ABIT AA8 DuraMAX and ASUS P5AD2 Premium- New Alderwoods From The Big Dogs

The ABIT AA8 DuraMAX Details and Specs

ABIT's AA8 DuraMAX was one of the first i925X boards we received in our test labs.  It seems ABIT has been making a big effort as of late to get to market early with products based on the latest technologies.  The occasional downside of that approach is that sometimes things aren't as stable as if you waited for technology to mature a bit more.  However, as you'll see in the pages ahead, the ABIT AA8 DuraMAX was the pinnacle of stability for us.

Specifications and Features of ABIT's AA8
Dialed in for the Overclocker
LGA775 CPU Socket
- Designed for Intel(R) 90nm Prescott LGA775 processors with 800MHz FSB
- Supports Intel Hyper-Threading Technology

Express Chipset

- Intel 925X / Intel ICH6R Express Chipset
- Supports Hi-Speed Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0)

Flexible Memory

- Four 240-pin DIMM sockets (Un-buffered Non-ECC DIMM)
- Supports dual-channel DDR2-533/400 (Max. 4GB), Up to 8.5GB/s bandwidth

PCI Express x16 graphics
- PCI Express x16 graphics delivers up to 8GB/s per direction for 3.5 times more bandwidth than AGP8X at 2.1GB/s

PCI Express x1 I/O
- PCI Express x1 I/O offers 500MB/s concurrently, over 3.5 times more bandwidth than PCI at 133MB/s

- Four ports SATA 150 RAID 0/1, deliver higher performance and data protection
- Supports SATA AHCI, providing native command queuing and native hot plug

High Definition Audio
- On-board Theater-class 7.1 Channels Intel(R) High-Definition
- Professional digital audio interface supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF In/Out

IEEE 1394
- Supports three ports IEEE 1394 at 100/200/400 Mb/s transfer rate
Gigabit LAN
- On-board GbE Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet

Internal I/O Connectors
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot
- 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
- 2 x PCI slots
- 1 x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
- 4 x SATA 150 Connectors
- 1 x Ultra ATA 100/66/33 Connector
- 2 x USB 2.0 headers
- 2 x IEEE 1394 headers
- 1 x FP-Audio header
- 1 x CD-IN

Back Panel I/O
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 Mouse
- 1 x Serial Port connector, 1 x Parallel Port connector
- 1 x Audio connector (Center/Subwoofer, Rear Surround, Surround Speaker)
- 1 x Audio connector (Line Out, Line-in, MIC-in)
- 2 x USB Connectors, 1 x IEEE 1394 Connector
- 2 x USB Connectors, 1 x RJ-45 GbE LAN Connector

- ATX form factor (305 x 245 mm)

The bundle ABIT includes with the boards is a fairly standard offering these days.  They've included a driver CD, SATA and PATA cabling, a combo USB/Firewirebackplate, and a back panel I/O cover plate.  The only things that stand out in the bundle are ABIT's fantastic user's manuals and quick install guide.  ABIT does a nice job of detailing setup and tweaking of the boards capabilities, including their OC Gurufeatures.

The board itself is configured well, with two PCI slots and three PCI Express slots for expansion, four Intel ICH6-based SATA ports that are RAID-ready, and an active heatsink cooler on the Northbridge.  Let's drop down for a closer look at the AA8.   

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