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VIA K8T800 Performance Motherboard Shootout - Gigabyte, MSI and ABIT

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Dec 29, 2003 5:00 am

Features of the ABIT KV8 MAX3


The KV8 MAX3 was first seen in our Athlon 64 Performance PC and was chosen for this particular performance roundup due to its great looks and reputation that the ABIT MAX series carries.


- Package


The box the motherboard comes packed in looks fantastic and once you open it up all the included bits and pieces fit very snug with nothing at all out of place.


You are greeted with two small boxes which contain everything you need: USB 2.0 and Firewire headers, rounded parallel ATA cables, many Serial ATA cables, Serial ATA power converters, driver and utility CD, Serial ATA drivers on floppy disk and lots of manuals covering everything about the motherboard.


In the other box you find the Secure IDE device that is designed to add a new level of security to your Parallel ATA drives. Your IDE cables goes through a daughter board and a back plate is connected to it which runs to the back of your case. From there a key sits in the back and if this isn't plugged in the hard drive can not be detected. You can't simply remove the daughter board because you still won't be able to see the hard drive.


Editor's Note: We're guessing the FBI's newest worst enemy!


This motherboard does not have all the fancy colors like the other two in this roundup. It has white PCI slots, a brown AGP slot, black memory banks and a dull colored PCB. When you finally get around to setting the motherboard up it comes alive with multiple red LED's inserted in the OTES cooling system (which we will talk about soon) to give it that extra bit of color.



Like the other motherboards, ABIT uses a 5/1 combination. With thanks to the Northbridge being out of the way, they have been able to lift the AGP slot so that you don't loose any of your PCI slots when using a video card that takes up a PCI slot.


The main 12V connecter is placed closer to the socket and this causes you to have to place the main cable across the top of the CPU heatsink. If you don't place it right it can become quite annoying and cover some of the heatsink not letting the processor get the maximum amount of air flow it would normally receive. The extra 4 pin plug is tucked neatly next to the main connector so both cables are as close to the processor giving the most direct route of power.



Like the Gigabyte motherboard, ABIT has opted to use a heatsink with fan compared to the passive heatsink found on the MSI motherboard. This is definitely a better option for people even if it does only make a small difference. One main thing that will stand out is the OTES cooling system as we mentioned briefly above.




OTES would have to be one of the biggest features on this motherboard. It simply works by pulling the heat away from all the capacitors to help give the maximum overclock on your motherboard. Secure IDE, while not a direct motherboard feature, is definitely something worth looking at. Considering this motherboard is heavily focused on Serial ATA, it is quite disappointing to find that this adapter is for Parallel ATA hard drives only. We look forward to a change.


One excellent feature on this particular motherboard is the LED numbering system that helps determine particular errors, just like the system from EPoX. Instead of being limited to just "beeps", you now have a huge amount of combinations including numbers and letters to help be more precise on error codes. This helps when troubleshooting problems and can cut down the overall time it takes to fix any issues that you may be having.



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