The BIOS & Overclocking
In a move typical of ABIT, the Fatal1ty AA8XE is equipped with a Phoenix / Award BIOS derivative that is fully loaded with options for tweaking performance and managing all of the motherboard integrated peripherals and features...
Looking at all of the Fatal1ty's BIOS menus, it's east to see why ABIT has built a reputation for configuring its motherboards with some of the most complete BIOSes in the industry. The standard BIOS menus listed above offer all of the tools necessary to enable, disable, or tweak all of the AA8XE's integrated peripherals, but it's in the uGuru Utility menu where all of the hardcore overclocking options are made available...
The uGuru Utility is where you'll find all of the Fatal1ty AA8XE's overclocking tools, which are quite extensive. In the uGuru Utility menu, users can manually adjust bus speeds, RAM dividers, the PCI Express clock and a slew of voltages. The PCI Express clock and PCI clocks can be configured independently, and the DDR clock can be set for 400MHz, 533MHz or 600MHz operation. Front side bus frequencies as high as 400MHz are available, in 1MHz increments, and the CPU, DDR, Northbridge, and FSB and DDR VTT voltages are all user configurable as well.
The Fatal1ty AA8XE's BIOS also gives user's control over all five of the board's thermally-controlled fan headers and it has a slew of hardware monitoring options built-in too. This board has one of the most complete BIOSes we've every worked with. And if you prefer to stay out of the BIOS, all of the AA8XE's overclocking and monitoring tools are available from within Windows as well. When using the included AbitEQ / uGuru software packages users can overclock and keep tabs on temperatures and voltages without even entering the BIOS.
Armed with all of the Fatal1ty's overclocking tools and a Pentium 4 560 ES, we set out to see just how high we could overclock with the AA8XE. With our processor's multiplier dropped to 14 (the lowest multiplier available), we were able to hit an impressive 284MHz FSB, for a final clock speed of 3976MHz. This was achieved with a .25v bump in CPU voltage and the DDR2 voltage set to 2.0v. The PCI Express and PCI clocks were locked at 100MHz / 33.3MHz. This happens to be the highest clock speed we have ever hit with this particular CPU using standard air cooling. And we suspect the AA8XE would have absolutely no trouble hitting even higher front side bus speeds with a more overclockable processor. Intel overclockers will not be disappointed by the tools offered by the Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE.