The Abit AV8 motherboard based on VIA’s K8T800 Pro chipset is one of those boards that at first glance looks to be just like any other. The externally visable and noted features aren’t exactly the most exciting out there. It only has two Serial ATA channels, it only has 6-channel on-board audio, and it only has a single network connection. Compared to other premium branded motherboards like the Asus P5AD2 based on Intel’s 925X chipset that include 4 SATA, 3 IDE, 8 channel audio, and three networks, the Abit AV8 can seem out of its league. Standing in it’s own light, however, it doesn’t seem that way at all.
The AV8 has Gigabit ethernet support and Serial ATA RAID support. It has on-board audio that includes both an input and an output optical connector that features 6 channels, probably more than enough for most PC users out there. It has 3 channels of Firewire and supports 8 USB 2.0 ports. Again, probably enough for everyone you know. Take a look deeper into the motherboard and you’ll see that it wasn’t designed for the feature-craved user, but instead for the demanding PC ethusiast and overclocker.
The BIOS on the AV8 is simply the best we have seen here for overclocking. It has every option you could ask for to push your system to its maximum speed and it puts all the configuration together in an easy to use and understand fashion. The BIOS has FSB speeds configurable up to 336 MHz, multiplier adjustments, voltage options that are high and the ability to adjust settings of the north bridge and south bridge that you can’t really find on other motherboards. I haven’t seen a board with as many options for setting temperature, fan and voltage monitors, with alarm and shut down options for all three. If you are overclocking your system, this is something you really want to have to protect that $500+ processor you might have just purchased.
Did I mention that the Abit AV8 motherboard has the PCI/AGP lock working on the VIA K8T800 Pro chipset? Revisions 1.1 and up all have it.
The Abit uGuru software is another great addition to this package. The ability to flash your BIOS easily and monitor your voltages, fans and temperatures in Windows are great. The BlackBox software is a great way to get support from Abit, one of the motherboard companies that is really trying to show the buyer that they care and are looking for ways to improve your experience with their product. Of course, our Abit Forums are very popular, but sometimes going directly to the manufacturer is going to be easier for you. The OC Guru software is another great tool that allows you to do the basic overclocking all through a simple Windows program. One suggestion that I would give to Abit on their uGuru package is to please unify it! All four of these apps have completely different interfaces as well as different looks and feels. They really don’t look like they were designed by the same company at all. Unify them under one name, in one package, similar to what NVIDIA has done with their Forceware, and I think the uGuru package can only get better.
If the overclocking ability of the AV8 is in contention, note that I mentioned on the software page that getting our Athlon 64 FX-53 processor to run at 267 MHz FSB was not a problem, and I think using a lower speed Athlon 64, that has a newer stepping on it would increase that bus speed even more. In either case, running at a memory speed of 533 MHz only adds to the speed and power that the Athlon 64 processor has!
With all this, the price of the Abit AV8 is still under $120!
The Abit AV8 motherboard has more than earned this award, as it truly is a motherboard made for the enthusiast and overclocker. Even though it doesn’t beat all the other Athlon 64 boards in terms of pure features, the Abit AV8 motherboard excels where overclockers and enthusiasts need it most, and that is why we are awarding it an Editor’s Choice!
How would you like to compare the AV8 to other motherboards on the same platform? Or other platforms? Have you checked out our Product Specs section at PC Perspective yet? If not, I suggest you take a look. It’s a work in progress, but progress is going very quickly! You can use it to compare this very motherboard, the AV8, to other Abit boards and other Socket 939 motherboards, in a simple, easy to view table format. Let us know what you think!!
Check out some prices on the Abit AV8 Motherboard!
Check out some prices on the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor!