Abit's Fatal1ty AA8XE

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Over the years, Abit has cultivated a well deserved reputation for building some of the most overclockable, and feature rich motherboards available.  So, anytime a new core-logic chipset is released, knowledgeable enthusiasts inevitably wonder what Abit has in store.  Abit tends to incorporate features that make their motherboards stand out among the competition.  Usually they are extremely "overclocker friendly", or in some cases, Abit will innovate and try something new before most other motherboard manufactures are ready to test the waters.

Abit took a bold step in 2002 with their IT7 and AT7 "MAX" motherboards, that did away with legacy serial, parallel, and PS/2 connectors, but included a "Media XP" adapter to install in a 5.25" drive bay and gave users access to front mounted USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 ports and a wireless remote control.  And with the IC7-MAX3, released about a year later, Abit incorporated an exhaust fan that helped cool the board's power array.  Today, Abit has a new line of motherboards endorsed by world-class gamer Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel that are both aesthetically pleasing and designed with overclocking and stability in mind.  The first "Fatal1ty" branded board to arrive in the HotHardware labs is the Fatal1ty AA8XE.  The AA8XE is based upon Intel's i925XE chipset which officially supports front side bus speeds as high at 1066MHz, DDR2 RAM, and incorporates Gigabit Ethernet, Hi-Definition Audio, and RAID functionality, as well as other useful features.  This board also has a rather unique cooling apparatus installed on the VRM, and is equipped with heatsinks on both the Northbridge and Southbrige.  Abit has a few other surprises on tap with the AA8XE as well...

  

Specifications & Features of The Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE
Built For Overclockers, By Overclockers
Processor
_Designed for Intel 90nm Pentium 4 LGA775 processors
_Supports 1066/800MHz FSB
_Supports Intel Hyper-Threading Technology

Chipset
_Intel 925XE/Intel ICH6R Express Chipset

Memory
_Four 240-pin DIMM sockets
_Supports Dual channel DDR2 533/400 Unbuffered Non-ECC memory
_Supports maximum memory capacity up to 4GB

ABIT Engineered
_ABIT uGuru Technology
_ABIT CPU Accelerator Technology
_ABIT ThermalGuard Technology
_ABIT TweakGuard Technology
_ABIT Dual OTES Technology
_ABIT OC Strips Technology
_ABIT MOSFET Thermal Solution
_ABIT OTES AeroFlow Technology
_ABIT OTES RAMFlow Technology
_ABIT AudioMAX Technology with Dolby Digital Live Support
_ABIT On-board ultra-bright LEDs
_ABIT Bold Design color management system for easy installation
_ABIT Guru peripheral product link
_Guru Clock: refer to Guru Clock SPEC (Optional)
_Guru Game panel: CMOS reset button/USB 2.0/1394/SATA/Audio IO/Large LCD at front side (Optional)

PCI-E X16 graphic
_Delivers up to 8GB/s per direction for 3.5 times more bandwidth than AGP8X

SATA RAID
_Intel Matrix Storage Technology supports 4 ports SATA 150 RAID 0/1
_Supports SATA AHCI, providing native command queuing & native hot plug

Dual LAN
_Intel Gigabit LAN
_Intel 10/100Mbps LAN

IEEE1394
_Supports 3 Ports IEEE 1394 at 100/200/400Mb/s transfer rate

Audio (Dolby Digital Live support)
_On board 7.1 channels Intel High Definition Audio CODEC
_Supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF In/Out

Dimension
_ATX form factor 305 x 245mm
Internal I/O Connectors
_1 x PCI-E X16 slot
_2 x PCI-E X1 slots
_2 x PCI slots
_1 x Audio daughter card port
_1 x Floppy port
_1 x UDMA 100/66/33 connector
_4 x SATA 150 connectors
_2 x USB 2.0 headers
_2 x IEEE1394 headers

Back Panel I/O
_ABIT Dual OTES
_1 x PS/2 keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
_1 x IEEE1394
_4 x USB 2.0
_1 x RJ-45 LAN (Gigabit), 1 x RJ-45 LAN (10/100)
_1 x BP-Audio (S/P DIF in/out, Line Out, Line-in, MIC-in, Center/Subwoofer, Rear Surround, Surround Speaker)

ABIT Guru Panel I/O (Option)
_2 x USB 2.0
_1 x IEEE 1394
_1 x Headphone
_1 x Microphone
_SATA power/connector
_CMOS reset button with safety cover
_Guru LCD display
_Easy OC button

Packaging Content
_1 x 7.1 channels Intel HD audio daughter card
_1 x Back I/O shield
_4 x SATA signal cables
_1 x Rounded ATA 100 cable
_1 x Rounded floppy cable
_1 x ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Owner's Manual
_1 x ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Multilingual QIG
_1 x ABIT uGuru User's Manual
_1 x ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Installation CD
_1 x SATA RAID Driver Disk
_1 x ABIT Case Badge
_1 x Jumper Setting Label
_1 x 2 ports USB2.0 + 2 ports IEEE194 Cable
_1 x SATA Power cable

 


   

   

Abit includes an elaborate assortment of accessories, cables and literature with the Fatal1ty AA8XE.  Included with the board itself, we found three different user's manuals that outline the installation, features, and RAID functionality of the AA8XE, along with two "Quick Reference" sheets, a note from Johnathan Wendel, an Abit case badge, and a sticker that highlights all of the AA8XE's major components.  Also included with the board was a USB/Firewire case bracket with a pair of connectors for both, four red SATA cables, a single 4-pin Molex-to-SATA power adapter, an optical audio cable, two rounded cables (IDE and Floppy), and a custom I/O shield.  On top of this adequate batch of accessories, Abit also included two items that aren't quite as common.

The Fatal1ty AA8XE's integrated 7.1 channel Intel Hi-Definition audio, which also supports Dolby Digital Live, is complimented by a mini, daughter card that houses all of the audio inputs and outputs, including S/PDIF and optical connectors.  Abit alleges that having these connectors on a separate PCB reduces electrical noise, but the actual codec still resides on the motherboard, so the noise reduction probably isn't all that drastic.  Also accompanying the AA8XE was Abit's new "OTES RAMflow" cooler.  The OTES RAMflow apparatus is clipped to the DIMM slots, and helps to cool the system memory installed in the board.  We applaud the concept, but not this particular implementation.  The spring clips that hold the OTES RAMflow in place are quite firm, and can be tough to install.  And the fan header for the OTES RAMflow is clear across the motherboard.  Abit needs to incorporate another fan header adjacent to the DIMM slots in future revisions of the AA8XE, and may want to devise another method for mounting the RAMflow.

Tags:  Fatal1ty, AA, Abit, TAL, A8X

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