There still isn’t a Canterwood I would buy quite yet.
They’ve all run into some sort of problem.
Right now, the best place to go to see how the Canterwood pioneers are doing is over at the Asusboards.com Forums.
The FSB Hole
The motherboards that use an AMI Bios (most particularly the Asus P4C800 Deluxe) are running into a problem that’s been called the “FSB Hole.”
What this means is that in a range from about 165 to around 200MHz FSB, motherboards will either not boot, or not work stably. It’s not a matter of CPU or RAM, because people who were able to run at considerably higher FSBs with older boards have run into this problem.
This is not something you want to have with a 133MHz FSB CPU.
Fix One Thing, Break Another
The Abit IC7 has gotten quite a bit of attention as a potential good, (i.e. cheap) Canterwood mobo, but a few problems have recently emerged.
This motherboard initially had the pronounced tendency of telling you what your RAM settings would be rather than the other way around (something these boards seem to like to do).
While there were workarounds, they weren’t exactly intuitive (i.e., “Set the N/B strap to the lowest speed possible.”)
Abit said it would revise the BIOS, and they did, but then the SATA RAID stopped working (or worked intermittedly) with the new BIOS.
This may or may not be related to the announcement by ExcaliberPC.com that the board was not compatible with the (available) Serillel-1 KIt (an ATA-to-SATA adapter), but only with the (unavailable) Serillel-2 kit.
An Unresponsive Hole
The IC7 also has another interesting “feature.” Many Canterwood boards have a Gigabit Ethernet connection. The barebones IC7 does not.
Instead, the IC7 takes the concept of barebones to new heights by giving you a RJ45 socket.
It isn’t connected to anything. Guaranteed zero error transmission rate. 🙂
Some early reviews of the MSI Neo-LSR called it a gutsy overclockers’ board. I gotta admit, it took guts (if not something located a bit lower) to let this out the door.
I have occasionally thought aloud that what a few overclockers really needed was a mobo that said that it was overclocking a ton rather than actually doing it. No need to upgrade frequently, just change what the machine said it was doing.
I never actually thought I’d see someone actually do it, though. Until now.
With version 1.1 and 1.2 of the board’s BIOS, you change the FSB in BIOS, and the BIOS screen tells you what you want to hear, but that’s it. It doesn’t actually CHANGE the FSB.
Now overclockers might not like this feature, but trust me, this is a very good feature for this motherboard to have. Otherwise, you really need to be a gutsy overclocker to own this board because it seems to be developing the habit of spilling its guts.
And it just doesn’t do self-destruction. It can be a suicide bomber (see comments from “Daver” taking out other equipment, too).
And if you bought a Springdale board from this company instead, don’t feel left out. You, too, can join in on the fun (see comments from oldfart).
Having had my own MSI fire a few years back, I can relate to this.
All these boards tend to be at least a little finicky about memory. Not any old bargain basement stuff, either, top-of-the-line high-end stuff.
It Is Still Pioneer Days
I don’t doubt many of these problems will get fixed within a fairly short period of time. They just aren’t right now. Wait until they do.
If you want to be a pioneer, fine, just realize that that is what you’ll be for the moment with these boards.