A few days of testing, even though it is pretty indepth, cannot reveal all the highs and lows of a product with 100% certainty. Only continuous use of a platform for a long time can show a real picture. Over the past year that Intel Core 2 Duo processors have been around, my preferences towards the mainboards supporting them have changed a few times already.
Of, course, my love at first sight was Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 mainboard. easy and quick overclocking on an inexpensive mainboard like that, what could be better? However, later on I have to give it up, because it lost stability during continuous operation in overclocked mode, would reset all settings to defaults every now any then without warning. Besides, I almost burned my entire testbed because of the pins hanging from beneath the processor socket on the reverse side of the PCB that were closing on the metal plate of the Tuniq Tower 120 cooler (the new revisions of Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 mainboards do not differ from this defect any more, it has been fixed).
Then another mainboard, Asus Commando, totally won my heart. It was an excellent mainboard! I couldn’t find any serious drawbacks about it during our test session, as well as a few months down the road. Now however, that the new Intel P35 Express chipset is out, we know that the mainboards based on it do not suffer from performance drops because of FSB Strap change, unlike the boards on the previous generation Intel P965 Express. Asus Commando mainboard works very fast until you hit 400MHz FSB, but once you pass it, the performance drop is inevitable.
And today I found my new ideal - abit IP35 Pro. I have to confess that I didn’t believe in this board at first. We all know that the company was famous for their excellent mainboards before, but all the latest solutions we looked at in our lab made us pretty nostalgic about the good old times. I didn’t have too many hopes, especially since we only had the very first BIOS version at the time of tests. However, abit IP35 Pro proved absolutely terrific!
I am going to keep this board as a testbed for the processor overclocking experiments and will let you know if any issues ever pop up. Although I already found one small “issue”: sometimes if you need to perform an emergency restart with the Reset button, the mainboard may suddenly “forget” about fan rotation speed management, although the settings weren’t changed. At first I had to clear CMOS and rest all the same parameters again to make sure that the mainboard would resume managing the fan rotation speeds. But later on I found out that it is enough to simply shut it down and power back up again, for the board to “remember” about the cooling fans management. So the hint: use traditional shut down and reboot means instead of the Reset button. So, it is not really an issue at all.
abit IP35 Pro has a ton of advantages: smart PCB layout, wide range of features, noiseless and efficient abit Silent OTEC cooling system, excellent BIOS options – you can continue this list on your own, I guess: six fan connectors with adjustment option, solid-state capacitors, sufficient accessories bundle… So, all in all this is what I can say about it summing everything up:
- A lot of them, can’t remember all – an excellent mainboard.
- Hardly any.
According to the results of our test session, we decided to award abit IP35 Pro with our Editor’s Choice title :