When it comes to reviewing hardware we have to keep an open mind and we can never let our personal opinion on a company affect our judgment on the product overall. The best thing about this article is that this is what "I/WE" feel makes for the best Athlon 64 based system. ABIT have been around a long time and are definitely a company aimed at the true enthusiast.
ABIT hold the enthusiast community and for good reason. You ask an "enthusiast" what the best Athlon XP motherboard is and without a breath, they will spurt out three letters and one number - those being, "N F 7 - S". Not long ago I had the pleasure to test what has been our best Intel Pentium 4 motherboard to date, the IC7-MAX3 based on Intel's Canterwood chipset, which we reviewed here. While not the fastest at stock speeds but give a little voltage here and a bit of FSB there and we have an overclocking king. With that being our last thought on the MAX3 series from ABIT there was no doubt in our minds that the KV8-MAX3 was going to be making an appearance in this article as the key ingredient.
Let's have a look what the board offers us as far as specifications go:
Supports AMD socket 754 Athlon 64 CPU with 800 MHz FSB
CPU Integrated Memory Controller
72-bit memory controller supports DDR at 266, 333 and 400MHz (ECC)
Support 3 DIMM DDR 333
Support 2 DIMM DDR 400
Support 3 DIMM up to 2GB Max.
VIA K8T800 / VT8237 chipset
Supports Advanced Configuration and Power Management Interface (ACPI)
Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 8X/4X (0.8V/1.5V)
Supports SATA data transfer rates at 150 MB/s (1.5G bps)
2nd SATA RAID
On board SATA RAID PCI Controller
Supports 4 x SATA 150 RAID 0/1/0+1
On board 10/100/1000 Mb PCI Ethernet Controller
Supports IEEE 1394a at 100/200/400 Mb/s transfer rate
6-Channel AC 97 CODEC on board
Professional digital audio interface supports S/P DIF optical In/Out
ABIT ěGuru™ Technology
ABIT SoftMenu™ Technology to set CPU parameters
ABIT OTES™ Technology
ABIT FanEQ™ Technology
CPU ThermalGuard™ Technology
CPU TweakGuard™ Technology
Internal I/O Connectors
1 AGP 8X/4X slot, 5 PCI slots
Floppy Port supports up to 2.88 MB
2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 Connectors
6 x SATA 150 RAID Connectors
2 x USB headers, 2 x IEEE 1394a header, 2 x CD-IN
Back Panel I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
1 x S/P DIF Output, 1 x S/P DIF Input
Audio connectors (Front Speaker, Line-in, Mic-in, Center/Sub, Surround Speaker)
2 x USB, 1 x IEEE 1394a Connector
2 x USB, 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector
ATX form factor
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