It's no secret that gamers, who try to keep up with the ever increasing requirements to system resources, make up a significant share of people buying hardware for desktop PCs. That's why it's not surprising that Abit decided to sign a contract with a famous figure in the world of virtual sport, namely Johnathan (Fatal1ty) Wendel. This alliance has yielded fruit — a series of computer hardware under the title Abit Fatal1ty, which should draw gamers' attention to Abit products. In fact, there have appeared only motherboards with the nick of this famous gamer so far. The first such model is Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE.
As soon as you have a look at the package (which is not only beautiful but rather convenient as well, by the way), you will see right away that this motherboard is designed specially for gamers and modding fans. The same impression is produced when you install this motherboard into a PC case and press the Power button. The abundance of red illumination and the overall blood-red color of the motherboard blend with its title, which produces a complete picture of a concept product "born to kill". The abundance of coolers is also striking (5 of them), they cool all this splendour. Despite the number of coolers, the overall noise background is not that high. But nobody will guarantee that in six months, when they wear out a little, you system unit will not resemble a turbine of a taking off plane.
Good PCB layout, a lot of field-effect transistors in the CPU voltage regulator, a lateral IDE slot, lack of the usual queue of connectors along the bottom edge of the motherboard — everything produces a very nice impression. It's just that the FDD connector is located right at the bottom edge of the PCB. So the FDD cable may fail to reach a floppy drive in a high tower. However, is a floppy drive such a critical thing these days? Extra room on the motherboard due to small PCI-E x1 slots definitely has a good effect on the PCB layout. Access to some of the jumpers may be hampered when the motherboard is in a case, there in no brief description of their functions on the PCB. The motherboard is equipped with a POST code display in the form of two seven-segment LEDs. A plastic air-duct near the processor socket is a tad irritating, it hampers cooler installation. The 4-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates four 1000 uF capacitor, five 680 uF capacitors, and several ones of a lesser capacitance. The motherboard also contains voltage regulators for PCI-E x16 (four 1000 uF capacitors reinforced with L elements) and memory (eight 1000uF capacitors reinforced with L elements). Abit seems to try and implement some BTX form factor ideas of air flow control inside a PC case with its fan on the vertically installed Northbridge heatsink.
The PCB contains no empty seats for chips and connectors. Motherboard dimensions — 305x245 mm (full-sized ATX, nine-screw mount, all motherboard edges are firmly fixed). It should be noted that Abit Fatal1ty is an obvious leader in system monitoring due to µGURU.
CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Act. To Precharge
Delay, Write Recovery Time
Memory frequency selection
Auto, DDR2-400, DDR2-533
PCI-E bus setup
PCI bus setup
PCI/PCI-E frequency divider
PCI-E = Auto, 99—255 MHz
at 1 MHz steps
PCI = 33.33 MHz, 36.36 MHz, 40.00 MHz, Auto (modify
in accord with the PCI-E frequency), CPU (modify in accord with
the FSB frequency)
PCI IRQ manual assignment
FSB frequency setup
100—400 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU core voltage control
Memory voltage control
Chipset voltage control
PCI-E bus voltage control
We used BIOS AA8_13.b00, the latest available BIOS version at the time of our tests.
Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE demonstrates good test results, which is quite expectable from a high end motherboard. We liked the impeccable stable operation of this motherboard. Differences between motherboards' test results are insignificant, so it's hard to say for sure which motherboard is faster. And a couple of seconds must not play a pivotal role when choosing one of these motherboards.
Foxconn 925XE7AA (DDR2 533)
ASUS P5AD2-E Premium (DDR2 533)
Abit Fatality AA8XE (DDR2 533)
MSI 925XE Neo Platinum Edition (DDR2 533)
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec
Memory read rate, MB/sec
Memory write rate, MB/sec
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec
MPEG 4/DIVX Encoding, min:sec
Processing images in Photoshop, min:sec
UT 2004 (Fast@800x600x32), fps
UT 2004 (High@1280x1024x32), fps
Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE — is specially designed for professional gamers who have heard of Johnathan Wendel. Though, even if you are worlds apart from cybersport, you should pay your attention to this motherboard — aside from its title and illuminating bijouterie, it's an excellent product, which will certainly do fine for a state-of-the-art high-performance computer.