Abit has been showing signs of returning to the good old days ever since the USI takeover that resolved all of the company's financial problems.
We went along to see Abit's stand the other day, and they showed us a whole host of motherboards. The one that stood out was its upcoming AW9D-MAX motherboard.
MAX is Abit's flagship brand for overclockers - the MAX series boards are primarily designed with enthusiasts looking to overclock in mind, whereas the Fatal1ty series are primarily designed for rock solid stability and gaming - everything else is secondary.
The AW9D-MAX is by no means finished yet, as the company is still contemplating adding more features, and tweaking the aesthetics of the board before it reaches the market. Abit has some cool asethetic touches planned, but we're unable to reveal specifics at this time. We will bring you news on the planned inclusions if they materialise - we are pushing to get the features added though.
It is based on Intel's 975X/ICH7R chipset, and features support for the upcoming Core 2 Duo processors and DDR2-800 memory speeds. There are a total of eight SATA 3Gbps ports included - one is an external e-SATA port, and all other SATA ports seem to be in reasonably accessible locations. There is also support for a pair of ATI video cards in CrossFire mode, thanks to the dual PCI-Express x16 slots.
However, the lone PCI slot will be blocked if using a pair of Radeon X1900's in CrossFire. Having said that though, the additional AudioMAX slot for the included Realtek ALC880-based HD Audio daughter card, the need for an add-in sound card isn't quite as crucial as it is on some solutions.
Because AudioMAX is an add-in solution, the signal noise is minimal when compared to motherboards that have the audio codec onboard. Of course, AudioMAX is no X-Fi solution, but it is a middle ground between onboard sound and Creative's excellent X-Fi sound cards. Aside from that, the only other layout niggle that we have on first inspection is the location of the 4-pin Molex connector.
Discuss in the forums