS compliant # abit Engineered abit µGuru™ Technology # abit Silent OTES™ Technology # 100% Japanese made Low ESR and high ripple conductive polymer aluminum solid state capacitor # 100% Japanese Capacitor # EZ for CCMOS
abit Engineered abit Engineered abit µGuru With abit's unique µGuru technology now even the most novice users can fully monitor and control their system including voltages, fans and temperatures; it's all just a click away. The more advanced you become, the more you will appreciate the multitude of fine tuning features abit's µGuru technology holds for you. abit Engineered OC Guru - AutoDrive™ By enabling AutoDrive, you can automatically apply different overclocking settings for different applications. abit Engineered
Hardware Monitoring Monitor temperatures, voltages and fan settings in real time and with zero CPU usage.
abit Engineered Dedicated fan control Keep control over your hardware. abit Fan EQ™ helps you keep an eye on your motherboard fans. abit Engineered One Click BIOS Update With abit's BIOS flash utility you can easily update your motherboard BIOS online or offline. abit Engineered Auto-Detect Hardware Info The abit BlackBox auto-detects hardware info for quick communication between users and abit Tech support. abit Engineered abit SoftMenu™ The original jumperless motherboard design allows for CPU setting changes completely through the BIOS. For GigaOverclocking! Boost your PC's Performance by up to 50%. Convenient and easy-to-use fine tuning from within a self-explanatory BIOS menu. abit Engineered abit CPU ThermalGuard™ The abit CPU ThermalGuard™ technology prevents the CPU from overheating and burning up in the case of any hardware cooling malfunction. This hardware thermal protection automatically shuts down your system when the CPU temperature reaches a certain threshold. abit Engineered abit Silent OTES™abit-Engineered abit's Silent OTES™ heatpipe technology dissipates heat from the chipset and conducts it to a highly effective heatsink. This fanless solution keeps your motherboard cool and quiet.
The IP35 Pro is feature-packed, as is Intel's P35 chipset. Will this be a good combination?
Abit IP35 Pro Intel socket 775 Motherboard Page: 2 Abit IP35 Pro Close-up
The Abit IP35 Pro is one of the best laid out motherboards I have ever encountered. I opened the box and immediately the board spoke to me of very little clutter and lots of space to spread out my "stuff".
The board is clothed in a nice shade of blue, and despite my misgivings with blue, I do actually like it. The heatsink assembly is well-formed and doesn't get in the way of anything and all capacitors are solid-state, meaning more stability and longer lasting. Further to this, it does keep the chipset fairly cool even under some hard overclocking. I only felt it was holding me back at very high volts, so good work on that Abit.
The RAM slots are a good distance from the CPU slot and the ATX power is on the edge of the board as it should be.
The SATA ports are turned 90° around to allow for a graphics card to be inserted (even the 8800 Ultra and 8800 GTX fit here with ease), as is the IDE connector. The battery is in a slightly dodgy position but with an external clear CMOS switch this hasn't come up as an issue in our testing. Abit have again opted for the classic LED error panel to show you what you've done wrong and the FDD connector sits right in the corner of the board.
Going on to the connectors on the side of the board we have the front panel IO and the four USB headers. Also in this area is the Abit µGuru panel connector for those who want to invest in one of the handy gizmo's.
Being a "Pro" board, Abit have kept three of those usefull PCI slots on the IP35, along with a PCI-e x16 slot and a PCI-e slot running at 4x. A small PCI-e x1 slot is retained for perhaps an abit WiFi module. Here is the only slight grouch I have with the board: the 4 pin molex power connector sits in between the 1st PCI and 2nd PCI-e slot, meaning a slight cabling mess for those who are particularly anal about cabling.
As I have stated before, the CPU area is pretty well free of any obstacle that would get in the way of a big cooler. In fact I even found that my SwiftTech Apogee GT fitted on the board without messing with the PWM cooling, which is something I have had to do on many other so-called "enthusaist" boards. The heatsinks on the IP35 Pro are pretty decent at heat disappation and the caps low enough not to cause much of an obstruction at all.
All in all the layout of the IP35 Pro board was so good I have to compliment Abit on this with not much reserve.
The backplate IO on the Abit IP35 Pro consists of:
* 4 x USB 2.0 Ports * 2 x Gigabit LAN Ports * 2 x e-SATA Ports * SP-Dif Optical Input and Output * 7.1 Analogue Surround Sound * Microphone Input * PS/2 keyboard and mouse input * External CMOS reset switch
That's a decent amount of connections, mixing up the old and the new. Remember that the IP35 Pro provides us with 4 onboard USB 2 headers so we'll have plenty of USB input, even without a hub.
The BIOS on the Abit IP35 Pro is a Phoenix Award BIOS and as usual with Abit it has everything you want.
To get into the overclocking features as usual Abit have gone for their uGuru BIOS utility. This is excellent and allows you full control over what you are overclocking.
Fron here we see that Abit give you all the way up to 600MHz FSB which is pretty decent.
The CPU volts go up to 1.825v which is rather generous and no-one apart from people using phase-change/LN2 or DICE should be using this much voltage. DDR2 voltage is also generous with 3.0v set in the "DDR2 Voltage" and an allowance for more in "DDR2 Reference voltage". I have not tried this feature as the RAM I was using only takes 2.2v max.
Again the NorthBridge voltage gets a decent amount of leeway at 2.0v and the MCH voltage gets an allowance of 1.72v.
Additional controls for memory timing are kept in the "Advanced Chipset Features" part of the BIOS and again there's a generous amount of tweaking to be done here.
Overall the BIOS on the ABit IP35 Pro is excellent as we have come to expect from Abit.
Abit IP35 Pro Intel socket 775 Motherboard Page: 4 Installation
Installation was possibly the easiest of any board I have reviewed so far on OC3D. The sheer amount of space created out of nowhere on the IP35 Pro is pretty nice and both my Scythe Infinity and my SwiftTech Apogee GT fitted no problems at all.
Now here's how I tested.
The following test setup was as following:
Intel Xeon 3070* Abit IP35 Pro Motherboard Sapphire X1600 Pro 1gb Mushkin HP2 6400 (4-4-4-10) Hitachia Deskstar 7K160 SATA HDD Sony DVD-Rom/CD-RW Silverstone 560w ZEUS PSU Silverstone TJ09 case
To test the motherboard I first ran it at stock using as stress test comprising of Orthos (dual Prime95), Folding @ Home running on both cores (set to idle priority) and RTHDRIBL running 1/2 screen. I let this run for 12hours to see how the board would fare.
The benches and tests used on the motherboard were:
3DMark05 and 3DMark06 @ 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024
Counter Strike Source @ 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024
CPU Rendering OpenGL
Note also that I lived with and used the board for a period of around 2 weeks to check out fully any issues that I found.
As usual there were no problems with installing Windows etc and this all worked out of the box, after simply changing the RAM timings to suit and memory voltage to 2.1v.
* Please note that there has been a change of CPU and although this is basically the same CPU, there may be differences in results.
For the Stability test I ran Orthos which is a dual Prime95 stress test, alongside dual Folding @ Home instances of the console client. To spice this up and really test the board I ran RTHDRIBL alongside this. This is a real test of the boards stability at stock and will show how well it would run in a situation where the board was being stressed to the limit.
The board passed with flying colours..no BIOS update needed and indeed it has coped with absolutely everything I have thrown at it. There is a point when you have a "feeling" about a motherboard and I have to say that the Core2Duo platform has not inspired my confidence, but this board just feels like it will be solid no matter what you do with it. Not since the awesome DFI SLI-DR that I had have I had the pleasure of using such a nice board.
1 Million Super PI is 100% the only choice for a quick bench of your top-end rig. It gives a quick and easy estimate of the relative speed of your CPU. The C2D's are now infamous for the their very fast PI times. The IP35 Pro goes up against our previous results here.
The IP35 Pro seems to be a little slow in the race to 1million places of PI.
A longer run of the Super PI benchmark shows stability and speed in a quick convenient test.
Here the IP35 does pretty well lowering it's time in this longer benchmark.
Memory Bandwidth and Latency
Core architecture has made the Intel platform perform much better than previous generations. SiSoft was always a benchmark that AMD dominated until Core2Duo came out. The IP35 should do pretty well here as we have seen good results from other P35 based boards.
The P35 chipset of the Abit IP35 Pro is showing that it gets some good numbers for memory bandwidth.
Surprisingly the Abit IP35 Pro lags a little behind in the memory latency terms, Abit usually do a good job here and this board is just a little behind the competition.
3DMark05 is a benchmark that relies heavily upon DX 8 and DX 9 shader paths. 3DMark05 is very useful benchmark to give us numbers to compare systems. It does give a decent indicator of gaming performance, and includes a couple of CPU benchmarks. After mixed results in our memory tests, I wonder how the IP35 will do here.
3DMark06 shows that the Abit IP35 Pro is pretty much up there with the fastest of the boards tested, keeping up with the surprisingly fast XFX 650i Ultra.
3dMark06 is the latest in the benchmarking tests from Futuremark. It has a lot of DirectX 9.0c features such as HDR and use of Shader model 3.0. Will the IP35 repeat the previous resultsin 3DMark05?
Again the Abit IP35 Pro shows us that it can get some very nice benchmark figures in the 3DMark test suites.
Counter Strike: Source is a hugely popular online FPS game based on the Source engine by Valve. This will show what a typical gamer will play on their PC and is a great indication of real-world gaming performance as the engine is so scalable. The IP35 pro has done pretty well in the synthetics, but will it do well here?
1024 x 768
Again at the gaming benchmarks the Abit IP35 Pro sticks it with the best.
Not toppling the IN9 32x Max, the Abit IP35 Pro scores well in all of the gaming benchmarks, proving it to be a good solid motherboard for gaming purposes.
All in all the results in this section are very good.
Cinebench is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using Cinebench carry significant weight when analysing a computer’s performance in everyday use.
Here the IP35 drops off the pace a little compared to our fastest results. However, it still maintains some decent scores. The IP35 Pro is coloured white on the graph. As you can see it's single cored performance is a little above it's dual core performance.
Cinebench Graphics Benchmark (OpenGL)
Cinebench's test of OpenGL rendering is taxing on even the fastest systems.
As we come on to the Cinebench GPU tests using hardware (left) and software (right), we can see that the Abit IP35 Pro does well putting out some nice numbers here competing with the fastest boards in the tests.
HDTach is a free hard disk benchmarking program from SimpliSoftware. This benchmark is not only capable of producing results on hard disk access times but also CPU usage required during disk access. It simply tests the hard drives in a nice quick and easy test.
The Abit IP35 Pro gives some very decent scores here with the fastest burst speed out of our motherboards and remaining at a low 1% CPU Utilisation.
Overclocking was performed through the BIOS, as all good 24/7 overclocking should be done.The IP35 is solid and stable and has some excellent options there so I was holding out for some good clocks.
Note here that I am using the Xeon 3070 and that overclocking is significantly easier with this CPU than my E6700ES. I am expecting the board and CPU to put up some high numbers.
Low Voltage Overclocking
I usually start off by overclocking using low voltages. As the Xeon 3070 I am using is so good I will start with 1.35v set in the BIOS. With the control you have over the board in the Phoenix Award BIOS the abit was easy to overclock and at this low voltage the Xeon managed a more than healthy 3.6GHz.
Can't complain at that, although remember that the Xeon is a very good overclocker.
Overclocking - Highest Possible Stable on Air
With this test I took the volts up to as high as I felt comfortable with to see what I could get.
I attained 4000MHz (4GHz) dual prime stable on air after some tweaking at a voltage of 1.6v. This is very impressive results but again remember that the Xeon is an awesome overclocker.
For this test I simply tried to get the highest front side bus speed I could on the board, booting into windows. This is not a test of stability, just how high I can boot into windows and take a screenshot.
I think that an upgrade in the cooling on the NorthBridge would lead to even better results than this, but 520 FSB is excellent for a board on stock cooling with no tweaks or mods.
The Abit IP35 Pro was incredibly easy to overclock with a huge range of voltage selections and excellent bad overclock recovery. If you're looking for a board to get a nice high stable overclock I would thoroughly recommend it.
As usual Abit have done a sterling job bringing a board out with the P35 chipset. The board is one of the best laid out boards I've seen with very little to fault it and even the heatpipe cooling solution does the job admirably.
Overclocking and stability are the boards areas of expertise. The board is incredibly stable and I feel confident that Abit are onto a winner with this one. Overclocking is excellent, due mainly to the boards solid stability. 520FSB is a very good figure for a board with stock cooling and no volt-mods. I would not hesitate to recommend this board to anyone who is looking to build an Intel based PC right now.
Priced at around £116 from our recommended retailers below, the IP35 Pro also represents great value for money for such a great bundle of features.
The only things that may hold you back are the lack of a proper multi-GPU platform, and lack of DDR3 support may also put you off. Having said that, with multi-GPU being somewhat of a waste of money, and DDR3 very expensive right now these are things you may overlook.
The Abit IP35 Pro get's an "Editors Choice" Award as well as "Value For Money" - a top motherboard at a great price.
+ Class-leading stability + Great overclocking + Excellent layout + Good gaming performance
* Decent general performance * Decent bundle * Nice looks