When we reviewed Asus P5K mainboard, we took a quick look at the entire Asus mainboards lineup on Intel P35 Express chipset. We did the same thing when checking out MSI P35 Platinum. Now it is time for us to pay due attention to abit mainboards on the same chipset.
I suggest that this time we take the mainstream solution as our basis and will discuss its differences from the budget and high-end modifications. So, let’s get started!
abit Mainboard Family on Intel P35 Express Chipset
abit mainboard series on Intel P35 Express chipset was launched as “Off Limits” family. Despite this challenging family name, the board is called simply abit IP35.
Four-phase processor voltage regulator circuitry uses solid-state capacitors and the MOSFET transistors packed into convenient groups are covered with a heatsink. It also helps cool down the chipset North Bridge with the help of a heat-pipe transferring the heat away from it. The ICH9R South Bridge provides support for six Serial ATA ports, and the hard disk drives connected to them can be united into RAID arrays. The additional IEEE1394 controller delivers one port to the mainboard rear panel, while the other one is laid out as a pin-connector on the mainboard PCB. Besides the IEEE1394 port, the mainboard rear panel also carries two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, six sound jacks and an optical SPDIF, four USB ports and a network RJ45 connector.
The youngest member of the abit mainboard family is called IP35-E. It is based on the same PCB layout as abit IP35, but boasts slightly fewer features.
The board still has three heatsinks, but there is no heat-pipe here. The South Bridge has been replaced with the ICH9 chip and there are only four Serial ATA ports supported. Also there is no additional IEEE1394 controller. These are about all the differences.
The top mainboard in the family is called abit IP35 Pro and it is built on its own original PCB design, although it is still similar to the layout the previous two mainboard models are using.
The chipset cooling system has been enhanced significantly: the heatsinks are of a different shape and there is a second heat-pipe added. All the capacitors on this board are solid-state now, and not only the ones in the processor voltage regulator circuitry. There is a POST-code indicator, Power On and Reset buttons. One of the PCI Express x1 slots has been replaced with a PCI Express x16 with x4 throughput capacity. The mainboard rear panel no longer caries the IEEE1394 connector – it moved to the PCB, however there is a second RJ45 network port, an SPDIF Out and two eSATA ports instead.
This brief description gives us a very general idea of the mainboard features, so I suggest we took a closer look at our today’s main hero – abit IP35 Pro mainboard