Abit AW9D Max Motherboard Reviewccokeman -
The last time I switched camps from AMD to Intel, Abit had the best Socket 478 Motherboard out in the IC7-MAX3. Now that I have decided to once again make the switch back to Intel, I am hoping to repeat the same successes that I had with my last Abit product. Today I will be looking at the Abit AW9D-Max
The Abit computer corporation was started back in 1989. Since then, they have had many success stories including being the fastest growing motherboard company in 1989 with sales in excess of $10,000,000 US. Following up that feat in 2003 they saw sales increases of over 100 percent. Looking forward, Abit is designing its products with “Bulletproof Technology” to ensure a long term positive experience for the end user.
The packaging comes with some pretty elaborate artwork. The back side of the packaging describes in detail the features of this motherboard.
Included in the accessories was an SLI bridge to connect two Nvidia graphics cards. It seems that even though SLI is not supported by the 975x chipset it can be made to work. After some research I found that there are a set of hacked Nvidia drivers to allow SLI to be setup and run flawlessly. Here we have just one more option for those of you who will be using multiple gpu’s.
I was looking forward to using the AW9D-MAX with my BBATI Crossfire 1900xt’s. They work great as planned , unfortunately with the large heatsinks on them there is no room to access the one pci slot if you wanted to run anything but onboard sound.
Speaking of sound, The onboard solution comes in the form of an AudioMax riser card that does fit even with multiple gpu’s.
Abit seems to be thinking a bit outside the box here. They have included additional cooling strips on the back side of the motherboard to help improve cooling in the areas of the Cpu socket and pwm circuits.
Some other nice features include an onboard debug led and onboard power/reset buttons for those who run without a case.
One of the things for those of you running dual gpu’s that presents a problem is the location of the CMOS jumper. In this case it is right under the power circuit heatsink on the second graphics card.
Here is a quick look at the bios options that are most important to those individuals looking for an enthusiast type product. From the factory Abit gives you a 6 mhz overclock. They know their market it seems. Each of the voltages that are available to adjust have a marked impact on increasing performance, particularly the MCH and PCIe voltage.
On this board and many of the other 975x varieties, the chipset timings are pretty tight. This makes it tough to get into the 400+fsb range stable. On the 13 BIOS there is an additional timing value in the advanced chipset features for TRFC. Loosening this value has helped in reaching higher fsb speeds.
In the Abit Eq section of uGuru utility there are options to monitor voltages , fan temperatures, and a new one for this reviewer. An onboard light show. Great if you have a window on your case!
Let's get this thing installed.