The Abit AA8 DuraMAX motherboard based on the Intel 925X chipset once again continues Abit’s pattern of great motherboard offerings.
The features that Abit has included on the AA8 should be more than enough for nearly any user; enthusiast, overclocker, power-user, you name it. Having included Serial ATA and RAID support courtesy of Intel’s ICH6R south bridge, storage performance and capacity shouldn’t be an issue. There is one caveat to this configuration though and that lies in the single IDE channel that the south bridge supports giving upgrading users only two IDE devices. Anyone that was planning on taking their two optical drives and a couple of IDE hard drives is going to have to make the switch to SATA drives if they want to use this board. If Abit had included another IDE controller chip to provide a couple more IDE channels on the AA8, I think this board would have been nearly perfect.
Looking at the rest of the features on the AA8, we see that pretty much everything else is covered. Abit has included a Gigabit network controller as well as Firewire support and of course lots of USB 2.0 ports. Abit also has the built-in 7.1 channel high definition audio from Intel on the board with all the necessary connections built on to the headers of the board.
Since this board is based on the 925X chipset and new Intel 775-pin processor package, the AA8 DuraMAX is ready for the future of graphics with support for PCI Express as well as new DDR2 memory technology.
The motherobard layout was well done by Abit’s engineers leaving room where it was necessary to cater to the high end user. The inclusion of a good quality heatsink and fan on the north bridge gives the overclocker a bit more room when tweaking the motherboard and having some fun with it.
The uGuru software is another good addition to this motherboard package, especially for users that have been interested in overclocking their systems but have either been timid about it or didn’t know where to start. The OCGuru software gives them a good place to start that is usually pretty safe but still shows some results. Abit’s tech support in the US is growing with the addition of software like BlackBox and buyers should definitely pay attention to things of that nature when buying PC products. The ability to flash the BIOS from Windows is another good feature for everyone including those like myself who have been trying to get away from the dreaded floppy drive for some time.
For overclockers, the Abit AA8 DuraMAX will definitely peak your interest. It has a BIOS that offers pretty much all you could ask for in terms of features and options and the performance of the AA8, overclocking to a FSB of 264 MHz with a retail Intel 520 processor, is the best we have yet seen in the PC Perspective test labs. Abit’s dedication to the overclocker is definitely working out for the best.
While looking at the pure benchmark numbers that we showed in our review may put the AA8 DuraMAX behind the Asus P5AD2 motherboard in terms of speed, taking into account the oddity of Asus’ 202 MHz bus speed and the fact that the Abit board regularly out-performed the Intel 925X motherboard, we can’t dock Abit at all for anything performance related. If anything, we would say that overclocking the Abit board to a 202 MHz bus speed as the Asus board was, would probably put the Abit AA8 at least on equal footing.
When looking at the price of the AA8 DuraMAX motherboard, we find it for sale in the $160 range on our PriceGrabber engine, while the competing Asus P5AD2 Premium motherboard priced over $100 more at $260! Though you do get some features on the P5AD2 motherboard, like wireless networking and 2 more IDE channels, the $100 price difference could easily be moved over to a better processor or maybe an upgrade in your graphics card. Abit has succeeded where no other motherboard manufactuer has yet by making a motherboard available for the 775-pin platform that is both high performance, loaded with features, and low cost!
Just like the Abit AV8 motherboard for the AMD performance platform, the AA8 DuraMAX is a blazing fast motherboard with all the extras overclockers and enthusiasts are looking for. Anyone planning to make the jump into the PCI Express graphics world with Intel’s new platform will definitely want to give the Abit AA8 DuraMAX motherboard strong consideration. Due to their great feature set as well as the outstanding overclocking experience we had, not to mention the best priced Intel 925X motherboard we could find, we once again offer Abit our Editor’s Choice award for their AA8 DuraMAX motherboard.
How would you like to compare the AA8 DuraMAX 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 AA8 DuraMAX, to other Abit boards and other LGA775 motherboards, in a simple, easy to view table format. Let us know what you think!!
Check out some prices on the Abit AA8 DuraMAX Motherboard!
Check out some prices on the Intel 560 Processor!