975X Express Motherboard Round-Up: Foxconn, Abit, and MSI

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Abit AW9D-MAX: Specifications and Bundle


Next up we have Abit's AW9D-MAX. If you're a regular HotHardware reader, or a have simply been a hardcore PC enthusiast for any appreciable amount of time, Abit should be a company that needs no introduction. They have been producing enthusiast-class motherboards for over a decade, and although the company fell on hard times a couple of years ago, they're back on track thanks to a long-term strategic partnership with USI that was announced in January of '06.


Features and Specifications

Designed for Intel LGA775 processors with1066/800MHz FSB
Supports Intel Core 2 Duo(Extreme Edition) & Pentium Extreme Edition & Pentium D & Pentium 4 Processors
Supports Intel Hyper-Threading / XD-bit / EM64T / EIST Technology / Virtualization Technology
Intel Quad Core ready

Intel 975X / Intel ICH7R Express Chipset

4 X 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. memory capacity 8GB
Supports Dual channel DDR2 800/667 Un-buffered / Non-ECC memory

Supports Dual PCI-Express X16 slots (dual ATI CrossFire Graphics)

On-board Dual PCI-E Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000M Ethernet

abit AudioMAX HD 7.1 CH
Supports Jack Sensing and S/PDIF In/Out
Dolby Master Studio Certificated

Expansion Slots

Internal I/O Connectors
1 x Floppy port, 1 x UDMA 100/66/33 connector
7 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
2 x USB 2.0 headers, 2 x IEEE1394 headers
1 x FP-Audio header, 1 x CD-IN

Back Panel I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 Mouse
4 x USB 2.0, 2 x RJ-45 LAN
1 x eSATA

Serial ATA
ICH7R: 4 x SATA 3Gb/s supports Intel Matrix Storage SATA RAID 0/1/0+1/5
ICH7R: Support SATA AHCI, providing native command queuing and native hot plug & play
Silicon Image 3132: 4 x SATA 3Gb/s, two SATA connectors of the same area can support SATA RAID 0/1

IEEE 1394
2 ports IEEE1394a at 400 Mb/s transfer rate

abit Engineered
abit ￯﾿ᆵ￯ᄒᄒ￯ᄒᄉGuru Technology
abit AudioMAX HD 7.1 CH
abit Silent OTES 2 Technology
Quick Power & Reset Buttons
Back-light Blue LEDs
Low ESR and high ripple conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors

Form Factor
ATX form factor 305 x 245mm
PCB Color: Black & Blue



The AW9D-MAX ships with a smorgasbord of accessories in its box.  Abit includes a quick installation guide with the AW9D-MAX, two user's manuals (one for the motherboard itself and another for specific features like OC Guru, Abit EQ, Flashmenu and BlackBox RAID), a reference sticker, a driver CD, and three floppy discs with RAID drivers for the Intel and Silicon Image RAID controllers.  The AW9D-MAX also ships with an abundance of cables and connectors including seven locking SATA cables, rounded IDE and floppy cables, and an optical audio cable. A single case bracket that houses a pair of USB and a pair of Firewire ports, a custom I/O shield (vented for OTES), an AudioMAX HD 7.1 card, and interestingly enough an SLI bridge connector round-out the package.

The AudioMAX HD 7.1 is essentially a riser card equipped with Realtek's ALC882M audio codec, and all of the requisite ports. Moving the audio codec to a separate riser card serves two purposes. One, it frees up a ton of real-estate in the board's I/O backplane, and two, it isolates the audio circuitry from the motherboard to decrease the chance of electrical noise / interference.

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