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Advantages & Disadvantages

Motherboard Review - ABIT IT5H
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The Advantages of the ABIT IT5H

  • CPU SoftMenu, 'jumperless' design
  • 75 MHz bus speed ability
  • 'turbo frequency' for 66 MHz bus speed
  • supports modern DIMM RAM design
  • extremely overclocking friendly, due to SoftMenu
  • very well equipped
  • P55C support
  • Cyrix/IBM 6x86L and M2 support
  • coming with Bus Master Drivers on floppy disk
  • very good quality and high stability, more stable than Asus P/I-P55T2P4 rev. 3
  • high reliability
  • good web site, but difficult to access from the western hemisphere. Often ridiculously slow from here (UK)
  • definitely much better support than Asus
  • easy access to Flash BIOS upgrades

The Disadvantages of the ABIT IT5H

  • This board would be perfect if it had 8 instead of 4 SIMM slots, however it's pretty close to perfect already
  • no Ultra-DAM support due to HX chipset
  • no SDRAM support due to HX chipset

Tips And Comments

Recommended BIOS Timing Settings for the Different Bus Speeds

a) 50, 55 and 60 MHz Bus Speed

Auto Configuration Disabled
DRAM RAS# Precharge Time 3
DRAM R/W Leadoff Timing 6/5
Fast RAS# to CAS# Delay 2
DRAM Read Burst (EDO/FPM) x222/x333
DRAM Write Burst timing x222
Turbo Read Leadoff Enabled
DRAM Speculative Leadoff Enabled
Turn-Around Insertion Disabled
ISA Clock PCICLCK/3
Chipset NA# Assertion Enabled
Pipeline Cache Timing Fastest
Passive Release Enabled
Delayed Transaction Enabled (?)

b)66 MHz and 75 MHz Bus Speed

Auto Configuration Disabled
DRAM RAS# Precharge Time 3
DRAM R/W Leadoff Timing 6/5
Fast RAS# to CAS# Delay 2
DRAM Read Burst (EDO/FPM) x222/x333
DRAM Write Burst timing x222
Turbo Read Leadoff Disabled
DRAM Speculative Leadoff Enabled
Turn-Around Insertion Disabled
ISA Clock PCICLCK/4
Chipset NA# Assertion Enabled
Pipeline Cache Timing Fastest
Passive Release Enabled
Delayed Transaction Enabled (?)

c)83 MHz Bus Speed

Auto Configuration Disabled
DRAM RAS# Precharge Time 3
DRAM R/W Leadoff Timing 7/6
Fast RAS# to CAS# Delay 2
DRAM Read Burst (EDO/FPM) x222/x333
DRAM Write Burst timing x222
Turbo Read Leadoff Disabled
DRAM Speculative Leadoff Enabled
Turn-Around Insertion Disabled
ISA Clock PCICLCK/4
Chipset NA# Assertion Enabled
Pipeline Cache Timing Fastest
Passive Release Enabled
Delayed Transaction Enabled (?)

Summary

I personally fell in love with that board from the first minute I've been using it. Abit has listened to each of my complaints about this board and since revision 1.5 it now supports 83 MHz bus speed and 512 MB cacheable RAM without the hassle of getting an additional tag RAM chip or a special COAST module as in case of the Asus P/I-P55T2P4. The IT5H is definitely the best HX board available and it's one of the fastest Socket 7 boards still.

The reasons for that are simple.

  • nothing compares to the convenience of the CPU SoftMenu setup. After you once used it, you are really annoyed using any other board without it. However, this is only for tweak freaks. In case you just want a decent motherboard, set up and done with, you won't take much notice of SoftMenu.
  • The board is a miracle of stability. I'm using it as my own system board and I'm running my P166 rock stable at 205/68 MHz, the 'turbo frequency' selection for 200 MHz CPU speed. It runs just as stable and at the very same BIOS settings at 188/75 MHz, which I'm always switching over to, in case I'm running graphic intensive games. These games benefit a whole lot from the 75 MHz bus speed. The K6 runs rock stable at 250 (3x83) MHz and so does the Pentium.
  • The turbo frequency option is also a feature I wouldn't like missing anymore. However, after several trials I found the same setting for the Asus P/I-P55T2P4 rev. 3, FIC PA-2006 and the FKI SL586VT II. Hence it isn't really unique.
  • The architecture and memory timing of this board makes it faster than any other HX board I've seen so far. The Asus is considerably slower at the same bus and CPU speed and at 166/83 the Asus runs definitely slower than the IT5H at 188/75 or 205/68 in winstone. Of course you can't beat the 83 MHz bus speed in Quake or other graphic intensive games.
  • No other board seems to support that many of the new and upcoming CPUs. This makes the IT5H most future proof.
  • I like the new BIOS option, where you can choose each differnet EIDE HDD to boot from.
  • It's the perfect K6 high performance board to date. You can run your K6 at the proper voltage, at 83 MHz bus speed and you can use up to 512 MB RAM without the penalty you get in TX boards when crossing the FX/VX/TX chipset's 64 MB cacheability limit.
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