Included Extras and Software
The AA8 DuraMAX package is similar to the one we saw with the AV8 motherboard; there is a quick install manual, a detailed user manual, a book with the descriptions, and help for the uGuru software as well. There are 4 SATA cables, an IDE cable, and a floppy cable as well as the header for 2 additional USB and Firewire connectors.
(This section reprinted from our AV8 review, as the software is unchanged.)
One of Abit’s strong points lies in their collection of Abit-designed software to work with your system.
The single CD contains all the drivers, manuals in PDF format and utilities that are included and you install the uGuru software from here as well. The uGuru software is actually four programs contained under one name, in conjunction with the BIOS features that they can interact with. These programs are the Abit EQ, Abit BlackBox, Abit FlashMenu and Abit OCGuru.
Abit EQ allows you to monitor voltages, temperatures and fan speeds in your Windows operating system. Abit has included nearly all the voltages available for your reference here from Vcore to the different power supply rail voltages. If your motherboard has the varying fans on-board, you can monitor their RPMs, though here we just have the CPU fan being monitored as that is all that is installed. At the top you can see the temperatures being monitored as well.
If you prefer a more consise look at your system, you can use this Abit EQ’s options screen to select or deselect any of the components to be monitored.
The Abit BlackBox software is compared to an aircraft’s black box in the uGuru manual. When your system has a problem, you can submit it to Abit via this program. It can auto detect all of your system specs including software and hardware, and it submits it along with your description directly to Abit technical support. They will email you back at the address you provide in User Info with a potential solution. It is great to see manufacturers finding unique ways to support their customers!
This is one of the best features for motherboards, in my humble opinion. With the Abit FlashMenu program you can download a new bios and update your motherboard all through windows. By clicking the LiveUpdate, the program will even fetch the latest bios; no more hunting through websites to find the bios and downloading it yourself. Of course, if you still wish to do that, you can update your bios from a file you have on your PC as well. Thanks to apps like this, we are another step closer to throwing away our floppy drives.
Finally, we come to the beast of the uGuru suite, the OC Guru. This is Abit’s interpretation of overclocking through Windows and directly interacting with your bios settings. It allows you to overclock on the fly as well. Here we see the app running at default settings, where the FSB is set to 200 MHz and all else remains unchanged.
In Turbo mode, the system chose a 16 MHz FSB increase to improve our processor frequency a total of 192 MHz. Notice that every voltage was increased as well, but the AGP/PCI bus remains stable at 33/66 MHz, showing that Abit has their PCI/AGP lock working.
Clicking on the AutoDrive icon takes us here, where we can select an OC Guru mode for an individual application. Here you can see that we have set up Content Creation Winstone to use our “Quiet” mode. The Abit OC Guru software notes when we start this EXE file and dynamically changes the overclocking settings to whatever I have defined in the “Quiet” settings. You can do this with any number of applications including games, where you might want to overclock a bit more than normal.
Configuring another preset is the same as accessing the SoftMenu, and here’s what you see. You can adjust the bus speed and voltages here.
These screens allow you to edit the fan speeds and temperature settings for each preset. The CPU, NB and SB are all done in the same fashion.