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Testbed and Performance

Type

Barebone system

Platform

Socket478

Mainboard

ABIT IS-50

Chipset

Intel 865G (up to 800MHz bus)
ICH5-R South Bridge

DIMM slots

2 (1x1 in dual-channel mode)

Graphics

Intel Extreme Graphics 2

Expansion slots

1 AGP 8x
1 PCI

IDE/SATA ports

2/2
RAID 0, 1

HDD/optical drives connectors

2/2

Card-reader

SM, MMC/SD, MS/MS Pro, CF

Dimensions

307mm x 215mm x 255mm

As you can see, ABIT DiGiDice is based on a pretty high-performance i865G chipset, supports CPUs with 800MHz bus and Hyper-Threading technology, and allows installing full-size external graphics card. However, I think I should make a few comments here: since the case is equipped with an internal thermometer (showing the temperature on the LCD display on the front panel of the system), we had the opportunity to measure the temperature of our Pentium 4 2.53GHz processor under maximum workload. Well, it reached 65oC, while the temperature inside the case reached 45oC, which is close to the top already. And bearing in mind that the new Pentium 4 processors supporting 800MHz bus generate even more heat, I would be careful suggesting that you should use them inside a system like ABIT DiGiDice. Although I should say that the use of ABIT OTES technology for cooling purposes is absolutely justified in this case. For your information I would like to say that some manufacturers of Socket478 barebone systems do not recommend using CPUs faster than Intel Celeron for this specific reason.

The functionality of BIOS Setup turned out the most extreme one of all other similar systems. There are all ABIT’s brand name technologies responsible for overclocking and memory subsystem fine tuning (including the popular GAME Axelerator with four settings: Auto, Turbo, StreetRacer and F1). They also implemented Easy Overclocking function, which allows increasing the FSB frequency in a very smooth manner from 5% to 25% (with 5% increment). All manipulations do not require accessing the BIOS. You perform them with the help of Shuttle Controller wheel and LCD display. However, I couldn’t make the system run stable even with standard settings at first. Only after I reflashed the latest BIOS version downloaded from the manufacturer’s web-site, everything started working properly. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that PAT technology is activated by default, which ensures even higher performance of the memory subsystem, especially during intensive work with the memory. By the way, since we mentioned the memory, I think I should also say a few words about the way the memory subsystem is organized there. The integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 graphics core can occupy from 2MB up to 32MB of the system memory. Moreover, keeping in mind the shared bandwidth I would suggest working in dual-channel mode, because this way you can minimize the negative influence of the integrated graphics.

Since ABIT DiGiDice system is positioned as a media solution, I think it makes sense to use the available PCI slot for a high-quality external sound card.

 
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