iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ABIT IC7-MAX3 (i875P) Mainboard

This ABIT's top board based on the i875P chipset is a bright example of an image product the release of which was preceded the intensive advertizing campaign. Here you can find all functions you want. It is also supplied with various accessories. Also note that the board doesn't have LPT or COM ports, and it indicates that the board belongs to the Legacy-free MAX line.

The layout is not very handy because of a great number of the controllers and connectors installed. It's not easy to reach connectors placed along the left side, the audio-ins are placed in front of the PCI slots. It can be a problem to reach the memory modules with a video card installed, and it might be difficult to mount the CPU cooler because of the plastic cover over the transistors and capacitors of the CPU voltage regulator. Also, you can find it difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their description is provided on the PCB. The specific orientation of the IDE slots (see the picture) is not always convenient... but sometimes it proves to be handier than the standard one. It depends on the PC case type and the way the devices are positioned.

+5V Standby is indicated with a green LED. When the systems turns on, the red LED and ABIT OTES cooling backlight go on. The 4-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 8 capacitors of 2200 uF and 3 of 1200 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2x1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (2x1000 uF). 

No wasted space for components that didn't get included in the final design. The board measures 305x245 mm (wide ATX, 9 fastening screws, the left lower corner won't hang loose). System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. It controls: 

  • processor, AGP bus, memory bus voltages, +3.3, +5, +12 V, VBAT and +5 V Standby 
  • rotation speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (2 built-in sensors). 

Ports & connectors onboard

    • CPU socket (Socket 478); 
    • 4 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (paired, differ in color); 
    • AGP Pro slot; 
    • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz); 
    • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, 4pin for 12V); 
    • FDD; 
    • 2 IDE (Parallel ATA) - on chipset; 
    • 6 SATA (Serial ATA) - 2 on chipset, 4 at the expense of an additional controller; 
    • 2 Connectors for a bracket of USB 2.0 ports; 
    • 2 Connector for a bracket with additional FireWire ports;
    • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
    • Connector for AUX-In;
    • Connector for SMBus devices;
    • Connectors for a bracket with additional audio-outs and S/PDIF;
    • 5 connectors for fans (2 with rotation control, one of them is connected to the ABIT OTES fan, one of the unregulated connectors is attached to the north bridge fan).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • ABIT OTES cooler;
  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
  • 2 SPDIF-In/Out (TosLink);
  • 2 audio ports (Rear, Center/Sub);
  • 3 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front);
  • 2 USB and 1 FireWire;
  • 2 USB and 1 RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet).


  • Package of a new design;
  • Documentation: a user manual in 6 languages, a brief installation guide in 9 languages;
  • ATA66/100/133, FDD cables (both are in black cambric) and 4 SerialATA cables (with 1 power adapter);
  • Bracket with 2 USB and 1 FireWire ports;
  • ABIT Secure IDE;
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with:
    • drivers;
    • Winbond Hardware Doctor;
    • user manual in Adobe Acrobat;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • ABIT FlashMenu;
    • DirectX 9.0.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/Os and S/PDIF connector provided; 
  • network controller based on the Intel i82547EI chip, 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-TX supported;
  • SATA RAID based on the Silicon Image SiI3114CT176 chip, supports RAID 0, 1, 1+0 and Spare;
  • FireWire based on the Texas Instruments TSB43AB23, 3 connectors supported.


  • ABIT OTES (CPU voltage regulator's cooler);
  • ABIT Secure IDE (cryptographic data protection on hard drive);
  • ABIT SoftMenu (precise adjustment of voltages and clock speeds in BIOS).


Secure IDE set

On the one hand, cooling of the voltage regulators (ABIT OTES ) in a system equipped with a powerful processor is useful, on the other hand, its noise is excellently heard. And you can't help it by closing the PC case. 


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
Jumper for starting up PC from PS/2 devices  
Jumper for starting up PC from USB devices  
BIOS based on Phoenix-Award 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, Precharge Delay, Game Accelerator, Refresh Cycle Time, Read Delay, Read Delay Adjust, Command Per Clock, Game Accelerator
Setup of memory frequency + CPU:DRAM=By SPD, 3:2, 5:4, 1:1
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2)=Auto, 66-96 MHz
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 100-412 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x8-x50
CPU voltage control + Auto, 1.55-1.925 V in 0.025V steps
DIMM voltage control + 2.5, 2.55, 2.6, 2.65, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 V
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + 1.5, 1.55, 1.6, 1.65 V

We used the BIOS 12 as the latest available version. 

Test results:



Stanislav Garmatyuk  (nawhi@ixbt.com
Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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