When news first broke that Abit was going to be purchased by USI earlier this year, it seemed unlikely that Abit would continue their long-running tradition of producing enthusiast level motherboards. After all, USI is a much more traditional electronics company, and enthusiast/overclocking platforms didn't seem like they would mesh well under the USI umbrella. Luckily, all this skepticism was for naught, as the newly revised Universal Abit has come out of the gate swinging, producing high-end platforms which not only cater to the high-end tweaker motherboard market they once dominated, but may very well exceed their previous boards in terms of innovation and style.
Their flagship enthusiast platforms are tagged with the "Fatality" brand name and marketed directly to high-end gamers and overclockers, featuring highly customized feature sets and layouts which won't appeal to the vast majority of buyers. Fatality boards typically carry a substantial price premium over similarly featured platforms, and are certainly not designed for the mainstream user. Their latest Fatality board is based on the Nvidia nForce 590 SLI chipset for the AMD Athlon64 X2/FX Socket-AM2 family, and is being sold under the "Fatality AN9 32X" name.
All of the motherboards which have come to market based on the nForce 590 SLI chipset thus far have all catered to the enthusiast market, as this chipset is primarily designed for high-end users. Abit has managed to throw in some interesting features to separate their board from competing solutions, including a unique heatpipe cooling solution, an independent Dolby Digital Live compliant audio riser card, and backlit red LED lighting, along with Abit's own uGuru overclocking technologies. The board's retail box is styled in a somewhat dramatic red and black, in line with other Fatality branded products. Even if you don't get overwhelmed by the Fatality name brand, (as I don't), Abit still looks like they've produced a dynamo of an AMD gaming motherboard here. Time to take a closer look.
Supports AMD Socket AM2 Processor with 2GHz system bus using Hyper Transport Technology
Supports AMD CPU Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
1 x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
1 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33 IDE Connector
3 x USB2.0 header (support 6 ports)
2 x IEEE1394 header
6 x SATA 3Gb/s connector
1 x AudioMAX slot
Back Panel I/O