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ABIT KV8-MAX3 Athlon64 Motherboard Review

ABIT KV8-MAX3 Athlon64 Motherboard Review  - PCSTATS
Abstract: The KV8-MAX3 is an Socket 754 Athlon64 motherboard based on the venerable, and highly recommendable VIA K8T800 chipset.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ABIT Mar 30 2004   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ABIT KV8-MAX3

OTES, Secure IDE and µGuru

Ask any enthusiast about their MOSFETs and you'll no doubt hear that they run hot. In fact it's common for MOSFET to run 70+ degrees Celsius, creating a large hot spot in the PC. To help deal with this situation, and hopefully decrease internal case temperatures, ABIT equip the MAX3-series with proprietory OTES cooling system.

Essentially, this is a small 40x40m fan alongside the PS/2 ports which exhausts warm air out by the IO connectors. A special plastic duct directs air over the bare MOSFETs before it is blown out by the fan at the rear of the case.

With the system running, the MOSFETs ran pretty cool, but as to whether this helps our overclocking or stabilizes the voltage to the various devices attached to the motherboard I'm not so sure. Is it peace of mind, or just a marketing tool? The jury is still out on that question.

ABIT's Secure IDE

Another neat feature that ABIT has introduced with their MAX3 line of motherboards is the Secure IDE hardware encryption for the HDD's.

What this is, is essentially a small IDE-to-IDE circuit board adaptor that goes between the HDD and the IDE cable. Built around an X-Wall LX-40 ASIC chip, the circuitry uses a 40-bit DES (US Data Encryption Standard) to encrypt and decrypt the data as it is stored or accessed from the hard drive. Secure IDE is compatible with all operating systems since it is a hardware-level device, and uses zero CPU or memory resources to do it's job. The device provides realtime encryption and can handle transfers of up to 1.6Gb/s (200MB/s).

On the actual Secure IDE board there's a floppy drive power connector, Master/Slave settings as well as a Ultra100/133 jumper indicator. The last nine pin connector is for the lock which installs into an open expansion bracket in the back of the case. The cable is 1m in length which should be long enough to reach the front of your PC. The actual lock and key look exactly like an IEEE 1394a device, but are anything but.

Note that before you attach the Secure IDE device to your hard drive you must back up your system because you'll need to create a new partition and reinstall all your software. Once all that is done you won't notice that you have the Secure IDE device hooked up to a PC other than having to insert the key into the lock.

If someone steals a computer without the security key in place, the motherboard will not even detect the hard drive at POST.

The system is pretty powerful, but the most obvious problem that may arise is if you lose both your keys, or the Secure IDE device fails for any reason, you're pretty much out of luck. No matter what we tried we could not retrieve any data from the HDD even if we stoped using Secure IDE. So, this is a good tool, but not for everyone certainly.

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Contents of Article: ABIT KV8-MAX3
 Pg 1.  ABIT KV8-MAX3 Athlon64 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Serial ATA and IDE
 Pg 3.  — OTES, Secure IDE and µGuru
 Pg 4.  ABIT's µGuru
 Pg 5.  The ABIT BIOS
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SysMark2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2002, Winbench 99
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: PCMark2002, 3DMark2001, AquaMark3
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2 The Threat, UT2003

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