ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review :: Features and Layout

06-24-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Tulatin
Abit Fatal1ty-AA8XE Spec Sheet
Powered by MOBOT
Motherboard Photo
Part NumberFatal1ty-AA8XE
ManufacturerAbit
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetIntel 925XE Express ICH6R
North BridgeIntel 82925XE MCH
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesPentium 4
Number of CPUs1
Hyper-Threading SupportYes
Front Side Bus1066/800MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeIntel 82801FR ICH6R
Audio8-channel
IDE100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA1.5 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
LAN10/100
FirewireNone
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI
  • 2 x PCI Express x1
  • 1 x PCI Express x16
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

Perhaps the first thing you'll notice when you crack open the Fatal1ty's AA8XE box is the dried blood red of the PCB, complimented by the fresh-blood red of the DIMM sockets and the PCI slots. Aside from the bloody red, most of this board's connectors follow the dark and violent theme, with being trimmed in black and all. Perhaps the only thing missing - the one thing disturbing this theme are the azure anodized heatsinks this motherboard sports - the same ones featured on the regular AA8XE. Considering the theme of this board, and the premium price it fetches, Abit could have at least spurned for some black anodized sinks with clear red fans - granted, this is far from a deal breaker - much more of a gripe than anything else.


ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review

Moving from petty aesthetic flaws, we can begin to examine what this motherboard has to offer us in the form of inputs, connectors and sockets. Our tour will start in the upper right corner of the motherboard, which is dominated by Abit's OTES fan system. First introduced with motherboards on the IC7-Max 3, this feature sucks the hot air from the processor's heatsink up, drawing it over the scathing mofsets to cool them off before expelling it from the back of a case via two 40mm fans.


ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review

As we look just below the OTES shroud, we can see the LGA socket, sporting an array of delicate pins - as some of our users (or testers) may know, these pins are incredibly fragile - even more so than those on the processors had been. If one becomes bent, you're definitely in hot water. To the right of the CPU socket we find the DIMM banks, each with the capability of sporting a 2GB module of DDR2 (when or where these modules will surface is still largely a mystery). As previously mentioned, the slots are coloured charcoal black and bright blood red, each colour denotating a differing channel. A quick glance just above the memory modules reveals the 4 pin power socket, and a newer 4 pin CPU fan header, the fourth pin of which allowing for fan control via PWM (pulses of the intended voltage to slow the fan down). While the placement of this power header makes some sense (allowing it to directly feed the well cooled mofsets), the fact that these two connectors are so tightly packed together in a remote corner of the board will cause some frustration at the very least. Along the side of these DIMM slots comes the 24 Pin ATX connector, located well out of the way.


ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review

As we move our gaze down the board, we come to the storage aspect of the motherboard as well as its front panel headers. On the storage front, this motherboard is relatively lacking, featuring just four dried blood SATA headers and one IDE port. While we know one of the maxims of the Fatal1ty series is to reduce features gamers don't need, we're fairly sure storage isn't one of them. The lack of IDE ports (granted, which is common to many Alderwood motherboards) would severely limit my potential - having an IDE DVD Burner as well as a pair of similar hard drives.

While the argument can be made that adaptors can just be used, we feel that it's shameful to be cutting consumers short of options for storage, especially on a premium product. As to users who still have the archaic floppy disk drives - the header for this is inopportunely located at the very bottom of the motherboard, dead out of reach in the case that there are any PCI cards installed. Three other things worthy of mention in this area are Abit's proprietary uGuru chip, which facilitates a whole host of overclocking and monitoring utilities, a port 80 readout block (which will come to incredible use when testing for issues, telling you the exact problem, saving oodles of troubleshooting time), as well as hard wired power and reset buttons, saving you from having to poke at headers with a screwdriver in a blind attempt to start the board when it's outside of a case.


ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review

Moving a little to our left, we come across perhaps the busiest area of the motherboard. Within this are contained the motherboard's single 16x and dual 1x PCI-Express slots in a charcoal trim, two PCI slots in fresh blood red, and what looks to be a 1x PCI slot, but is not at the very bottom of the board, but rather the header for the bundled mini-soundcard - essentially onboard sound taken away from the electrical noise of the motherboard. While my undiscerning ears couldn't hear a difference between this and traditional onboard sound, it will more than likely have an effect on the quality, noticeable to those who can truly hear a difference. Also found within this area a pair of both USB and Firewire headers, allowing for four and two ports respectively, along with a header for front panel audio. Finishing up this tour, we come across the motherboard to the I/O area, which sports the dual 40MM fans as previously mentioned, as well as a single Firewire port, the requisite PS/2 Ports, quad USB ports and dual Gigabit LAN ports, fed by a pair of localized Intel chips.


ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review
ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard Review