iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ABIT BH7 (i845PE) Mainboard

This is one of the "officially overclocked" boards based on the i845PE chipset, but according to the manufacturer it's able to support modern Pentium 4 processors with FSB 800 MHz (tough the memory controller is still single-channel). In this way it is a direct competitor of boards based on the i865 family.


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual in 6 languages;
  • Cables: one Serial ATA (without power supply adapter), one ATA66/100/133 and FDD;
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with:
    • drivers;
    • user guide in PDF;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • ABIT FlashMenu.

This is a well designed PCB. Thanks to horizontal IDE connectors (relative to  the PCB plane) you can easily connect all peripherals and do not let the cable inside get entangled. However, the additional power supply connector is situated in the central PCB part, and the audio connectors are in front of the PCI slots. It's not difficult to reach the only jumper when the board is already installed. Its functions are indicated on the PCB.  

The 4-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 6 capacitors of 3300 uF and 3 of 1200 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2 capacitors of 1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (2 of 1000 uF). 

Integrated controllers: 

  • audio controller based on the chipset and Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, S/PDIF-In/Out connectors provided
  • network controller based on the Realtek RTL8101L chip supporting 10/100Base-T  (Fast Ethernet);
  • IDE-SATA bridge based on the Marvell 88i8030-NNC chip (the SATA hard drive connects via this bridge instead of the Secondary Master IDE thus reducing the number of IDE devices to three).

+5 V supplied in the StandBy mode is indicated with the green LED, the red one goes on when the system turns on.

No wasted space for components that didn't get included in the final design. 

System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. It controls: 

  • processor, AGP bus voltages, +3.3, +5 and +-12 V, VBAT and +5 V Standby
  • rotation speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor) 

There are 2 connectors for regulated and 3 for unregulated connection of fans.

Summary: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 5 PCI; I/O ports - 1 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0; dimensions - 305x225 mm. 


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
BIOS based on Phoenix AwardBIOS 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, Active to Precharge Delay
Setup of memory frequency + By SPD, 266, 320, 400 MHz (with FSB 800 MHz)
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2) = 33, 37, 44 MHz, FSB/3, FSB/4, FSB/5, FSB/6
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 100-250 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x8-x50
CPU voltage control + Default, +5%, +10%, +15%, +20%, +25%, +30%
DIMM voltage control + 2.55-3.05 V in 0.1V steps
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + 1.5 and 1.6 V

We used the BIOS 14 as the latest available version. 

A good speed and a low price will help this board become a popular substitute for modern and expensive i865 based boards. However, its functionality is of the last generation, and you won't find here much new.

Test results: 

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

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