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

Abit Fatal1ty AN8: BIOS & Overclocking

In typical ABIT fashion, the Fatal1ty AN8 is equipped with a Phoenix / Award BIOS derivative that is fully loaded with options for tweaking the motherboard's performance and managing all of its integrated peripherals. And when we say loaded with options, we mean it. The uGuru and Abit EQ sections especially are full of goodies.

The Abit Fatal1ty AN8: The BIOS
Typical Abit Goodness



Looking at all of the menus available in the Fatal1ty AN8's BIOS, it's east to see why ABIT has a solid 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 Fatal1ty AN8's integrated peripherals, but it's in the uGuru Utility and Abit EQ menu where all of the hardcore overclocking options are made available...

Overclocking the Abit Fatal1ty AN8
It's Got the Motts





As you can see, there's a lot hidden within the uGuru Utility and Abit EQ sections of the AN8's BIOS. The uGuru menu is where all of the A8N's overclocking tools can be found. Using this menu, users can alter their processor's multiplier when an Athlon 64 FX or other Cool'n'Quiet enabled CPU is installed, and users can also select any HT clock speed between 200MHz and 410MHz, in 1MHz increments. The PCI Express clock speed can also be dialed in manually up to 145MHz, in 1MHz increments, or locked at the specified 100MHz. Processor, memory, DDR VTT, chipset and HyperTransport voltages are also user configurable. CPU voltages up to 1.85v are available in .025v increments, and memory voltages up to 2.85v, chipset voltages up to 1.8v, and HyperTransport voltages up to 1.35v are available, all in .5v increments.

The AbitEQ section of the BIOS also houses a boatload of useful option. The Fatal1ty A8N's BIOS also gives user's control over all of the board's thermally-controlled fan headers and it has a slew of hardware monitoring options built-in too. Users can manually alter shut-down temperatures, and set alerts when temperatures get too high.

Overclocking with the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 proved to be very rewarding. To test the overclocking potential of this board, we cranked our CPU voltage up to 1.7v, dropped the multiplier, and lowered the speed of the HT link to 3x. Then we raised the memory, chipset, and HyperTransport voltages by .2v, and set out to find the highest stable processor bus speed. The Fatal1ty fared well, hitting a maximum stable bus speed of 312MHz. Windows XP would actually boot at speeds higher than this, but the system was not completely stable until we brought the speed back down.

We should also note that users who'd rather overclock their system using a Windows application, can also alter voltages and the bus speed using Abit's proprietary uGuru application, which is included on the driver CD, and available for download from Abit's web site.

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

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