Abit AW8 - Page 4

Written by John Chen    Sunday, 28 August 2005 11:00
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Motherboard Layout Continued

Intel LGA775 processors are known for putting out some outrageous heat, especially when overclocked.  It's a good thing that the AW8 comes with a spacious CPU socket area.  This means that large aftermarket coolers can be used without any compatibility issues.  The Silent OTES heatpipe may look like it would cause an issue when using a large cooler, but it did not, at least not with the big coolers I've used.  The MOSFET's around the CPU area are also passively cooled with aluminum heatsinks. 

The AW8 comes with the usual assortment of slots for your add-on cards.  The 955X chipset does not have SLI capability, so there is only one PCI-E x16 slot for your video card.  Below the PCI-E x16 slot are two PCI-E x1 slots and below that are the regular PCI slots.  At the very bottom is a slot dedicated for Abit's daughter sound card called AudioMAX.  Instead of implementing the audio codec on the motherboard itself, Abit makes a separate sound card to reduce electrical interference and static noise.  At the right corner of the motherboard is the front I/O connections.  The pins are nicely color coded and labeled so that reference to a user manual is unnecessary.  For enthusiasts who want to make the optional purchase of the uGuru clock or use a uGuru panel, the row of four red pins is where the connection is made.  To the left of the front I/O is the onboard diagnostic LED, which I find to be rather useful during overclocking.  If the codes stop flashing and alternating, you know your overclock failed.

Abit AudioMAX:

The audio daughter card provides 7.1 channel surround sound.  The sound card is powered by Realtek's ALC882M audio codec and uses a fiery red PCB, resembling the likes of the Fatal1ty line.  Realtek's audio solutions are not the greatest, but it's certainly not bad either.  If you're not an extreme audiophile who have ears like a rabbit, the Realtek onboard solution is more than enough.  It works perfectly fine for my daily dose of music and games.