The Abit Fatal1ty series stems back to the days of the Intel 925XE chipset. The Abit AA8XE Fatal1ty edition was the first true gaming orientated motherboard to the public eye and had the endorsement of top international gamer, Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. Since then, there have been four Fatal1ty boards, with the signature red PCB with black components and 40mm fans on the rear I/O.
The differentiating line between a gamers' requirements a those of a plain hardcore enthusiast is undeniably blurred. But for those who attend LAN's frequently, take their CS seriously and have their WoW with plenty of Bawls, the Fatal1ty line has delivered. Now we have our hands on the latest Fatal1ty board, the Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X. It's based on the ever popular NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset for AMD Athlon AM2 processors, so it should feature high on the list of possible gamer upgrades, right?
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X Overview
Support for all Socket AM2 AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 and Sempron processors with Cool 'n' Quiet technology;
Four DDR2 memory slots supporting up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory;
NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP;
Northbridge: NVIDIA C51XE;
Southbridge NVIDIA MCP55PXE;
Abit OTES GT Cooling solution;
Abit uGuru technology;
Integrated PHY Gigabit MAC: Marvell 88E111E;
Two PCI-Express x16 slots with SLI support (both slots run with a full x16 lanes), two PCI-Express x1 and one PCI expansion slot;
Abit AudioMAX 7.1 channel Realtek ALC882D High Definition audio with jack sensing and digital optical S/PDIF in and out, six 3.5mm jacks and Dolby Digital options;
Six native SATA 3Gbps ports, supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD;
Support for ten USB 2.0 ports (four on back I/O panel and six via on-board pins/expansion brackets);
Two IEEE1394a Firewire ports with both from internal headers;
One ATA133 connector;
One floppy connector.
Six red SATA cables;
One red/clear rounded IDE cable;
One black floppy cable;
One PCI backplate containing two Firewire and two USB ports;
Metal IO Shield;
SLI fan for additional cooling;
SLI Bridge and retention bracket;
Attention to detail in colour consistency shows entirely throughout the package here, with the red and black theme appearing in all the additional equipment. Included is a full complement of SATA cables with metal retention clips, as well as a clear rounded IDE cable that has red and black connectors as well as red and white wiring inside. A very long 70cm floppy cable is included for those with tall ATX cases that have 3.5mm bays at the roo. This is a good inclusion, considering the floppy connector on the motherboard is at the very base.
Unfortunately, only a single PCI expansion bracket is included for extra Firewire and USB 2.0 ports. This offers both 6-pin and mini 4-pin Firewire sockets but only two USB 2.0 ports. That leaves four more USB connectors on the motherboard free for use elsewhere, like the front of cases or expansion bays.
The separate AudioMAX daughterboard is included as it is in many Abit products. The Fatal1ty also provides an extended SLI bridge and retention bracket, should you need the extra support when transporting your case to LANs. The bracket has a very thin, high flow 60x10mm fan that provides extra airflow over the graphics cards to keep them cool. How useful this might be is questionable: It will only work well if your case has vents along the side.
Finally there's the obligatory manuals, driver CD and floppy disks as well as a reassuring note from Mr. Wendel explaining as to why is name is on the box.