After a very rough period that saw ABIT almost wiped
out, the company has risen from the ashes of its former self. ABIT merged
with its close partner Universal Scientific Industrial, and earlier this year re-launched
as Universal ABIT. The new company has for the time being given up on previous attempts
to capture the entry level and mainstream markets, and instead has focused on
the high end side of things. So far, the quality and innovation seem to be there, but it's still a bit of a gamble if Universal ABIT will hit the performance highs it once so easily captured...
Scanning through ABIT's product lineup of late is
like reading the menu at an enthusiasts restaurant - it's easy to
see that ABIT is taking its new role seriously and
producing performance oriented motherboards that may just rival the
great LanParty series from DFI. Heat pipe based chipset cooling systems
that operate silently, board level motherboard cooling fans, a peppering of LEDs for that special effect, outstanding voltage options in the BIOS and good overclocking ability - ABIT has crossed its i's and dotted its t's.
The ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X motherboard PCSTATS is
evaluating today is a prime example of what lengths ABIT is traveling to demonstrate its prowess. The FATAL1TY AN9 32X motherboard has a nice chipset and MOSFET cooling system, comes with a mountain of accessories, and certainly looks great in striking shades of red and black.
||ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X Motherboard
User's Manual, MicroGuru Manual, Driver CD, Quick Installation
Guide, Rounded Ultra/133 IDE Cable, Rounded Floppy Cable,
6x Serial ATA Cables, USB/IEEE1394a Header Bracket, SLI Retention
Bracket, Slot Fan, I/O Shield, Audio Daughter
The ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X is built on the flagship nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
'C51XE' chipset and MCP55PXE Southbridge. The board supports socket AM2 AMD
Athlon64/FX/X2 and Sempron processors, and thus 64-bit and 32-bit operating
systems. There are four DDR2 memory slots which accommodate up to 8GB of
DDR2-800 RAM. On board goodies offer nothing less than dual PCI Express x16
slots and nVidia SLI compatibility at a full 16 PCI Express lanes apiece, dual
GigABIT Ethernet network jacks, an Intel Azalia High Definition 7.1 channel
audio controller, IEEE 1394a 400Mpbs Firewire, and six 3GB/s SATA 2 jacks for
storage devices. An audio daughter card provides every imaginable option for
truly mind-blowing multi-channel speaker systems, leaving the rear I/O largely
free of ports. If anything, that's the one downside to ABITs motherboards, but
we'll discuss this in a moment.
When it comes to peripheral expansion we find two PCI Express x1 slots for
high bandwidth devices, a 32 bit PCI slot, and the two PCI Express x16 SLI
compatible slots for videocards. Data storage is supported by one single Ultra
133 IDE channel and six 3GB/s SATA II ports. Nvidia RAID (0/1/0+1/5/JBOD) comes
standard with the nForce 590SLI chipset of course. There are four USB2.0 jacks
at the back of the board, three USB2.0 headers (for six additional jacks) and
two IEEE1394 headers too.
The FATAL1TY AN9 32X motherboard retails for $200 CDN ($173 US, £88 GBP),
which is about average for a high end nForce 590 SLI AMD motherboard these days.
The big question on our minds is whether the AN9 32X is really built for the
gamer at heart? Does it have enough of what a gamer needs? Well, actually...