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Life in the Fast Lane: New Boards for the Athlon 64

Abit AX8

Board Revision: 1.0

BIOS Version: 1.0

The second Abit mainboard is based on VIA's K8T890 chipset, and represents the PCI Express counterpart to the K8T800 Pro. Compared to the nForce4, the VIA chip has slightly fewer features: it has eight rather than ten USB ports, and two instead of four SATA ports. The maker has dispensed with the OTES cooling too here. A IP1000A from IC+ serves as network chip for Gigabit Ethernet. Abit makes up for the shortfall in SATA ports with a VIA controller (VT6421), which certainly comes cheap from the manufacturer bundled with the chipsets. A FireWire chip of the same make is also included on board.

If you want to use more than two PCI cards you're out of luck, as that is your limit on the Abit board. There are three x1 PCIe slots though, to compensate somewhat. The other features match those of the Fatal1ty more or less: colored plug-ins, µGuru, debug functions, and high-grade overclocking.

Abit sets great stock on digital interfaces for the sound system.

Via's VT8237 unfortunately has only two SATA ports. As compensation, Abit has added an extra controller from VIA.

The delivery package is abundant. There is no additional software, however.