FIRST LOOK: Abit Fatal1ty AA8XEby Wesley Fink on November 9, 2004 8:30 AM EST
- Posted in
Features and Overclocking
|Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Specifications|
|CPU Interface||Socket 775 Pentium 4 (Prescott)|
|Bus Speeds||200MHz to 400MHz (in 1MHz steps)|
|DDR2 Speeds||Auto, 400, 533|
|N/B Strap||By CPU, PSB533, PSB800, PSB1066|
|PCI Express Speeds||99MHz to 255MHz (in 1MHz intervals)|
|PCI Speeds||33.33, 36.36, 40.00|
|Core Voltage||CPU Default (1.575V) to 1.925V
in 0.025V increments
|FSB VTT Voltage||1.0V to 1.8V in .05V steps|
|DRAM Voltage||1.6V to 2.55V in 0.05V increments|
|DDR VTT Voltage||0.8V to 1.8V in .05V increments|
|Northbridge Voltage||1.3V to 2.1V in 005V increments|
|NB 2.5V||2.3V to 3.0V in .05V steps|
|Memory Slots||Four 184-pin DDR2-533/400 Slots
Dual-Channel Unbuffered DDR2 to 4GB
|Expansion Slots||1 PCIe x16 slot
2 PCIe x1 slots
2 PCI slots
Dedicated Audio Daughter Card slot
|Onboard SATA/RAID||4 SATA 150 drives by ICH6R
Intel Matrix Raid 0,1
|Onboard IDE||One ATA100/66 (ICH6) - 2 Drives|
|Onboard USB 2.0||8 USB 2.0 ports|
|Onboard Firewire||3 IEEE1394A FireWire Ports by TI 43CR30T|
|Onboard LAN||Dual Intel Ethernet - Gigabit + 10/100|
|Onboard Audio||High Definition Realtek ALC880D
8-Channel HD, Dolby Digital Live
AudioMAX connectors for reduced noise
|Tested BIOS||M408_10.B07 10/15/2004|
The Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE was designed for top gaming performance and overclocking. This is reflected in the very complete selection of tweaking controls and the extended adjustment ranges. The BIOS controls with wide adjustment ranges will allow overclockers to push the Fatal1ty to wherever the processor can go.
One surprise was the lack of a higher DDR2 ram speed option in a board designed for performance. The 925XE Asus P5AD2-E, for example, has a speed option of DDR2 710 in BIOS.
The feature set is basic 915X/925XE without the additional features often seen on top-of-the-line Socket 775 motherboards. This means that the ports and options are those provided by the 925X/925XE chipset. This may not be a bad thing where stability is the primary goal, but the Fatal1ty really adds very little to the standard 925X/925XE feature set. There are provisions for Firewire and enhancements for noise reduction on the excellent Intel High Definition 8-channel audio, but you will be hard pressed to find any other new features on Fatal1ty. As with other 925X/XE boards there are provisions for just 2 IDE devices, which may be an issue if your gaming needs include several optical drives or IDE hard drives.
Sometimes gaming is as much about appearances as substance, and there is no doubt that Abit understands this. The Fatal1ty is back-lit with red LEDs, which will make the Fatal1ty stand out in any side window case.
Abit also concentrates on cooling with the AA8XE. You can see the shroud for the dual OTES cooling for the power transistors. It is carefully designed, so there is no issue with mounting a standard Intel Socket 775 cooling fan. However, if you plan to use a large custom heatsink, you are likely out of luck.
OverclockingThe Fatal1ty is designed for top performance, and top performance normally includes overclocking. We were extremely pleased to reach a stable 323x12 with our test 3.46EE. 12X is the lowest ratio available on this partially unlocked EE chip. This is a CPU speed of 3876MHZ at a bus speed of 1292. Apparently, this is the limit on air with modest voltage increases for this processor, since the stock 13X multiplier would only reach 299x13 - approximately the same speed.
With water cooling or phase-change cooling, the Abit Fatal1ty would likely take this chip further, since heat was becoming a large problem with this Gallatin core CPU at nearly 3.9GHz speed. 323x12 is an outstanding overclock, but this needs to be kept in perspective. The starting point for the 3.46EE is 266, so the reach to 323 is just a 21% overclock of the FSB at the lower multiplier. If we consider the CPU is running at 3876MHz, the overclock is only 12% compared to the rated CPU speed.
Prescott core 800FSB processors will also work fine on the Abit Fatal1ty. We did a brief test with an unlocked 560 Prescott and managed to reach a stable 284x14, or a speed of about 4GHz on air. The FSB limitation here is likely the result of the 14 multiplier, which is the lowest available on the unlocked 3.6GHz processor. If lower ratios were available, it is likely that the Abit Fatal1ty could take you to the highest FSB the CPU could reach.