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Abit AW8-MAX v1.0

Michael Larabel

Published on 19 November 2005
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 12 - Comment On This Article

Unlike the Springdale and Canterwood days when Abit offered a fair portion of unique motherboards from the IS7-E to the famed IC7-MAX3, or more over the Brookdale Chipset where Abit had once offered over a dozen i845-based motherboards, the same ideals haven't held true for their i955X (Glenwood) line-up. Presently, Abit is only offering three motherboards that sport the i955X Chipset and all of these products are apart of the AW8 series (AW8, AW8-MAX, and AW8-MAX 3rd Eye 2). However, Abit's product line-up is likely to change greatly upon the availability of Intel's upcoming i975X, which should address some new features as well as bringing a hefty performance boost to the table. Unlike some manufacturers where there are not many variations between models, a second Gigabit ethernet port, OC Strips, IEEE-1394b/a (Firewire) support, and a second SATA2 controller primarily separate the AW8 and AW8-MAX. On the other hand, the AW8-MAX 3rd Eye 2 simply combines an Abit Guru Clock for external monitoring purposes. After experiencing the joys of the AW8 when we had reviewed it this past August, thanks in part to its terrific build-quality and competitive level of performance (in addition to its Linux compatibility), we have decided to bring back the Abit AW8 series to Phoronix and accompanying us today is the Abit AW8-MAX. Just how well does this AW8-MAX motherboard perform and compare to the original AW8? We will find out today how the two motherboards compare, but before we begin, here are its official specifications and features.

Features:

Processor
· Supports Socket 775 for Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 EE / Pentium D / Pentium XE / Celeron D processors
· Supports 1066/800MHz FSB
· Supports Intel Hyper-Threading / XD-bit / EM64T / EIST Technology

Chipset
· Intel 955X / Intel ICH7R Express Chipset

Memory
· Four 240-pin DIMM sockets
· Supports Dual channel DDR2-800/667/533 Un-buffered Non-ECC memory
· Supports maximum memory capacity up to 8GB

PCI-E Gigabit LAN
· On board Dual PCI-E Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet

SATAII 3G RAID
· Intel Matrix Storage Technology supports RAID 0/1/5/10
· Supports SATA AHCI, providing native command queuing and native hot plug

2nd PCIE SATA 3G
· On board Silicon Image PCIE SATA 3G RAID controller

Audio (Dolby Master Studio support)
· ABIT AudioMAX HD 7.1 channels Intel High Definition Audio with Dolby Master Studio
· Supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF In/Out

IEEE 1394
· Supports 2 Ports IEEE 1394b at 800 Mb/s transfer rate and 1 port 1394a

ABIT Engineered
· ABIT uGuru 2005 Technology (ABIT OC Guru / ABIT EQ / ABIT Flash Menu / ABIT Black Box)
· ABIT CPU ThermalGuard Technology
· ABIT AudioMAX HD 7.1 Technology

Contents:

Unpacking the AW8-MAX from its artistic-filled cardboard container, we were greeted with much of the same components as the non-MAX variant with the exception of course being an additional two SATA cables, and Firewire/USB expansion bracket. Thus all of the contents include the actual Abit AW8-MAX motherboard, expansion bracket with 2 x USB2.0 and 2 x IEEE-1394 (Firewire) ports, six SATA cables, AudioMAX daughter sound card, rounded IDE cable, rounded floppy cable, two SATA power adapters, and motherboard documentation with software (including uGuru). What is interesting to note is that the packaging methodology is slightly different from the AW8 and previous Abit products. Rather than simply having the motherboard housed inside of a large anti-static bag and in turn housed inside of Abit's cardboard packaging, the AW8-MAX and AudioMAX card were housed independently inside of a large cardboard container, which was wrapped in cellophane. As expected, everything had arrived safely and was in pristine condition.


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