Abit AV8: Features and Layout


 Abit AV8 Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64
Chipset VIA K8T800 PRO/VT8237
Bus Speeds 200MHz to 336MHz (in 1MHz increments)
CPU Ratios 4x - 25x in 1x increments
PCI/AGP Speeds CPU:AGP:PCI - Fixed, 6:2:1, 7:2:1, 8:2:1
HyperTransport Auto, 200MHz to 1GHz (1x-5x)
Core Voltage 1.50V to 1.85V in 0.025V increments
DRAM Voltage 2.50V to 2.8V in 0.05V increments
AGP Voltage 1.50V - 1.65V in 0.05V increments
NB (Northbridge) Voltage 1.50V - 1.65V in 0.05V increments
SB (Southbridge) Voltage 2.50V - 2.65V in 0.05V increments
HT (HyperTransport) Voltage 1.20V - 1.40V in 0.05V increments
Memory Slots Four 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Dual-Channel Unbuffered Memory to 4GB
Expansion Slots 1 AGP 8X Slot
5 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA/IDE RAID 2 SATA 150 drives by VIA VT8237
Can be combined in RAID 0, 1, JBOD
Onboard IDE Two Standard VIA ATA133/100/66 (4 drives)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by VIA VT8237
3 IEEE 1394 FireWire Ports
Onboard LAN Gigabit Ethernet by VIA VT6122 PCI
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC658
6-Channel with SPDIF
Tested BIOS 1.3

The AV8 is Abit's flagship board for the Athlon 64, and you can certainly see this reflected in the features lavished on the AV8. Compared to the 754 version that we recently tested, Abit includes 3 Firewire ports on the AV8. True to their tradition as an overclocker's board, Abit has not included additional RAID, IDE or SATA controllers on the AV8. However, you will find that the VIA SATA RAID in the VT8237 Southbridge is fully supported. Abit has also used VIA chips for Firewire and LAN, but the VIA LAN is PCI-based and not on-chip as we see featured on the nVidia nF3-250 boards.

The overclocking controls are typically Abit in that they are a wonderful selection of voltages and frequencies to get the most from the K8T800 PRO and the Athlon 64. Particularly notable are the voltage adjustments for the Northbridge, Southbridge, and chipset - in addition to the expected voltage adjustments. The only surprise here is memory voltage, which is somewhat limited to 2.8V in BIOS. The latest version of uGuru (2.11) does not offer any additional vDIMM adjustments, so you are left with a top voltage of 2.8, which is limited for a board geared toward overclockers. We first tested uGuru in our review of the Abit KV8 Max3, and it continues to evolve as a very useful tool for the overclocker.

The first thing that we looked for was a working PCI/AGP lock, and we are pleased to report that the AV8 fully supports the AGP/PCI lock and a full range of ratios for overclocking the 939 processors. This is important because all Athlon 64 processors are unlocked downward, a side-effect of AMD Cool'n'Quiet technology. This means that any Athlon 64 can be set to lower CPU multipliers and higher frequencies to get the most out of high-speed memory. In addition, the Athlon 64 FX chips are completely unlocked, so both higher and lower ratios can be selected.

The Abit AV8 actually runs at 204 speed when the frequency is set to default, but we were able to force a 200 CPU frequency in BIOS for testing. All of the recent Abit boards that we have tested have been set to 204 at default, so be cautious in comparing review results unless the reviewer corrected the CPU frequency in testing an Abit motherboard.



Abit uses flat edge connectors for IDE connections, which does a very good job of removing any interference from the bulky IDE cables. We like the edge connectors, but some case designs make it very difficult to connect the edge-connectors. The bulky 20-pin ATX and 4-pin 12V connectors are both between the CPU and the back panel I/O ports, which makes routing the 20-pin ATX without blocking air flow a challenge in most case designs. Abit included the 2-digit diagnostic LEDs, which can be very useful for troubleshooting.

Index Abit AV8: Overclocking and Stress Testing
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  • jrphoenix - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    I am using the Gigabyte 939 NF3 board for the past week now. It appears that their are two lan connections listed as Marvell (lan 1) and Nvidia (lan 2). I have been using the Nvidia one?

    To get the firewall to function with the Gigabyte board all you have to do is download the Nvidia 4 in 1's after installing the Gigabyte drivers.

    Of course I'm a noob.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    #70 - The nVidia fiewall is a port on the chipset that allows for direct communication with the Gigabit chip PHY layer. It is therefore very difficult to determine if the on-chip port is being used just from looking at the specifications.

    Earlier this week we asked nVidia for help in identifying which motherboards were using the on-chip gigabit port. nVidia is looking into the list of boards we supplied and said they would be providing us with updated information soon. When we receive that info we will post it.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    Any chance to have tested the OCZ 4000 gold rev 2, with the 2.5-3-3 latencies and compare that to the 3700 EB?

    Curious as I narrow down things.

    Any news on Pci-e for AMD64's?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • REMF - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    i too would like to know whether the Gigabyte NF3 board uses the nVidia NIC/firewall, and if not not, why anandtech failed to mention the fact? Reply
  • geogecko - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    What is the noise difference in the retail packaged CPU fans in this class (S-939), and the Thermaltake Silent Boost K8 used in the reviews.

    I notice that Thermaltake also has another CPU cooler using heatpipes, the SilentTower 4-in-1 CPU Cooler. Have you guys tested this out?

    My current PC (AMD XP 1800+ with the equivalent of a Volcano 9) gets too loud for me when it gets warmed up, and that's with it sitting on the floor next to my desk.
    Reply
  • Staples - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    #62, you must have read the post incorrectly. I was hoping you would have used the same CPU, which you did not. Somehow you read the opposite. I figure in comparing the chipset to the other, using a different CPU throws in a ton of extra variables. Now if you are looking at it from a prospective of which is faster, then your setup is fair. Of course most people would buy the Northwood on the 875 but it becomes more of a platform benchmark rather than anything that could be called a chipset competition.

    About the FX53, one reason I do not like you using it is because it is AMD's flagship product and at least from what I remember, the Presscott that you used was not an EE. Even so, the biggest bother is that the FX53 will always cost more than $500 and very few people will actually ever buy it when they can get so much more band for their month with just a regular class AMD64. This is the case with the EE too, they will always cost an arm and a leg so I'd say only about 5% of people will be buying the FX and the EE series chips. By an overwhelming majority, most consumers will be buying the non-enthusiast parts.
    Reply
  • bigtoe33 - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Please take this as the official responce to the rumours about 3500 and 3700EB.
    We have NOT stopped production of these modules, it sells quicker than we can produce it..that is the only real issue.

    We have just shipped another huge order so please go bug your favourite stores to stock it..

    EB is here to stay at least for the time being.

    Tony
    Reply
  • expletive - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Also, has the performance discrepancy with Halo and the nforce boards ben figured out yet? If it somehting that may resurface in other games ill get an nforce board. If it is fixable or just a one off with halo, i can save a few $ and get a via board while i am waiting for PCIx...

    John
    Reply
  • expletive - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Does the Gigabyte board use the Nvidia LAN as well? I see it says marvel but after the last series of posts with the marvell/nvidia chipset i am confused now...

    Reply
  • Anemone - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Thank you for enlightening on the LAN issue with the NF3 ultra - for me I'm getting and FX.

    Since this article is getting referenced a lot with people I talk with and such, can we keep a front page link to it for a while?

    Also looking forward to memory reviews as well. Rather sad the 3700EB has been discontinued :(
    Hopefully OCZ will have something better to take its place in not too long, but that might be impossible.

    Reply

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