abit was the top manufacturer of enthusiast level boards a few short years ago, but after they expanded into areas where they didn't have the manufacturing expertise or cost advantages to compete with the larger tier one manufacturers they fell on hard times. As a result, abit lost market share as well as mind share. Fortunately, abit entered into a long-term partnership with USI that saved the company. With that save came a name change, Universal abit is the successor to the Abit motherboard brand name. Since the merger, the company has tried to rekindle their former leadership in the computer enthusiast, extreme overclocker, and high performance markets.

The first wave of products in the summer of 2006 from Universal abit was interesting to say the least. In some cases like the abit AW9D-MAX they released a top performer that reminded us of the old Abit; in other areas, however, we found boards like the ABP9 Pro represented a crossroads in abit's new product launch. This board held great promise in our early looks, but it quickly turned into disappointment at launch and then finally redeemed itself near the end of its product cycle. However, this series almost spelled doom for the new Universal abit as it only reinforced problems that users had grown tired of in the last year of Abit's existence.


abit took tremendous criticism for the AB9's poor layout and early BIOS issues when the product launched. It was not feasible to alter the layout after the product launch, but they solved most of the initial performance and compatibility issues after several BIOS releases. After listening to the loud chorus of boos, abit did something that most motherboard companies do not; they addressed the majority of complainants with the AB9 Pro board by introducing a mid-life product update. Thus the abit AB9 QuadGT was born and it most definitely addressed the layout, component selection, feature set, and BIOS options that dogged the AB9 Pro.

Sadly, the BIOS engineering and quality assurance groups did not make the same headway, and the QuadGT board again experienced nagging BIOS problems for numerous weeks after the initial launch. It seemed as if the ghosts of Abit's past were determined to see the new abit fail. It was with great apprehension that we awaited the release of their P35 boards. Would this series of motherboards continue the downward spiral of being late to market with severe BIOS problems like the previous product launches, or would the new Universal abit finally have products that would capture the minds and hearts of the enthusiast community once again?

Fortunately for abit's remaining customers (and us), they succeeded in delivering an entire series of P35 motherboards that make amends for the past. These boards are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they do show that abit is finally back to delivering products that target certain market sectors and have the features and performance to back it up. With that said, let's look today at the IP35-Pro feature set and performance results.
abit IP35-Pro: Board Layout and Features
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  • crimson117 - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    And if http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...">this is the fix, then it's even more complicated than I had expected!

    Personally, I would RMA a board with this sort of defect present.
    Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    I love how these pro boards rarely have Firewire800. It's really a shame that others did not jump on the Gigabyte bandwagon a few years back when they started putting it on their high-end boards. If I remember correctly, they were cheaper than the current crop as well.

    Of course, I will wager that someone will say that people should use eSATA instead. There are only a few enclosures that have both FW and eSATA, and eSATA is not available on most PC's, and no Macs that I have seen have a eSATA port. I'm not even sure if you can daisy chain eSATA, and I like the FW800 connector better (feels more sturdy). Recently, I looked around for an enclosure to replace one of my old trusty FW400/USB2 enclosures with built in power supply. I ended up not finding the one I wanted, and was very sad, as my requirements were not great.

    1. FW800
    2. eSATA
    3. USB2
    4. 5 1/4" drive capacity
    5. Built in AC/DC converter (no bricks)
    6. Fan if neceaary, I don't care as this is a service drive, not involved with audio

    The closest I could get was a NewerTechnology MiniStack V3 from eshop.macsales.com.

    1. FW800
    2. eSATA
    3. USB2, including hub
    4. 3.5 inch drives only
    5. fan
    6. Stupid brick power supply

    It cost me $120 empty. It's a great enclosure, meant for stacking under a Mac Mini (and would be awesome for that, though I personally have no mini). There were also the mercury series from OWC at that store, but none had the built in PS, so I figured at that point who cares about 5 1/4.

    The end result is that I tried it for a week. It now stays at home. While I used it, I got insane speeds when backing up customer systems over FW800 (Macs doing CarbonCopyCloner clones in a flash, despite the clones being around 30GB. USB2 was as expected (kind of lame), and FW400 was acceptable (but a downer after FW800). For anyone who is interested, the drive I put in it was a Seagate 320 SATA with the crazy SCSI-sized jumper removed. I never got to use eSATA, as I have found no systems that have the port, except one production server that I am not going to test on. I'm sure it's nice and fast.

    Of course, with all the back and forth, carrying a brick around is annoying, when previously all I needed to carry was a firewire or usb cable. Of course, this has nothing to do with Abit's board, except that if more boards were made that included FW800, more varieties of enclosures would be available, and someone would make my above list come true.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    I have always been disappointed with the lack of Firewire 800 on the upper end boards but it appears the users requesting it are in a very small minority (which includes me) according to the suppliers. We do have USB 3.0 and Firewire 1600 to look forward late next year. :) Reply
  • sheared - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    It should be noted that the Abit forums are, while not full, scattered with threads regarding incompatibilities between this MB and various PSU's. For now at least, you should be careful to select a PSU from a manufacturer that is known to work with the board. I selected a Seasonic thinking that a good, reputable manufacture such as that would have no issues. Wrong. POST code 8.2.

    Just be careful in the selection, and you'll do fine with this board.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    PSU-

    We tried everything from a Seasonic S12 II 430W to the OCZ 1000w without a problems including a couple of "inexpensive" 500w power supplies out of generic cases without a problem. We tried to recreate some of the problems that users have noticed and could not with three different boards.
    Reply
  • feraltoad - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    My X-fi xtreme music works great fortunately, it didn't crackle in my old Asrock DualSATA2 which some people reported as being a problem.

    I have a ZerDBA psu that works fine and a WD5000AAKS & WD3200KS & 36gb Raptor that works great, no raid though.

    I've been very happy with the ip35 pro. I think editors choice is very well warranted. I use the uGuru program to OC in windows! How often can you OC in windows and have it be stable?

    My heatsinks were OK, but I have heard some problems but the fix is super easy. Just replace the plastic pushpins in the sinks with bolts. That's an easy fix, sure you shouldn't have to paying that much for a mobo and they need to fix it, but if I had to saddled with a problem and I'm a pessimist(read: realist) and expect things to go bad I would rather have a problem that I can easily fix myself. So really it's a pessimist dream come true even if it comes out as the worse case scenario!

    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    there are also scattered reports of the larger Raptor HDDs not working under certain circumstances with these boards, as well WD SE16 HDD issues(mainly with RAID I think), and possible X-FI incompatibilities.

    ABITs forums though is one good example as to why their products still sold well, despite for having a 'bad rep' compared to other companies. Its these Forums that helps ABIT customers solve, and potential avoid issues with any given product.

    For what it is worth, I have read about certain Seasonic PSUs being an issue with these boards, but the PSU I am using; an Antec EA500(EarthWATTS 500) *is* supposed to be built by Seasonic as well . . . it also works very well. However, I am also using the IP35-E, not the Pro.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 01, 2007 - link

    that it is about time you guys did a write up of this board, but I am mystified as to why you guy did not mention the IP35-E(the IP35 Pros 'little brother'). Sure it does not have all the bells and whistles, but on an extreme budget, the IP35-E is very hard to beat.

    My IP35-E is running an E6550 @ 3.33Ghz with stock cooling and stock voltages, and 100% stable for the last 1.5 weeks or so. Just being able to drop the FSB:DRAM ratio to 1:1, bumping up the MCH one notch, and setting the external clock to 475Mhz makes for very simple overclocking. I have a very hard time imagining any other board being easier than this when overclocking. All this, and superb functionality(everything worked straight out of the box) without updating the BIOS. I can imagine never updating the BIOS, the functionality for me is that good.

    Now if I could only fit a thermalright cooler into my case, I would be in 'hog heaven'.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    quote:

    that it is about time you guys did a write up of this board, but I am mystified as to why you guy did not mention the IP35-E(the IP35 Pros 'little brother'). Sure it does not have all the bells and whistles, but on an extreme budget, the IP35-E is very hard to beat.


    abit did not supply the IP35-E for review, but we bought one anyway and will show it against the MSI NEO2 and DFI Bloodiron shortly.
    Reply

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