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Conclusion and Thoughts
The AW8 is a good motherboard for those who wish to go the Intel route. The AW8 sample I received was not the most feature rich, however the AW8-MAX version does come with all the kicks for the enthusiasts who need it. If you do not need all the extra features, then the AW8 would suffice. The motherboard's Silent OTES does a great job of cooling the 955X Northbridge. It is passive so there are no moving parts and that is a huge plus for enthusiasts who look for silent computers. There are other boards out there like the P5WD2 that also comes with passive cooling solutions, but the heatsinks are rather small and get warmed under full load. The overclocking options and headroom of the AW8 is magnificent. The board overclocked so well that it maxed out what my CPU's GHz can handle. Abit's reputation of making great overclocking motherboards is definitely shown through the AW8. With all the greatness of the AW8, there are also the weaknesses that might turn off an enthusiast. My main personal gripe would be the lack of a working 1:2 divider. This means that enthusiasts won't be able to fully take advantage of their blazing fast DDR2 memory. The other disappointment would probably be the slower performance when compared to leading competitors. The AW8 consistently scored lower in the majority of benchmarks tested here today. While the difference may not seem all that big, the memory controller performance of the AW8 is lacking. The Everest Home Edition benchmark was the AW8's kryptonite. It performed horrendously. One benchmark may not really mean anything, but the difference gap was so big that it was quite shocking. This can only mean one thing again. Abit, we need a new BIOS!
Overall, I found the Abit AW8 to be a good board and a good recommendation. Abit fans will be happy to know that their flagship Intel motherboard is not a big flop. It just needs a better working BIOS to fully release the motherboard's potential.
We would like to thank Abit for providing us the sample. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit us up in the forums. You can also check out more of our latest reviews on the front page.