Having not reviewed any Abit motherboard in nearly a year, we were completely ecstatic when this new sample arrived in our labs. Since the AW8 utilizes Intel's new flagship Chipset, the i955X (Glenwood), we had expected to encounter some problems along the way considering all of our recent Pentium D compatible motherboards had suffered from one Linux problem or another, but there were simply no software related problems! In addition, using a stock install of FedoraCore4, all components, including the Gigabit LAN controller and Abit AudioMAX, worked without any strenuous configurations. With our standards set high, from previous stunning Abit motherboards, we're pleased to say the AW8 has now set our perception of their products even higher! We weren't able to clock the Pentium D extraordinarily high, due to air-cooling, but we were satisfied with how efficient the Silent OTES (Q-OTES) was able to cool the Northbridge and MOSFETs. However, when choosing the components for testing on these motherboards, we chose the CoolJag JAC16EC CPU cooler due to its surprisingly effective CPU cooling of the Pentium D. The JAC16EC offers a side-mounted 60mm fan that blew in the direction of the back MOSFET heatsinks as well as the heatpipe on the I/O panel. The testbed we used contained two 80mm front intake fans, two side intake fans (80 and 92mm), and one 120mm exhaust to ensure adequate airflow on all of the motherboards. It's also important to keep in mind there wasn't an incredible difference in performance between the Abit, ASUS, and ASRock motherboards with our slew of Linux benchmarking. Even though the AW8-MAX is considered Abit’s flagship product with the Intel 955X, the AW8 proves to be an exceptionally well-built motherboard for mainstream users and enthusiasts. If an onboard Firewire controller isn't necessary nor a secondary Gigabit or SATA controller, the AW8 may very well be the perfect Pentium D/Pentium 4 motherboard for you.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 9 / 10