NF4 Ultra Shoot-Out: Abit vs. MSI vs. ECS

Abit Fatal1ty AN8: Specifications & Bundle

The Fatal1ty AN8 is the Socket 939, nForce 4 Ultra based counterpart to the original Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE which was for single-core LGA775 Intel processors. When we reviewed the Fatal1ty AA8XE back in February, we were impressed by its performance, and especially liked the hardware monitoring and overclocking capabilities incorporated into the board. In fact, we gave the AA8XE an Editor's choice award. But, because the Fatal1ty line was targeted squarely at hardcore gamers, at the time we were left wondering when Abit would make a Fatal1ty board for AMD processors. Since then though, Abit has expanded their line of Fatal1ty motherboards, and now has a few Fatal1ty motherboard available for AMD fans.


Specifications of the Abit Fatal1ty AN8
Abit's Take on the NF4

_AMD Athlon 64/64FX & Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 939-pin K8 CPU
_2GHz system bus using Hyper Transport Technology
_AMD CPU Cool 'n' Quiet Technology

_Four 184-pin DIMM sockets
_Support 4 DIMM Dual DDR 400/333/266 non-ECC memory
_Support 4 DIMM up to 4GB Max.

_NVIDIA NF4 Ultra single chip
_Integrated NV Gigabit Ethernet and NV Firewall

_Supports SATA 3Gbps data transfer rate

_NVIDIA Gigabit Ethernet via NF4 Ultra

NV Firewall
_Native NVIDIA Firewall via NF4 Ultra

_Support IEEE 1394 at 400/200/100 Mb/s transfer rate

_ATX form factor 305 * 245mm

_5.1-channel Audio Card
_Optical S/P DIF In/Out

Internal I/O Connectors
_1 PCI-E X16 slot, 2 PCI-Express X1 slots
_3 PCI slots, 1 x ABIT Audio slot
_1 x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
_2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 Connectors
_4 x SATA 3G Connectors
_3 x USB headers, 1 x IEEE1394 header

Back Panel I/O
_1 x IEEE1394 Connector
_1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
_4 x USB+ 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector

_1 x Audio Card
_4 x SATA cables
_1 x ATA 133 IDE Cable, 1 x FDD cable
_1 x USB2.0 + IEEE1394 cable
_1 x A5 standard User's Manual
_1 x A5 uGuru User's Manual
_1 x B5 multilingual Quick Installation Guide
_1 x CD title, 1 x SATA Driver Disk
_1 x ABIT Case Badge
_1 x Jumper Setting Label




The Fatal1ty AN8 shipped with an elaborate assortment of accessories, cables and literature. Along with the board itself, we found three different user's manuals that outline the installation, features, and RAID functionality of the AN8. We also found with two "Quick Reference" sheets, a note from Johnathan Wendel, an Abit case badge, and a sticker that highlights the location of all of the AN8's major components.

Also included with the board was a USB/Firewire case bracket with a pair of connectors for both, four red SATA cables, a single 4-pin Molex-to-SATA power adapter, two rounded cables (IDE and Floppy), and a custom I/O shield.

There were also a couple of rather unique (at least to Abit) items included with the board. The Fatal1ty AN8s integrated 5.1 channel audio codec is complimented by a mini, daughter card that houses all of the audio inputs and outputs, including S/PDIF and optical connectors. Abit claims that having these connectors on a separate PCB reduces electrical noise, but it also has the side effect of cleaning up the Fatal1ty AN8's backplane.

Also included with the Fatal1ty AN8 was Abit's "OTES RAMflow" cooler. The OTES RAMflow apparatus is clipped to the DIMM slots, and is supposed to help to cool the system memory installed in the board. We like the general idea of the OTES RAMflow, but can't vouch for its effectiveness when installed in a closed mid-tower case that will inevitably be filled with warm air. We're also not too fond of the RAMflow's spring clips. The spring clips that hold the OTES RAMflow in place are quite firm, and can be tough to install.

Tags:  MSI, ECS, MS, shoot, Ultra, F4, Abit, SHO, ULT

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