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Abit's IT7 MAX2 V2.0 motherboard

This one goes to the MAX

Manufacturer Abit
Model IT7 MAX2 V2.0
Price (street) US$164
Availability Now

ABIT HAS CHANGED the tone of its MAX line of motherboards. The message behind the original MAX amounted to flag waving for a new legacy-free platform that brushed aside PS/2, serial, and parallel ports in favor of gobs of USB and Firewire ports. Now, with the MAX2 series, serial and parallel ports are still out, but PS/2 ports are back. Now, Abit is focusing on integrating loads of peripherals instead of pushing a legacy-free agenda.

Of course, a good motherboard also has to perform well and let users tweak every imaginable BIOS setting. Does the IT7 MAX2 V2.0 measure up? Read on to find out.

The specs
Before we dive into the specifics of the IT7 MAX2 V2.0, let's take a quick peek at the spec sheet.

CPU support Socket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors
Form factor ATX
Chipset Intel 845PE
North bridge Intel 82845PE
South bridge Intel 82801DB
Interconnect Intel Hub Architecture (266MB/s)
PCI slots 4 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1, 2X/4X AGP (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slots none
Memory 3 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 2GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/1
Serial ATA Marvel 88i8030 controller
2 channels SATA/150
RAID HighPoint HPT374
4 channels ATA/133 IDE RAID 0,1,0+1
Legacy ports 1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse
USB 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via PCI backplane connector
2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via expansion header
Firewire 2 IEEE 1394 ports
1 additional IEEE 1394 port via expansion header
Audio ALC650 6-channel audio
standard audio jacks, S/PDIF output
Ethernet RealTek RTL8100B 10/100 Ethernet
Bus speeds 100-250MHz in 1MHz increments
Bus dividers 1/3, 1/4 PCI bus divider
Arbitrary PCI bus speeds of 33, 37, and 44MHz
Voltages CPU: 1.10-1.7 in 0.025V increments
DRAM: 2.5-2.8V in 0.1V increments
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

As you can see, we have a lot to cover. The IT7 MAX2 V2.0 brings everything from DDR333 support to a stack of integrated peripherals and a bunch of BIOS options. Don't worry; I'll split everything up into bite-size morsels over the next few pages to make it easier to digest.