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Abit's IC7-G motherboard

More performance, less fluff

Price (street)US$178

THE LAST FEW motherboards I've reviewed have been packed with all sorts of extravagant extras that add a lot of value to the complete package, but don't do much for the boards themselves. Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of bundles that give consumers more bang for their buck, but I don't want to see creative and engineering energies diverted away from the actual products to arrays of accessories instead.

Thus far, Abit has shied away from opulent bundles. Instead, they've concentrated on refining features, improving performance, and tweaking that all-important SoftMenu BIOS in an attempt to give consumers the best motherboard possible.

Today, we're looking at Abit's latest offering, the 875P chipset-based IC7-G. The IC7-G doesn't glow in the dark or come packaged with the kitchen sink, but it does deliver a smart array of integrated peripherals, a robust BIOS, and the promise of blistering performance. Will gamers, enthusiasts, and workstation users find value in the IC7-G beyond its relatively barren bundle? Let's find out.

The specs
Let's check out the IC7-G's spec sheet.

CPU supportSocket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors
Form factorATX
ChipsetIntel "Canterwood" 875P
North bridgeIntel 875P
South bridgeIntel ICH5R
InterconnectIntel Accelerated Hub (266MB/sec)
PCI slots5 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots1, 4X/8X AGP Pro 50 (0.8/1.5V)
AMR/CNR slotsNone
Memory4 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 4GB of DDR400/333/266 SDRAM with ECC
Storage I/OFloppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Serial ATA2 channels Serial ATA 150 via ICH5R south bridge
2 channels Serial ATA 150 via Sil 3112 SATA controller
RAIDSerial ATA RAID 0 support via ICH5R south bridge
Serial ATA RAID 0, 1 support via Sil 3112 SATA controller
Legacy ports1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports
USB4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via PCI expansion header
Firewire3 IEEE 1394 Firewire via TSB43AB23 Firewire controller
Audio6-channel audio via ICH5R/ALC650 codec
analog front, rear, and center outputs
analog line in and microphone inputs
digital S/PDIF input and output ports
Ethernet10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via Intel CSA GbE controller
BIOSAbit SoftMenu
Bus speedsFSB: 100-412MHz in 1MHz increments
AGP: fixed @ 66MHz
PCI: fixed @ 33MHz
Bus dividersDRAM: 3:2, 5:4, 1:1
CPU:AGP:PCI: 3:2:1, 4:2:1, 5:2:1, 6:2:1, 7:2:1, 8:2:1
VoltagesCPU: 1.5250-1.6750 in 0.005V increments
DRAM: 2.5-2.8V in 0.05V increments
AGP: 1.5-1.65V in 0.05V increments
MonitoringVoltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

If I had to characterize the IC7-G's spec list, I'd have to call it restrained. The board has everything an enthusiast might need, but doesn't include more frivolous extras that the vast majority of users may never actually use. But before I delve into the details of the board's integrated peripherals, let's take a peek at the layout.