Abit takes motherboards to the MAX
Abit has always been one to push the limits, but they've really outdone themselves this time. The MAX concept, unveiled today, is just what the motherboard world needs. Check the more notable features of Abit's new line:
That's right, there are no PS/2 or serial connectors on the MAX line of motherboards. Really, though, how many people actually need them anymore?
4-Channel UDMA 133 RAID
Abit always seems to have one more DIMM slot than the competition, and that's going to continue. Now, with MAX, they're going to have two more IDE RAID channels than anyone, letting you connect a grand total of 12 IDE devices. At the very least, this should mean none of your IDE devices should ever have to share a channel with each other.
This doesn't really break much new ground, but it does bring Abit up to date with the rest of the market. No AC'97 here, just full 6-channel sound with digital input and output.
Front panel access to common media ports is something I've been longing for ever since they started putting extra USB ports on the PCI backplane. MediaXP moves some USB and audio ports up front, and it looks like it might just include slots for some of the more common solid state media formats.
On-board 10/100 LAN
IEEE 1394a and USB 2.0
I'm not sure I even know anyone that doesn't have an Ethernet card in their PC, so on-board LAN is a no-brainer. Throw in three IEEE 1394a ports, and a whopping ten USB 2.0 ports, and you've got the makings of quite the multimedia hub.
A lot of the MAX concept deals with device interfaces, but Abit hasn't forgotten its performance roots. As you would expect, the MAX line will feature the exquisite SoftMenu III BIOS interface, and a suite of hardware monitoring utilities.
Honestly, it's been a while since I was excited about a motherboard, but the MAX concept has me almost giddy. About the only thing it's missing is Serial ATA, but I'm sure that will come with time. With MAX motherboards for both Intel and AMD platforms, it looks like the bar might just have been raised again.