As far as physical layout goes, both motherboards are almost exactly the same. You can see that the AA8 is using a 1/3/2 configuration (PCI-E 16X/PCI-E 1X/PCI) which is the same as the AG8.
One feature which stands out on the motherboards at first glance is the funky new blue Northbridge cooler. The way it's designed is that it pushes the air over the top of the Northbridge chip and moves down to cool the Southbridge. While this is a great idea the problem is as soon as you insert a PCI-E graphics card it does block the airflow.
Thanks to the new Intel ICH6 controller we have four SATA ports with the only IDE connector on the motherboard found just next to them. Just below these is a little LED display which lets you know what problems you are having if the board is refusing to boot. This feature was originally seen on the Epox boards many years ago but you can see more and more boards implementing the technology as it is a lot more precise when compared to the original beeping method.
The 3rd Eye
The 3rd Eye is the latest gadget to make its way into ABIT's line of motherboards. It is designed to give you all the information you need on they fly. While the 3rd Eye is available with both the AA8 and AG8 we only have the AA8 version here today. As far as the motherboard goes there is very little difference between them.
Looking at the back you can see the USB port which plugs straight into the motherboard which gives you all your read outs. While the 3rd Eye doesn't look bad and does serve a good purpose it does feel a little cheap and like we mentioned on the previous page the lack of back light is quite disappointing as it would of made reading the device at night or in low light a lot easier.
The picture below shows you what the clock displays best. You can see the top left gives you CPU information including your CPU Speed/OC Level. On the top right you can see your temperature on CPU/SYSTEM/PWM and VGA. The middle left shows you the fan speed on a number of different fans and below that we have the time and if you have received a MSN message.
You can see the middle right of the display shows you the voltage on CPU/DDR/AGP and more. Below that is the room temperature which a lot of people would find useful when overclocking as it is useful to know ambient temperate as opposed to case. Finally you have an Email ICON and a warning ICON to let you know when you receive an email or you are running into trouble with temperatures, voltage or fan speeds.
As far as overclocking features go on they really are second to none. With this said though we didn't have much luck overclocking as we are still currently running on stock cooling and a non engineering sample processor which allows for multiplier adjustments.
We were able to achieve a maximum stable FSB of 217MHz which as you can tell isn't much above the standard FSB of 200MHz (or 800MHz Quad Pumped). Once we kick our cooling up a notch and get a hold of our engineering sample processor (or just a processor capable of higher FSB) we will look closer into the overclocking of the processor with these motherboards as they do seem to be one of the better looking motherboards as far as the BIOS goes with options available for overclocking.
Your CPU voltage can be adjusted from 1.3875V all the way to 1.7375 in increments of .0250. DDR2 voltage can be adjusted from 1.80 to 2.25 in .05 increments. Finally you can adjust the Northbridge voltage from 1.50 to 2.05 in .05 increments. This should give the enthusiast hungry 775 user enough voltage to get the most out of their brand new system.
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