look a little different from Intel motherboards don't they? The most obvious
difference is that the northbridge is off by the rear IO ports. With an active
cooler on the VIA Northbridge to keep it cool, the heatsink seems to do a good
With the three-pin power
connector just off to one side by the main ATX power connector (and auxiliary
4-pin 12V power header), it's easily at hand for anyone looking to replace the
stock cooler with something a little more beefy.
The layout of the ABIT
KV8-MAX3 is nicely done, with the main ATX and ATX12V line placed together off
to the left of the CPU socket. Another thing I really like is that the first PCI
slot is spaced 30mm away from the AGP slot, so there is plenty of room for large
third party coolers, or even one of those two-PCI slot nVidia Geforce FX
Serial ATA is the future of
storage, and the ABIT KV8-MAX3 features an additional four channel Silicon Image
Sil3114CT176 Serial ATA/RAID controller for a total of six SATA
Six Serial ATA ports (two
native to the VIA VT8237 Southbridge) should definitely keep even the biggest
data-hog satisfied. I'm still holding onto plenty of IDE drives, so even though
ABIT have made a name for themselves going legacy free, an IDE RAID controller
would have been fantastic. Oh well, as they say; you can't have it all, all the
A Port 80 diagnostics card on
the lower right hand corner of the KV8-MAX3 can make the life of any enthusiast
all that much easier. To tell the truth, I have come to rely on Port80 so much
that when I move to a board that doesn't have one, I often feel lost!
GigABIT Ethernet is gaining a lot of
momentum, and just about the default network standard for any gaming board these
days. ABIT have included it here, care of the 3Com Marvell GigABIT NIC.
Considering the computer industry's addiction to more bandwidth, GigABIT
ethernet should become the wired standard in the very near future.