Pushing the IT7-MAX2 to the Max with a 1.8A

Modding the ABIT IT7-MAX2 for improved clocking

Introduction

In my initial testing of the ABIT IT7-MAX2 I was only able to get the processor upto 2800Mhz stable, which was mainly due to the motherboard only supporting up to 1.7v, which gave an actual voltage of 1.63v.
So I decided to take things a little further with the IT7-MAX2 as I knew it was capable of more.
If you have not seen the original review then please click HERE!

I started out by obtaining a modified BIOS which allows you to get the memory up to 3.2v. In testing I was able to get the memory up to 2.98v actual, which is a decent 0.2v improvement and will aid gettings those memory speeds that little bit higher when overclocking.
If you wish to download the modded BIOS for yourself click HERE!
BE WARNED if you incorrectly flash your BIOS it can damage your hardware and neither myself or Tech-PC.co.uk can be blamed for this, you do it at your own risk!
In my testing I found the optimal voltage for my RAM was 2.9v, as using 3.0v crippled my clocking efforts, most likely due to the RAM not liking voltages over 2.95v.

For my second modification I vid-pinned the CPU, which allows you to set the default voltage of the processor by wrapping thin wire around some selected pins. Check out these pictures for further details:-

Wrapping the wire around the first two pins brings the CPU’s default voltage up from 1.5v to 1.7v. This means now that the BIOS allows you to adjust your Vcore voltage up to 1.85v and if need be you can still set it all the way down to 1.3v

The ASUS P4T533 rig was unable to clock any further than 2880Mhz stable, and therefore I have used the benchmarks from the first article for comparison, as they were at 2880Mhz.
You can see the original review [b]HERE![/b]

Anyway onto the benchmarks and results:-

On the ABIT IT7-MAX2 the Vcore voltage was at 1.85v (1.78v actual) with the 3:4 memory divider enabled (DDR430) using memory timings of 2-7-2-2 with DRAM enhanced performance enabled. The CPU was running at 2905Mhz on a 161.5FSB.
If you were willing to put up with the extra noise from the 80mm Delta at full speed, the systems seemed pretty stable, and was rock stable at 2880Mhz.

The ASUS P4T533’s Vcore was set at 1.725v (1.800v actual) with the RAMBUS at 400Mhz and Turbo enabled. The CPU was at 2880Mhz on a 160FSB. The system ran all the benchmarks fine, however the max stable 24/7 running speed I have managed is 2700Mhz, which is rather poor considered the IT7-MAX2 is capable of running stable at 2900Mhz. The ASUS boards definetely has stability issues when it comes to clocking to high frequencies on both the CPU and FSB. Come on ASUS you can do better than this. I have also tried approx 10 different BIOS’s all of which have done little to improve stability at high overclocks. :frowning:

WCPUID Shots

P4T533

IT7-MAX2

As you can see the IT7-MAX2 was able to clock the CPU a further 25Mhz using the same voltage.

Sisoft Sandra Benchmarks

P4T533

IT7-MAX2

As expected the IT7-MAX2 does slightly better here, due to it’s 25Mhz lead of the P4T533.

P4T533

IT7-MAX2

Once again the IT7-MAX outpaces the ASUS motherboard, obviously due to the extra 25Mhz overclock!

P4T533

IT7-MAX2

Fantastic scores from both rigs here, it’s nice to see the DDR rig doing so well, and the RAM bandwidth from the RAMBUS is jaw dropping.

P4T533

IT7-MAX2

As expected the IT7-MAX2 takes the lead once again, mainly due to that extra 25Mhz.

Quake III v1.11

The DDR is now catching the RAMBUS rig up, as the DDR is now only lacking a mere 10fps, and both systems are pratically hitting the dizzy heights of 400fps.

OcUK SETI Benchmark

Once again an impressice showdown and now the DDR rig is only 5 minutes slower, goes to prove that DDR is quickly gaining on RDRAM speeds.

3D Mark 2001 640x480x16

This is where RAMBUS still manages to hold onto it’s lead, however both systems give a 14k+ score, damn impressive.

3D Mark 2001 1024x768x32 (default test)

On the default test the DDR rig is now approx 300 points behind so not a great deal, but RAMBUS does own for 3D Mark.

PC Mark 2002

As expected the IT7-MAX2 is slightly faster on the CPU benchmark, but lacks slightly behind the P4T533 on the memory benchmark.

Unreal Tournamount 2003 official DEMO

Here we see the IT7-MAX2 just beat the P4T533 on both the flyby and botmatch benchmarks. So DDR looks as good as RAMBUS when it comes to gaming.

Pifast Quick test

The IT7-MAX2 marginally outpaces the P4T533, quite a surprise really, good show by DDR.

Pifast to 10m places

This time the P4T533 slightly outpaces the IT7-MAX2, but it so slight they are practically identical times.

Conclusion

After using both these boards for a good week each I have got to say my choice would be the ABIT IT7-MAX2 as I am an overclocker. For me the ASUS P4T533 is just not stable when overclocking past 150FSB in 4x mode which is a real shame. I have been patient as I have tried many BIOS’s which have all failed to cure the long term stability issues past 150FSB. The board is fine for benching all the way up to 170FSB in 4x mode which is quite odd, but for running 24/7 underload it’s only stable up to approx 152FSB in 4x mode, a shame really.

The IT7-MAX2 is just a rock solid motherboard, it ran for 24 hours+ underload at 2875Mhz without any problems with the voltage at 1.75v actual, which is damn impressive. As you can see the DDR running at the same max overclock as the ASUS results in similar performance between both rigs.
From testing I believe that if DDR450+ can be hit with aggresive RAM timings than DDR will be equal and maybe slightly faster than RAMBUS on all the benchmarks.
Also do not forget DDR overclocks to higher FSB’s then RAMBUS and DDR technology is constantly improving all the time.
I know that Corsair are planning to launch XMS3500 CAS2.0 memory within the next few weeks, which will hopefully provide DDR450 performance at tight timings, and DDR500+ performance with slack timings. So DDR only gets better, wheras RAMBUS yields just don’t seem to be improving, so I suspect DDR will be the performance choice for the future.

I hope you enjoy this add on to the review, and I hope it helps owners of the IT7-MAX2 seeking that little extra performance when overclocking.

P.S. I thought I would post this over here as I know some of you cannot post on OcUK or do not wish to do so. I also know that many of you have P4 DDR boards so I thought you would like to see this. Also check out the original review on by clicking the link at the beginning of the review. If you have a problem with this post due to it’s size please feel free to delete it, as I suppose I could always just link to the finished article on tech-pc when it is done. Any I hope you TPR lot enjoy it. :wink:

Once again you amaze us with your mad ocing skills :slight_smile:

nice one… thats one thing i have noticed you never do things by half :slight_smile:

Might just tempt me to get a new rig…must resist no more spending the wife said ! :wink:

and btw nothing wrong with the size of post it’s better if it gets expalined like that then just a few words on that it can be done :wink:

Have you seen the original review on tech-pc, as this will be added onto that review hopefully tomorrow. As the idea of the review was to compare the best RAMBUS and DDR setups to one another. As you can see the results are interesting.

I am hopeful to get a 2.26B which will mean been able to push the FSB even further in the IT7-MAX2, and when my XMS3500 arrives it should probe to be damn fast. Also gonna slam the 2.26B in my modded TH7-II as well to see how it compares against an fast DDR rig, as my modded Th7-II is a hard one to beat. :slight_smile:

P.S. How is the TPR hardware review site going, if it is up and running feel free to add this review to it. :slight_smile:

God man do you never stop :stuck_out_tongue:

The site is mincers/mulders side i think…

and no not seen the first review not been doing much review readings not been doing much of late :frowning:

Rambus might be good but it’s still way too expensive for wat it is imho

am happy to oc my iwillkk266 and amd 1 gig axia which i bought on the strenght of you review and tbh i have nver looked back one of the best investments i have made was this board :slight_smile:

sits a 1.41ghz all day does it had it to 1.5 but then things start to fall off if you know wat i mean :wink:

That was my first ever review with the KK266, which was thanks to Spesh as he allowed me to buy his, if I remember that review got close to 100,000 hits. :eek:

now thats a lot of hits just for a review :slight_smile:

am happy with the speed don’t see a reason to change it yet… but you might have just tempted me :wink:

I don’t do the reviews to tempt people to buy new hardware, I just enjoy doing it, I also like to help and love to show off my results. :stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :smiley:

By the way I been on the Southern comfort all day, so am rather happy, basically if your current kit does what you need it to do then why upgrade? Don’t as you don’t need to!

P.S. On the original review I give all the links to the benchmarks I used, so if you wish you could run some of them and see how your system compares.

Nice review Gibbo

My Memory will go to 172/173 with slackest mem timing, the mem needs to be at 3:4 for the best seti times and my mem is the limiting factor (corsair 3000 cas 2) I also find that above 2.9 vmem the memory gets worse.

My pin rapped 2.26B will go to 176fsb 3Ghz with 1.85 bios 1.77 in windows.

So unless you have the very best memory a new 1.8A maybe the best option, or a higher multiplier “b” chip.

I am waiting for a C1 stepping chip now though a 2.53 C1 would be nice with the 19 multiplier for my memory

Well I think this Corsair XMS3200 CAS2.0 I have is good for 166FSb with 3:4 divider using 2-7-2-2-1T timings at 2.9v. So hopefully the XMS3500 stuff might just manage around 170+.

The 2.26B I am thinking of getting does 3Ghz around 1.6v and gets up to 3.2Ghz in decent board with air cooling, but needs volts of 1.8v actualy which aint ideal 24/7 due to throttling and CPU life reduction.

Yup 2.53 will be nice, approx 3.3Ghz air cooled and high multiplier so v. good RAM performance.

Originally posted by M@tt
[B]Nice review Gibbo

My Memory will go to 172/173 with slackest mem timing, the mem needs to be at 3:4 for the best seti times and my mem is the limiting factor (corsair 3000 cas 2) I also find that above 2.9 vmem the memory gets worse.

My pin rapped 2.26B will go to 176fsb 3Ghz with 1.85 bios 1.77 in windows.

So unless you have the very best memory a new 1.8A maybe the best option, or a higher multiplier “b” chip.

I am waiting for a C1 stepping chip now though a 2.53 C1 would be nice with the 19 multiplier for my memory [/B]

You can use this chip if you want m@tt, I am gonna get a 2.8b on monday

Version C16847-001 - Pack Date 09/12/2002
Philippines

3 days old and u can ave it @ cost

Sounds good memory you have there, I don’t run at high v-core or v-mem 24/7, I am at 166 fsb 1.6v 2.8v mem at the moment, with the heatsink fan at 7volts, noise really gets to me nowadays, must be getting old, I guess :wink:

Wallis how do those batch of chips overclock on stock volts? What do they do with more volts?

Cheers! :slight_smile:

Originally posted by Gibbo
[B]I don’t do the reviews to tempt people to buy new hardware, I just enjoy doing it, I also like to help and love to show off my results. :stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :smiley:

By the way I been on the Southern comfort all day, so am rather happy, basically if your current kit does what you need it to do then why upgrade? Don’t as you don’t need to!

P.S. On the original review I give all the links to the benchmarks I used, so if you wish you could run some of them and see how your system compares. [/B]

Nah not worth it m8 one of the things is mine system is a work system so i don’t wana go messing it up just to benchmark it :wink:

me wonders if water cooling everythiny would allow 160fsb :slight_smile:

Originally posted by Gibbo
[B]Wallis how do those batch of chips overclock on stock volts? What do they do with more volts?

Cheers! :slight_smile: [/B]

Havent tested on any other boards except P4-533-C, I just set it to 19 x 150 and booted it up at stock volts, so it’s maxed out @ stock voltage @ 2850

Darwin :-), Wallis is 10 weeks old :slight_smile:

Originally posted by Wallis
[B]

You can use this chip if you want m@tt, I am gonna get a 2.8b on monday

Version C16847-001 - Pack Date 09/12/2002
Philippines

3 days old and u can ave it @ cost [/B]

Don’t think that is a C1 stepping chip, I can do a “test” on it if you like

They are not C1 stepping! As soon as C1 stepping’s start coming thru I will let you all know. :slight_smile: