Performance remarks :
As you can see from the benches on the previous page, the I865 is on par with the I875 when running at default speeds, the Abit IS7 even outruns the competition thanks to its built in GAT (Game Accelerator Technology)
, or a *hacked* PAT. But when we push the motherboards up to 250 MHz we see the Canterwood pull ahead. The 9PJL2 was able to reach 250 MHz stable and showed first signs of instabilities around ~255 MHz. The Abit IS7 on the other hand had troubles even running 250Mhz, no matter what RAM was used, or BIOS settings disabled, the IS7 refused to run any game benchmarks when overclocked to 250Mhz, that's why you see some benchmarks with the IS7 running at 245Mhz.
When mentioning maximum FSB speed, this is always in 1:1, when using a divider 5:4 or 3:2 the motherboards can go higher (my Asus P4C800 reaches 300+ in 5:4 mode but doesn't do 270 in 1:1). With recent memory modules which can reach 275 MHz at stock voltage, this is quite important if you want the best performance from your P4 setup!
The Chaintech's I865 does not have a *hacked* PAT on their boards, and the difference with the Canterwood is noticeable in the graphs, but overall it can hardly be called huge. And you wouldn't notice the difference in everyday usage.
Chaintech includes an overclocking utility "APOGEE":
You can change FSB/PCI/AGP speeds, increase/decrease voltage to your CPU, DDR and AGP port! A quite impressive utility and very easy in use, although the overclocking headroom was limited with this Springdale motherboard when used with a P4 2.4 “C” processor, but when you buy a new CPU (3.2Ghz for example) then you will have a hard time to get that CPU running @ 250Mhz FSB, unless you apply some extreme cooling
.General Impression :
The board layout is well thought out, and I didn't encounter any serious issues when installing this motherboard. All wiring is kept away from the CPU socket area and components are well distributed around the board to allow easy access:
The BIOS reset jumper is easily accessible at the bottom of the main board next to the "HD-Led/Reset/Power On/..." connectors:
Installing DDR ram without having to remove your video card is possible, although it is a tight fit:
The large space left between the Northbridge and CPU socket means we can install any heatsink on there without having to worry about it not fitting:
On to the conclusion ->