Fatal1ty AN8 SLI: BIOS & Overclocking
In typical Abit fashion, they did an excellent job with the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI's BIOS. They've incorporated all of the tools necessary to tweak performance and overclock a system, along with some additional features that make it extremely easy to monitor numerous aspects of the hardware.
The standard BIOS menus house all of the common tools necessary to enable, disable or tweak all of the Fatal1ty AN8's on-board peripherals. Most of these menus look just like most other motherboards that are equipped with a Phoenix / Award BIOS derivative. There is one area in the BIOS that stands out amongst the competition though, the uGuru Utility menu.
There are a ton of user-modifiable options available in the uGuru section of the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI's BIOS, hence the large number of screenshots above. As you can see, the uGuru menu - or more specifically the OC Guru menu - is home to all of the board's overclocking related tools, which are quite extensive.
The external clock (which some of you may think of as the "FSB" speed) can be set as high as 410MHz, in 1MHz increments, and PCIe clock speeds as high as 145MHz are available as well. Multipliers as low as 6.5 are available with appropriate processors, and there are a full array of adjustable voltages with good granularity too. The CPU core voltage can be increased up to 1.8v, the memory voltage can be brought all the way up to 3.25v, and the DDR VTT voltage up to 1.75v. Chipset and HyperTransport voltages can also be increased to 1.8v and 1.35v, respectively. On top of the already extensive number of voltage choices available, Abit also incorporated a sort of "voltage offset" feature into the BIOS that'll allow for some insanely high CPU and Memory voltages.
Also in the uGuru menu, is the Abit EQ section of the BIOS. The Abit EQ menu is home to all of the board's hardware monitoring data. There is a slew of option available here; too much to list. Basically, if there's a component on-board that generates heat and has voltage running to it, Abit EQ is monitoring it. Don't believe us? Check out the pics.
As we've come to expect from Abit, the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI was a very adept overclocker. To test the board's "overclockability", we set out to see just how far we could push the ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 SLI while keeping the system stable. We should mention that all of the overclocking tests were performed using a stock AMD copper / aluminum heatsink and fan combo in an open air environment. With more exotic cooling, our overclocking results would likely have been different. Keep that in mind, as your mileage may vary as well.
We bumped the CPU voltage to 1.7v and the memory voltage to 2.85v and gave all of the other on-board peripherals a .1v bump, for good measure. Then we dropped the CPU multiplier and lowered the speed of the HT link, and raised the processor's external clock speed until the test system was no longer stable. In the end, we hit a maximum stable HT speed of 310MHz. The Fatal1ty AN8 SLI actually booted with higher external clock speeds, but we couldn't stabilize Windows until we dropped things back down to 310MHz. We also focused on overclocking just our CPU itself and found that this board had no trouble hitting the same 2.6GHz+ speeds we had attained with this particular CPU when we first tested it.