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ABIT AW9D-MAX Motherboard - Core 2's new Best Friend? (Page 4)

By Cameron Johnson | Oct 3, 2006 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Universal ABIT

The Motherboard

ABIT is back in style with this board - it comes in a full ATX size on a black PCB with a lot of black and white contrasts which are quite appealing to the eye.

On placement of connectors, ABIT has done a good job, with only 1 slight no-no. The 24-pin ATX power connector is located behind the 4 DIMM sockets just above the single IDE connector that is controlled by the Southbridge. The 8-pin EPS12V connector is located above the 4 DIMM sockets, a very good place to keep this bulky cable.

The main gripe is the placement of the FDD connector at the bottom of the board just below 2 of the extra SATA ports that are controlled by 1 of the 2 Silicon Image 3132 RAID chips.

ABIT's choice of power and cooling is a so-so affair. First off you have a 4 phase power regulation system to provide power to the CPU. While this is enough for the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme, the Pentium 4, Pentium D and Pentium Extreme and possibly the upcoming Core 2 Quad processors might find this a bit constricting when it comes to overclocking. ABIT has placed cooling on its Mosfets around the CPU as well as a new Silent OTES 2 cooling solution that covers the Northbridge, Southbridge and the additional voltage regulators. The cooling system is quite effective and looks very attractive but most importantly, it is silent.

ABIT's rear I/O ports are extremely limited but are enough to get you going - the "MAX" range of motherboard are designed for gamers and overclockers, so they do cut out a lot of the sometimes unnecessary ports and plugs.

On the back there is a single e.SATA port which is controlled by one of the two Silicon Image 3132 chips, there is also a SATA port behind this on the board that is also run off the same chip as the e.SATA port and beside that is the PS/2 port stack. Lastly we have a couple USB towers with two ports per tower and a single RJ-45 port on top of each tower. These Gigabit LAN ports run off two Realtek PCI Express chips.

Since the motherboard is based around the Intel 975X chipset, you have support for full performance ATI Crossfire dual graphics. ABIT has also changed their capacitors in recent times to full solid state which promises to offer increased life time of the motherboard and that's bound to help you considering you will most likely be overclocking. Along with that you've also got quick power and reset buttons on that motherboard which stops you having to short out jumpers with a screw driver and there is a debug LED which let's you know what is happening if you have problems with the board.

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