Introduction



Abit has just unleashed their first "Fatal1ty" motherboard. For those who don't know, Fatal1ty is the name used by 19-year old Jonathan Wendel, one of the most respected gamers in the world.



Early in his gaming career, Fatal1ty became the number 1 ranked Quake 3 player in the world. This was followed by wins 3 years in a row at CPL competing in Quake 3, Alien vs. Predator 2, and Unreal Tournament 2003. Fatal1ty also won Quakecon 2002 and became the world's first Doom 3 champion at Quakecon 2004.

Abit has partnered with Fatal1ty "to develop PC gaming hardware with no equal". The Fatal1ty boards and graphics cards are "Built to Kill" according to Abit - they are designed to be the "best of the best" for gaming. There is no doubt that Abit knows enthusiasts, gaming, and overclocking as they are the brand most mentioned when computer users are asked to name a good board for overclocking. Over their years of catering to the Enthusiast, Abit has also been an innovator in overclocking, introducing features like Soft Menu that became the standard for the industry. Abit understands this market, so the launch of the Fatal1ty series seems an ideal fit with Abit strengths.



The Fatal1ty AA8XE is built with the just released Intel 925XE chipset, which sports a 1066FSB, DDR2 memory, and a PCI Express x16 slot for a graphics card. There is no doubt - in the look of Fatal1ty or in the specifications - that Abit has thrown all their best Enthusiast features at Fatality. The list of Abit Engineered features include:
  • ABIT uGuruTM Technology (ABIT OC Guru/ABIT EQ/ABIT Flash Menu/ABIT Black Box)
  • ABIT ThermalGuardTM Technology
  • ABIT TweakGuardTM Technology
  • ABIT Dual OTESTM cooling Technology (Enhanced Version)
  • ABIT OC strip Technology
  • ABIT PWM cooling Technology
  • ABIT Aero OTES Technology
  • ABIT Audio Purification Technology for Dolby Digital Live
  • ABIT MB LED back-light
  • ABIT MB color management system for easy installation
In addition, Abit emphasizes that the Fatal1ty series was built for rock-solid stability, both at stock speed and in overclocking.

Our own recent tests of the 925XE/3.46EE have shown the AMD Athlon 64 to be a much better gaming platform than Intel at the present time. However, there is no doubt that Fatal1ty and Abit have the gaming credentials to put together the best gaming platform available. We will reserve judgment until we have had a chance to compare the Fatal1ty AA8XE benchmarks to other gaming rigs.

Features and Overclocking
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  • T8000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    Altrough this board seems to be a good overclocker and lots of buyers will at least consider an overclock, there was not a single benchmark run with any overclock.

    The default clock was even lowered somewhat! Especially next to the (almost unoverclockable) AMD64 2,6 Ghz CPU's, this review seems more like a way to ask for an AMD version than to measure real gaming performance.

    I mean, if you only want stock speeds, why would you buy a high-end Abit mainboard?

    Also, an Abit mainboard of this performance class will likely be combined with a Prometia cooler or at least good water cooling, making the few air only overclock tests (and the remark that a big aircooler would not fit) a bit odd.

    Even more because OTES was designed to keep enough airflow without aircooling on the CPU.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    Abit has replied to our questions about an Athlon 64 version of Fatal1ty:

    "We don’t want readers to have the wrong impression that we are not coming out with an AMD version. We will have the AMD version of the Fatal1ty AN8 coming out around December. The AA8 Fatal1ty is only the BEGINNING of the Fatality line of products. The purpose of the AA8 is to show both gamers and enthusiasts ABIT’s dedication in the gaming community. The AN8 Fatal1ty is where we are hoping to ramp up the volume because the Ultimate Gaming Platform is definitely AMD based."
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    People laugh at him alot. He's a game hopper picking up the next big thing, gets good at it for a while, then leaves when others surpase him. Just look at his failed CS expirment. Counter strike is pretty much the only game with any following in NA currently, he tried to start a team a while ago and got stomped.

    Other than the fact that this board has his name all over it, it's pretty cool. I like the OTES set up, could of used a better spokesman though.

    The Ksharp or Aimetti board anyone?
    Reply
  • TimTheEnchanter25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    In the picture that ABIT had in their forums, they also show a 2 fan cooler for the ram:
    http://forum.abit-usa.com/showthread.php?s=&th...

    I would like to see someone do some sound and thermal benchmarks for this mobo. It would be nice to know if the fans make enough difference on the temps to justify the massive sound I assume it makes.
    Reply
  • zyzzix - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    While it appears strange that Abit would choose Intel to launch a hot concept, it's very PC for them long term. It just makes us AMD'ers put off buying anything else until the other shoe drops (kicks). Reply
  • nastyemu25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    wow that picture makes fatal1ty look like a real bad-ass!

    and by bad-ass i mean asshat
    Reply
  • SLIM - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    "At stock settings, Fatal1ty is overclocked to 271 FSB. For a fairer comparison, the FSB was set to 267. Since most will want to see gaming benchmarks with this gaming board, the Game Accelerator was left to the default "Enabled" mode."

    What exactly is the "game accelerator"? The only reference that I could find was, " the AI7 also comes with Game Accelerator, a BIOS tweak that allows users to increase their performance up to 30%". That kind of sounds like marketing talk for dynamic overclocking to me. Anybody at anandtech have a better description of what exactly this game accelerator does? Point being, if you changed the FSB from 271 to 267 to make if "fair" and then enabled dynamic overclocking, that's one step forward and 5 steps back on the fairness scale.

    SLIM

    PS: I also checked the manual for the aa8 fatality and it was less than helpful as to the nature of this tweak:
    "Game Accelerator: This item enables or disables the Game Accelerator."
    Reply
  • Live - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    Great write up. Not much more needs to be said. While the chipset is crap Abit at least made some improvements over the reference design. Now bring on the new breed of AMD boards so we can game in style.

    Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    #11
    Own3d. :-)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - link

    #20 - there ARE on-board power and reset switches. They are on the bottom right edge of the board (or the upper right edge of the picture on p.2).

    #23 - There are 3 Firewire ports on the Fatal1ty AA8XE. This is detailed in the specs on p. 2 and mentioned in the article.

    #25 - One ATA port for 2 IDE devices is a 925X/XE limitation, not a choice by Abit. It was mentioned prominently in the 925X launch review. Abit could have added additional IDE ports with an added chip if they chose to do that.

    #4 and #22 - Anand's 925XE launch article tested with the ATI X800 XT so they are not directly comparable to the results here which were all nVidia 6800 Ultra as we have used in past motheboard reviews. The point of this First Look was to test Abit's claim that this was "the best of the best gaming board".

    If you will check the Anandtech data base you will see there has not been a 925XE review other than the launch article by Anand and me 9 days ago. This is the first 925XE to make it to the labs, but others are on their way. Anand also pointed out the performance of 925X and 925XE was trhe same - the XE adds 1066 but the chipset is otherwise identical. Anand also found the 1066 performance increase essentially negligible.

    I considered running benches with the 3.6 on the 925XE as we have database data to compare that configuration, but then there would have been an uproar that we didn't test with a 1066 gaming chip like the 3.46EE.

    We will include benches here in the future 925XE motherboard reviews. For now we ask that you try to see the points we were making in this review, and the data we used to examine those questions.
    Reply

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