Even without the legacy-free design, the AT7 MAX is a sure-fire winner by virtue of its integrated peripherals. Abit's MAX moniker couldn't be more appropriate. An integrated NIC, 6-channel audio, Firewire, USB 2.0, and 4-port IDE RAID make for quite a packed spec sheet. All these integrated peripherals come at the expense of PCI slots, but most users should be just fine with the three slots the AT7 provides.
Apart from its stacked feature set, the AT7 MAX is all about getting rid of legacy ports. For users with legacy peripherals, the AT7 might be a hard sell, even with many USB-to-legacy port adapters available. However, if you're starting from scratch there's really no reason to be buying into legacy components that may soon go the way of ISA.
A legacy-reduced motherboard might not mean that much to most users, but it could be a big push forward for the industry. I see the AT7 MAX as a case study that can prove the viability of legacy free mainstream PC platforms. It's a first step that may eventually lead to truly legacy-free platforms, but that line's a hard sell for someone just looking for a motherboard.
You might be wondering: What happened to our world-famous 11-point rating scale? We found it harder and harder to assign a number to a product arbitrarily, especially when our conclusions give a much more complete picture of the things we like and don't like. From now on, exceptional products at the top of their classes will get our Recommended award. Particularly impressive offerings, like the AT7 MAX, will receive our Editor's Choice award.
150 comments — Last by Anonymous at 3:54 AM on 11/30/02
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