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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.11.02]
Manufactured by: Abit


The Test

We put the AT7 up against one of the better performing old school boards out there, the Shuttle AK35GTR (which we gave an Editor's Choice award in our review).  The Shuttle is almost the exact opposite of this board - it doesn't have anything fancy like USB2.0 or IEEE1394, or even integrated LAN.  What it does have is rock solid performance and stability, along with some nice coloured legacy ports... Yeah...

Our revision of the AK35GTR uses a chipset one step below that of the AT7 - it's a KT266A, which does not support 333 MHz Memory settings.  That's okay though, because we don't have the RAM capable of such a speed.  We tested in 266 MHz mode on both boards.  Gains with 333 on the AthlonXP CPU are negligible though, as shown in this excellent writeup by our good friends at [H]ard|OCP.

Standard SPD settings were used with both boards, and all other memory settings were matched precisely to each other.  We did NOT enable such settings as "Enhance benchmark performance" on the Abit board, as we think that would give the board an unfair advantage in benchmarks that may or may not be seen in the real world.  We did however enable "Enhance CPU Performance" as that was available on both boards.

Since legacy ports were not available on the MAX, and since they were not being used at all during testing, we disabled all legacy ports on the Shuttle board.  This should give us an indication as to whether removing legacy ports completely offers any sort of performance or stability increase.

Both boards had the same Highpoint HPT374 ATA/133 RAID controller, however that was not used in our tests, so the controller was disabled on both boards.

System specs are as follows:

CPU: AthlonXP 2100+ (reviewed here)
RAM: Crucial 512MB PC2100
Video Card: ATI Radeon 8500DV AIW 64MB
Hard Drive: Maxtor 13GB ATA/66
Ethernet (Abit): Onboard Realtek Chip
Ethernet (Shuttle): PCI D-Link 530TX
Sound Card (Abit): Onboard Via Avance 5.1
Sound Card (Shuttle): Onboard C-Media 8738 5.1

Drivers Used:

Video Card:
Sound Card (Abit): CD Driver
Sound Card (Shuttle): 0632 (dated 12.27.01)
Via 4-in-1 4.38(2)v(a)

The latest available BIOSes were used for each board.

Benchmarks Used:

3DMark 2001 SE
PCMark 2002
ZD Audio Winbench99
SiSoft Sandra 2002TE
GLMark 1.1p
Serious Sam: Second Encounter 1.05
Quake 3 Arena
CodeCreatures Benchmark Pro
Commanche 4 Benchmark
Evolva Bumpmap Benchmark
SYSmark 2002

We'll explain a bit about each benchmark as we bring them up in the tests.  We have direct download links to each one that is publicly available on our Downloads Page.

I squeezed in all the benchmarks into as few a number of graphs as possible... As you can see, we are quite thorough with our testing, but I don't want to innundate you with a million graphs

On with the show!

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