Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review :: The Board

10-14-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Abit AW8-MAX Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberAW8-MAX
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ChipsetIntel 955X Express ICH7R
North BridgeIntel 82955X MCH
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesPentium 4
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1066/800MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGPIntel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
South BridgeIntel 82801GR ICH7R
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10
FirewireIEEE 1394b/a
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

The ABIT AW8-Max supports all current Intel LGA-775 CPUs including the 840 Extreme Edition, the 670 3.8GHz and earlier CPUs. The 955X operates at up to a 533MHz FSB, allowing installation of the 3.73GHz Extreme Edition CPUs as well. With the new Dual Core CPUs, HyperThreading is present only on the 840 EE.

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review Socket Open

Socket Open

Memory support on the board comes in the vein of 4 DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Modules). The 955X chipset supports up to 8GB of Dual Channel Un-buffered Non-ECC DDR2 memory when a 64-bit OS (Operating System) is used, 4GB when Windows 32-bit is used. ABIT differentiates their Dual-Channel by color coding pairs. Simply put a matching pair in matching color slots and it'll work just fine.

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review Memory Slots

Memory Slots

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review PCIx x16 Slot

PCIx x16 Slot

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review PCI Slots

PCI Slots

ABIT's board has one PCI Express x16 slot for the graphics card. Some 955x boards have dual slots, but are limited to x4 connectivity on the second slot. Also present on the board are two PCI Express x1 slots two PCI V2.3 compliant slots and a slot for ABIT's AUDIOMAX card. One thing about the board that bothered me though, was I wish ABIT included another PCI or PCI Express x1 slot, as 4 slots is not much expansion room for the power user and may be limiting for some.

Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review
Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review
Abit AW8-MAX Motherboard Review

Drive expansion on the board, on the other hand, is excellent. The 955X chipset supports up to 4 SATA ports with the ICH7R North Bridge natively. ABIT went the extra mile by including a Silicon Image Sil3132 chip with two additional SATA ports. Both controllers support SATAII technology, allowing for 3 Gb/second of transfer, instead of the 1.5 found on SATA1. Intel's Matrix Storage technology allows for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 modes. One IDE controller and one Floppy Drive controller make up the rest of the drive expansion on the board. The Input Output area of the AW8-Max board is very interesting. ABIT pioneered quiet cooling on the North Bridge chip with their Silent-Outside –Thermal-Exhaust-System. Due to the grill on the rear of the board, there is no parallel or COM ports on this board. ABIT did include PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard ports, 2 RJ45 jacks for the LAN, and 4 USB 2.0 ports and an IEEE-1394 port.