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Abit AG8 Review

Date: 2005-2-15

[Abstract]
   The first thing I have to say about the ABIT AG8 is that it is the best overclocking 915P motherboard we have tested on spective so far. It was able to do an amazing 261MHz clock (1044MHz bus ...

[Content] PCDigitalMobileGame

The first thing I have to say about the ABIT AG8 is that it is the best overclocking 915P motherboard we have tested on spective so far. It was able to do an amazing 261MHz clock (1044MHz bus speed) with just a small bump to the voltages and stock Intel air cooling. I know it sounds like I’m reciting ABIT’s company line, but the truth is that their AG8 motherboard does accomplish what they claim. The only thing that was holding back bigger feats in overclocking was the SATA controller. I’m sure we would have seen higher bus speeds if we used a regular Parallel ATA drive.

Abit AG8 Review

CPU-Z showing an overclock of 261MHz.

Overclocking aside, the ABIT AG8 is a top performer. It is slightly faster than the Chaintech V915P even though the two boards use the same chipset and RAM, and are identically configured. Somewhere ABIT has done some engineering to this motherboard that has given it a kick in performance. Compared to the more expensive 915P using DDR2, it performs essentially the same. In most tests we have run, the AG8 is matches the scores of the more expensive configuration.

Abit AG8 Review

The only disappointment with the ABIT AG8, however, is the fact it uses the older AC?7 codec on a Realtek ALC658 chip instead of a chip using Intel’s HD Audio specification (like the Realtek ALC880). The ALC658 is still functional enough for most of you, but it’s pretty poor compared to newer audio technology on the market (like Intel’s HD Audio, or VIA’s Envy24). However, to ABIT’s defence using the ALC658 lowers the cost of the motherboard. This just means the money saved can go towards a new dedicated sound card if you really want it.

To round out the hardware features, there are three firewire ports (all usable out of the box), six USB 2.0 (eight maximum), four SATA headers capable of matrix RAID, and SPDIF input and output.

Abit AG8 Review

The uGuru software for Windows and in the BIOS gives you a very quick and powerful way of making quick tweaks and adjustments to your system ?make it run faster and hotter, or quieter and cooler. Though many of you enthusiasts will still prefer to use the old-fashioned method of BIOS tweaking, the software works pretty well and it’d be a shame to not give it a try.

It’s worth mentioning here that ABIT supports the AG8 with a 3-year warranty and free spare parts service. Regarding the free spare parts, all you pay for is the shipping and handling for small parts like CMOS chips, chipset fans, and even CPU retention clips. This is an amazing convenience since it no longer means sending back your board and dealing with down-time for a small problem. This service however is limited to USA and Canada. You can find more information about this new service at: http://www.abit-usa.com/abitparts/.

Abit AG8 Review

The ABIT AG8 is a well packaged, executed, and supported product. The company boasts enthusiast features and it really does deliver. Though I feel the audio could be stronger, it allows the AG8 to hit a sweet price point just above $100 USD. With 64-bit Socket 775 Intel CPUs hitting the market in a month or two, this AG8 is going to be a hot item.

All things considered, we are giving the ABIT AG8 a Gold Award for its performance, affordability, and great support by the company.

Abit AG8 Review

Strong Points

* Best overclocking performance so far on We (261MHz).

* Comparable performance to the more expensive 915P using DDR2.

* 3 Firewire ports, SPDIF I/O, and SATA Matrix RAID

* Many overclocking and tweaking options. BIOS controllable fans.

* Affordable.

* 3-year warranty and free parts service.

Issues to be Aware Of

* Audio uses AC'97 codec, not Intel HD Audio spec.

* Cooler on Northbridge may conflict with larger heatsinks.

* Overclocking performance dependant upon use of SATA.

* LAN uses Realtek RTL8110.

* Floppy and Parallel ATA connectors may require longer cables.

Feel free to use our PriceGrabber service to find the best deals on this amazing motherboard! Thanks for reading this review, and thanks to ABIT for sending us this motherboard.





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