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Socket 939 Motherboards - MSI and nVidia vs. ABIT and VIA - ABIT In The Box

Mike has served us up some AMD related content today where he compares two Socket 939 Athlon 64 motherboards. The first is the MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum which is based on nVidia's nForce3 Ultra chipset and the second is the ABIT AV8 3rd Eye which is based on VIA's K8T800 Pro chipset. We tested with an Athlon 64 FX-53 along with a whole bunch of benchmarks over a whooping 24 pages.

By: | Socket 939 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 10, 2004 4:00 am

In The Box




Much like with the MSI board, when you crack open the plastic seals of the box you will be greeted with the standard array of stuff that you have come to expect when purchasing a motherboard. Instruction manuals, driver disks, the board, and cabling are all included. What you have come to expect, you will find here. One nice addition that ABIT decided to add was a small card with the primary wiring layouts and port pinouts for the main connectors of the board. Especially useful was the layout of the enclosure headers and switches. While a small thing, it was nice to be able to grab a card and not have to rifle through the manual.


A little rant here is in order, I think. First off, this ABIT board comes with only a single IDE cable, just like the MSI board also being tested. While this didn't make a big impression on me (I was used to the concept I guess), I was amazed to see them including ribbon style cabling for the IDE drives and the floppy drive. Come on now! I fail to see the reason of creating a motherboard that caters specifically to the enthusiast crowd and then add in cheap ribbon cables. Did I miss something and not realize airflow had no meaning anymore? Even if you're going to be using SATA drives, you will still have to manage cabling for the optical devices.


While everything above is pretty common fare, there was one item included that was out of the ordinary.



It is called the Guru Clock and is where the 3rd Eye portion of the board's name comes into play. It is an external device that works in a very similar manner to the MSI CoreCenter overclocking utility. It gives you a constant monitoring of temperatures, fan speeds, voltage levels, processor speed; it even has a small digital clock in the lower right hand corner. It is a pretty innovative idea that actually works very well through the ABIT designed chip on the motherboard.



On top of the Guru Clock is a small set of three buttons. While you can use these to make your settings to the device, it is much easier to use the included utility. It allows you a much easier means to configure what is monitored and making adjustments to the settings of the Clock. It also acts as an On The Fly overclocking utility, but we'll cover that a little later.



Though the flash drowns out the display a bit, the photo above will give you an idea of what the Guru Clock looks like when it is active. Oh, and don't mind the dust. =)




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