The FATAL1TY AN9 32X is ABIT's flagship Socket AM2 motherboard and thus comes with a lot of goodies. From its OTES GT cooling to the audio daughtercard, rounded cables and extra fans - ABIT certainly includes a lot here.
The first thing you'll notice about the ABIT FATAL1TY
AN9 32X is the cooling system ABIT employs. Dubbed OTES GT, The MCP55PXE
Southbridge is cooled by a small aluminum heatsink and heatpipe which then
transfers the heat towards a larger heatsink on the MOSFETs. From there the heat is expelled out of the system by the two 40mm fans on the rear I/O. The fans spin at a low RPM, and when the board is fully installed are not audible.
It's a good idea to keep this area clean of debris and dust. Should the fans fail, they can be removed and replaced with something else. The nVIDIA C51XE Northbridge is cooled by a medium sized aluminum heatsink and is designed use internal system airflow to keep temperatures at satisfactory levels.
The ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X may be a big board but there's little free space on the PCB. Instead of trying to fit the Intel Azalia High Definition audio controller circuitry onto the motherboard, ABIT opted for a separate audio daughter card. The soundcard connects through a proprietary slot which looks like a reverse PCI Express x1 slot, positioned at the bottom of the board. Both hardware and software installation is a breeze. Because its positioned at the bottom of the motherboard, it's out of the way of the other system devices too, which is nice.
The sound card has one optical SP/DIF output and SP/DIF / Line in jack, and five other standard 1/8" head phone jack speaker and audio inputs. The audio daughter cards also has a front panel header and CD-audio connector for internal audio devices like the CD-ROM.
Modern videocards generate a fair amount of heat and to
help keep the temperatures down, ABIT includes a simple slot cooler. Designed to
mount onto the case via the expansion slot screw holes, the
slim line 80mm fan blows air directly down onto the expansion cards; be it a videocard, TV tuner, or whatever. The fan plugs in with a three pin fan header, or via a three pin to molex converter to any standard power supply cable. There are plenty of fan headers on the ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X motherboard, so its best to use one of them for simplicities sake.
A SLI retention bracket is also provided, this a plane
PCI bracket with a small tab that rests upon the SLI bracket to keep it firmly
in place. The ABIT FATAL1TY AN9 32X also ships with an extra long rounded FDD
cable and clear rounted IDE cable. There is only one IDE channel, so only one IDE cable; at least its a good one though. The SATA II cables are all red as well, so colour coordination here gets top marks.