Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared


The BIOS defaults to 272 MHz FSB, a minor overclock that can be negated by manually selecting 266 MHz from the "OC Guru" overclock menu. Abit includes two settings not commonly found in LGA775 motherboards: Northbridge Strap and Command Rate. Lowering either setting allows the chipset to address memory far more aggressively, but for most users this will render the system unbootable (requiring a BIOS reset).

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency 133 - 600 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier Adjustment No
PCIe Clock 100-200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore Base-1.725V (0.025V)
Memory 1.75 - 2.50V (0.05V)
FSB Termination N/A
Northbridge (MCH) 1.25 - 1.45V (0.05V)
Southbridge (ICH) N/A
ICH I/O 1.50 - 1.70V (0.05V)
Available Memory Ratios (DRAM:FSB)
DDR2-533 (1:1) Yes
DDR2-667 (5:4) Yes
DDR2-711 (4:3) No
DDR2-800 (3:2) Yes
DDR2-888 (5:3) No
DDR2-1066 (2:1) No
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 3-6; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-31; Command Rate: 1t-2t

Our Take

Our previous experience tells us that the AB9 Pro is an exceptional overclocker, but the lack of CPU multiplier adjustment prevented us from finding its maximum stable bus speed. We were instead limited to the maximum overclock our specific CPU could support at its stock multiplier at 100% stability, which was 346 MHz FSB for our early-stepping Core 2 Duo E6700 with Intel boxed cooler.

The original BIOS did not support setting the JMicron controller to native mode, requiring a driver floppy to load Windows from an ATAPI CD-ROM. Subsequent BIOS revisions have resolved this issue.

Documentation & Software Motherboard Manual
Quick Installation Guide
uGuru User's Guide
Jumper Settings Reference Card
Driver & Tools CD
RAID Driver Floppy for Windows Installation
Hardware 9x Serial ATA cables
1x 80-conductor ATA cable
1x Floppy Cable
1x Slot Panel (2x USB + 2x FireWire)
1x I/O Panel Shield

Special Features

Applications include OC Guru with seven configurable profiles, Abit EQ for monitoring voltage levels and temperatures, and Fan EQ for adjusting cooling profiles. If an overclock ever makes the system unbootable, a Port 80 diagnostics module makes it easy to determine which part failed.

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