Abit's AA8 DuraMax motherboard
IT'S ALMOST RITUAL
by now. We follow up our evaluations of new Intel chipsets with reviews of third-party motherboards based on those chipsets, and the third-party mobos shed new light on the Intel chipsets. The most recent chipsets for Intel, of course, are the 915 and 925X Express series, which we reviewed not long ago
. These new core-logic bad boys pack in all kinds of novel features, including PCI Express, DDR2 memory, and high-definition audio. But for all the new goodies, they haven't shown much performance advantage over the 875P chipset that preceded them. Even the high-end 925X, with fast internal timings and 533MHz DDR2 memory, couldn't outrun its predecessor in our tests.
Now comes Abit's AA8 DuraMax motherboard, and things look different for a couple of reasons. First, Intel's 925X review kit didn't arrive at Damage Labs until a couple days before Intel pulled the curtain back on the product launch, so we didn't get time to tweak the Intel D925XCV mobo as we'd have liked. We've had some time to tweak and tune the AA8, and we've discovered a surprising amount of headroom in both the chipset and its associated DDR2 memory. Second, the Abit AA8 is a true enthusiast's mobo, with more tweakage options, voltage settings, and overclocking facilities than your average button-down corporate motherboard could even contemplate. Not only that, but the board is fast, stable, and robust enough to handle some abuse.
As a result, we've seen the 925X Express chipset in a new light, and we like what we see. Keep reading to find out more.