For the last year, Abit's biggest challenge has been conquering itself. Struggling with a combination of internal financial woes, corporate investigations, and a generally un-exciting product lineup, there is no doubt that the once mighty Abit has sagged as of late. Once considered a tier one motherboard maker with a keen ear to the needs of the enthusiast, Abit has lost a lot of their exciting customer base to Asus and DFI, whose product lines have simply been all-around better. Without a killer product to drive sales, and the (seemingly) inevitable corporate implosion forcing potential customers to question their long-term support, it had been originally unclear if Abit would even make it throughout 2006.
Suddenly, and unexpectedly to many, Abit merged (or more likely, was absorbed) by USI, a large-scale OEM manufacturer in Taiwan. USI has given Abit solid financial footing to build off of, but has allowed Abit to keep their existing product lines and enthusiast-driven focus. For end users, nothing appears to have changed. The "new" Abit, now under the name Universal Abit Co., is looking to re-build its customer base and foothold in the high-end / overclocking motherboard market. It's certainly an uphill battle, but many have fond memories of older Abit products, and the Abit name still remains one of the most well known throughout the motherboard industry.
While the merger was completed only a few weeks ago, we're already seeing many of Abit's new products being touted as part of the "new" Abit, even though these boards likely started in Abit's design labs months before the merger was announced. In any case, we're going to be looking at Abit's latest motherboard with a fresh perspective. We've had both positive and negative experiences with Abit in the past, but we're going to put those to the side and give this board a clean slate to start from. This is the new Abit, let's drop the old baggage and judge them on their current product offering, not on their corporate status or past products.
The new board in question is the Abit AN8 32X, which is one of only a scant few motherboards on the market produced with nVidia's high-end nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. The chipset, currently the product of choice for high-end gamers and enthusiast, has only been adopted by Asus and MSI to date. Asus's board went through a lot of initial teething issues (being the first nForce4 SLI X16 on the market), whereas MSI's board hasn't been largely accepted by the enthusiast community. Abit's board is hoping to not only deliver a more thorough feature-set, but do so at a lower price point compared to Asus and MSI.
NVIDIA SLI Technology
NV SATA-II 3Gb/s RAID
2nd SATA RAID
Internal I/O Connectors
Back Panel I/O