Conclusions and Final Thoughts
For this review I used the older mainstream 945P chipset, to compare to the newer 965P chipset with added Core 2 Duo support. Once the 1.5 official BIOS was made available all the stability and RAM compatibility issues I experienced disappeared. The 965P does sport a new improved memory controller, but this didn’t really show up in the synthetic memory benchmarks. I believe this had more to do with the fact the 945P has been on the market much longer and thus Asus has had more time refining it compared to the relatively new P965 AB9 Pro. In the benchmarks where a large gap was discovered, the AB9 Pro took the crown.
The AB9 Pro features a very clean user friendly BIOS layout. Most of the settings listed in the BIOS gives a short description to help guide you through the proper settings. The voltage and overclocking options lend to a wide range of overclocking possibilities. The total fan speed, system warnings, and shutdown control also helps to keep your system quiet, while removing some system failure risk by shutting down when a fan fails or set values are exceeded.
For its price point this board does pack a fair amount of features in. Nine SATA ports has you well prepared for when the optical market switches to SATA, and no worries here about setting up a large RAID array and not having connections left to run other drives. Ten USB 2.0 ports won’t leave you wanting in the peripheral department either, and the uGuru system software is perfect for those of us constantly changing system settings. It lets you perform some major fan and system tweaking right from windows.
The included HD audio produced decent results in the sound test and is capable of Dolby Digital Live! real-time encoding. The two integrated Gigabit Ethernet connections is a nice feature for people without switches or routers as it will you to network another home PC while you’re hooked up to your internet connection at the same time.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, the Abit AB9 Pro is widely available online and can be found for prices at just about $150.00 (Newegg has the AB9 Pro for $145.99 at time of publishing). This places in the Abit AB9 Pro in the category of being a feature rich and affordable mid-range P965 Board.
After some initial stability and RAM compatibility issues that were resolved in the v1.5 BIOS update, the Abit AB9 Pro faired better in most of the benchmarks used here. This is no surprise as the main benefit of P965 chipset over the P945 is the added Core 2 Duo support and a slightly improved memory controller. This improvement gives a slight lead to the AB9 Pro in the majority of the benchmarks. If you looking for a Core 2 Duo board with loads of SATA support, the AB9 Pro fits the bill. Some memory tests show the Abit AB9 Pro slower, but this is likely due to the early BIOS, so expect things to improve over time. In terms of board design, there is strange IDE and floppy drive placement around the PCI slots but this does not keep me from recommending this board as a very capable mid-range P965 board.
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