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Abit "FATAL1TY AN8" NVIDIA NF4 Ultra Chipset Motherboard

Sponsored

by

EastLuna.com

   This is the first Abit motherboard we have reviewed and to be honest, I was impressed from the start. After seeing the Pentium line and how well that performed at the CES 2005 show this year, I was really interested in the new AMD 939 motherboard "Fatal1ty" was working on. Abit and Wendel worked together to design a streamline version of the standard AN8 Abit board. This nVidia 4 motherboard is designed with the extreme gamer or over clocker in mind. You will see in this article Abit did it right... Let's take a closer look. To find out more about Fatal1ty we did an article on him and his booth at the CES2005 expo, feel free to check it out.

Specs:

Processor
- AMD Athlon 64/64FX 939-pin K8 CPU
- 2GHz system bus using Hyper Transport Technology
- AMD CPU Cool ‘n’ Quiet Technology

Memory
- Four 184-pin DIMM sockets
- Support 4 DIMM Dual DDR 400/333/266 non-ECC memory
- Support 4 DIMM up to 4GB Max.

Chipset
- NVIDIA NF4 Ultra single chip
- Integrated NV Gigabit Ethernet and NV Firewall

NV SATA RAID
- Supports SATA 3Gbps data transfer rate
- SATA RAID 0/1/0+1 JBOD

NV GbE LAN
- NVIDIA Gigabit Ethernet via NF4 Ultra

NV Firewall
- Native NVIDIA Firewall via NF4 Ultra

IEEE1394
- Support IEEE 1394 at 400/200/100 Mb/s transfer rate

Audio
- 5.1-channel Audio Card
- Optical S/P DIF In/Out

Internal I/O Connectors
- 1 PCI-E X16 slot, 2 PCI-Express X1 slots
- 3 PCI slots, 1 x ABIT Audio slot
- 1x Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB
- 2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 Connectors
- 4 x SATA 3G Connectors
- 3 x USB headers, 1 x IEEE1394 header

Back Panel I/O
- 1 x IEEE1394 Connector
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
- 4 x USB+ 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector

Dimension
- ATX form factor 305 * 245mm

Package
- 1 x Audio Card
- 1 x Back panel I/O shield
- 4 x SATA cables
- 1 x ATA 133 IDE Cable, 1 x FDD cable
- 1 x USB2.0 + IEEE1394 cable
- 1 x A5 standard User’s Manual
- 1 x A5 uGuru User’s Manual
- 1 x B5 multilingual Quick Installation Guide
- 1 x CD title, 1 x SATA Driver Disk
- 1 x ABIT Case Badge, 1 x Jumper Setting Label

 

  Features:  

μGuru
Exclusive ABIT Engineered motherboard technology designed for unprecedented power, convenience, and control over your PC.

OTES RAMFlow™
ABIT Engineers innovate yet again with the world's first memory thermal solution on a desktop motherboard. This special cooler adjusts according to system loading for automatic fan speed adjustment.

Copper Chipset Cooler
Copper chipset cooler conducts and dissipatesd heat from the chipset thres times more efficiently than aluminum.

SATA 3Gb/s
Doubles bus bandwidth which provides blazingly high disk performance.

NVIDIA Native Gigabit Ethernet
The industry's fastest Gigabit Ethernet performance eliminates network bottlenecks and improves overall system efficiency and performance

NVIDIA Firewall
NVIDIA Firewall protects your PC from intruders by filtering unauthorized traffic. Integrated into NVIDIA nForce4 MCPs, it provides professional grade traffic inspection capabilities, instant on protection, advanced management features. NVIDIA Firewall will also utilize the NVIDIA ActiveArmor secure networking engine.

MOSFET Thermal Solution
With a special layout and heatsinks, this exclusive PWM design keeps all MOSFET < 50C and promotes rapid heat dissipation around the CPU.

Dual OTES™
Exhaust heat from your PC like never before with Dual OTES cooling technology. Works with ABIT FanEQ™ to automatically adjust fan speeds for the optimal balance of thermal and acoustic performance.

On-board LEDs
A godsend for case modders, ultra-bright LEDs surround the motherboard for a stunning futuristic look.

AudioMAX Technology
Reduces noise interference from high frequency signals with an independent card for outstanding 5.1-channel audio quality.

BulletProof Technology
Uncompromising quality, stability and reliability for the end user. Top quality components such as 100% Japanese capacitors provide unmatched reliability. Each motherboard is painstakingly assembled, and then put through the Torture Test, ensuring a product that stands up to the heat of battle. With BulletProof Technology, the Fatal1ty AA8XE delivers advanced durability for the discerning gamer.

Product Page


Price:

   210.00 USD Purchase Link

Installation:

   We will not be going into every detail when discussing the installation due to the large amount of possible installations, but rather we will highlight the main features about the install that are different from the norm. So don't expect a step by step, that would take forever and to be honest, that is what the install documentation is for.

  The first feature I would like to discuss is the power connector for the motherboard itself. It uses a 24 pin rather then the standard 20 pin so make sure you either have a 20 to 24-pin cross or that your power supply comes stock with the 24 pin. Be prepared to have the 24 pin power connector, because there is nothing worse then getting a new toy without the batteries to play it..

   The next feature we will be highlighting is the RAM installation. Using your standard 184 pin DDR install them according to the documentation, either Dual Channel mode or single channel. What I wanted to really discuss was the "OTES" cooling system. The "OTES" unit for the RAM has a dual 30mm fan placed over the memory to dissipate the heat created by the memory sticks. The unit just snaps on over the RAM mounting clips and plugs into your stock 3-pin motherboard fan power. It is very easy and a great idea for minimizing heat buildup from those long LAN parties or heavy, lengthy usage. The unit snaps into place 1.2.3. and runs quiet and cool.  I was very impressed with this.

   Please also note all of the cables Abit provides, which is everything that is needed for all configurations on this motherboard. 4 SATA cables, Rounded IDE and Floppy cables external Fire Wire and USB hook ups. This is quite a savings, probably 40 to 60 USD just in cables alone.. Abit even provides a power converter for SATA from your standard 4-pin Molex connector.

   The Fatal1ty AN8 board also comes with a Codec "nVidia" audio controller that has its own audio port and very good software to control any environment or setup you may use. Installation of the audio card is very similar to most PCI installs, just slide the card into the connector and fasten the card to the case using a screw.  Make sure after installing the drivers and sound control panel to look and make sure you have the speaker's layouts correct, just designate if you are using two, four, six speakers or a headset in the Abit audio EQ utillity. The software also contains a test feature that allows you to make sure everything is correct.

   Software installation went quite smoothly.  I encountered no errors and was very pleased not only with the drivers, but with the applications and utilities provided by Abit to control the motherboard from Windows. Just follow the prompts during the software installation shell and everything should perform properly.

   The final part of the installation I wanted to mention is the BIO's.  Abit uses a standard Phoenix Award BIO's with some extras. The "uGuru" technology can be accessed either using the BIO's or using the Windows "uGuru" control panel. You will notice that all of your standard features are here just like many competitors. However, there are also a lot of drive controllers and other important items detailed very in depth in the user manual, so take your time to read over the installation manual carefully. Also note it is very important to make sure you have the correct memory latency settings or you will have booting problems. In this case I was using the Corsair XMS memory and it did not auto set properly, I had to adjust this manually.

 

Appearance:

   I must say this motherboard is one of the flashiest AMD boards I have yet to come in contact with. "ABIT" and "Wendel"  do a great job of adding lots of extras for your gaming enthusiast.. The entire back side of the board appears to have LED's spaced out so that the board glows a sick red.  The LED's also show through the OTES South bridge fan unit. The OTES cover appears to be a solid black until you turn this bad boy on, then the entire plastic enclosure is translucent. I can't stress enough how pleased I am with the overall look and feel of this unit.  Between the copper chipset cooler and the RAM cooling system this board pulls out all the stops to satisfy every persons visual preference. 

There is however one part I was disappointed with,  that is the rear interface panel that snaps into place on the rear of the PS case. The cover is used to protect the board near the PS2, USB, and  COM port adapters.  I can almost guarantee that this tin piece was made for the Intel A8 series board cause the piece just doesn't line up right. Don't get me wrong the plate will fit and your motherboard will be usable, it is just that the plate is a little off hilter so installing the PS2 and network cables is a little tougher. Not to mention that the second RJ45 port hole is on this unit so you have a blank hole. This is not something to be overly worried about, it is just "one of those things." I hope Wendel and Abit rethink the use of this plate for the next rev. How does the old saying go "Penny wise Pound foolish". With all the effort put into the design and quality of the board itself, to save cost on a small item such as the rear plate, I hope, was an oversight.

Performance:

  Performance can be measured in many ways. We are going to look at a few different aspects. We will be using some basic benchmarking software like PCMark04 and a tools using FPS video games.  When talking about performance you must also talk about other things like software and usability as well. We will also discuss many of the software utilities that Abit and Wendel use to make this board a great piece of hardware...

   Let's begin with the hardware. Below are the detailed results using PCMark04 from Future Mark. As you can see, this unit using defaults settings screams. Please note we used a PowerColor X800 Pro 256meg Video card and 2 x 512 meg Corsair XMS 184 pin PC3200 RAM. Also note your results will probably be even better if using a SATA interface for the hard drive, we decided to use IDE for this review because you can then compare the results more closely to many of the other results on our benchmark page. Also note when using a performance striping RAID that the AN8 board will perform even better. Keep your eyes open on our benchmark page because we are planning on doing a comparison study in the future using different raid types and hard drive interfaces. Back to the results, as you can see even with the RAM and CPU at base levels it performs exceptional and stable to boot. Something you can't see from the results is the stability. You will need to take my word for this, while running the tests suites the board remained remarkably cool...

   There was one performance feature I was hoping to see on this board that is not present. That was the Dual LAN like on the Pentium style AA8 Fatal1ty board. Unfortunately the dual LAN is not available on the AN8. I am hoping it is added in future AMD chipsets.


PCMark04 Test Results

General Information

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP
DirectX Version 9.0c
Mobo Manufacturer http://www.abit.com.tw/
Mobo Model AN8 Series(NF-CK804)
AGP Rates (Current/Available) 0x /
CPU AMD Athlon(tm) 64 2009 MHz
Physical CPUs 1
HyperThreading Not Available
FSB 201 MHz
Memory 1024 MB

 

Display Information

Graphics Chipset ATI RADEON X800
Driver Name RADEON X800 Series
Driver Version 6.14.10.6490
Video Memory 256 MB
Core Clock 391 MHz
Memory Clock 351 MHz

 

Sound Information

Sound Adapter Driver Name Realtek AC97 Audio
Sound Adapter Driver Version 5.10.0.5770

 

Hard Disk Information

Model WDC WD1600JB-00EVA0
Connection IDE
Capacity 149.05 GB

 

Benchmark Information

Program Version PCMark04 Revision 3 Build 0

Main Test Results

System Test Suite 4029 PCMarks
CPU Test Suite 3825
Memory Test Suite 4984


Detailed PCMark04 Test Results

System Test Suite

Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression 2.76 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption 30.96 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression 24.97 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing 11.98 MPixels/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning 2360.98 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check 3.27 KB/s
File Decryption 61.09 MB/s
Audio Conversion 2616.38 KB/s
Web Page Rendering 4.36 Pages/s
WMV Video Compression 47.62 FPS
DivX Video Compression 60.73 FPS
Physics Calculation and 3D 172.94 FPS
Graphics Memory - 64 Lines 2372.64 FPS

 

CPU Test Suite

Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression 3.1 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption 30.54 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression 25.41 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing 12.07 MPixels/s
Grammar Check 5.54 KB/s
File Decryption 60.13 MB/s
Audio Conversion 2635.2 KB/s
WMV Video Compression 48.07 FPS
DivX Video Compression 60.66 MFPS

 

Memory Test Suite

Raw Block Read - 8 MB 5986.04 MB/s
Raw Block Read - 4 MB 6117.56 MB/s
Raw Block Read - 192 kB 9809.15 MB/s
Raw Block Read - 4 kB 25443.36 MB/s
Raw Block Write - 8 MB 5466.07 MB/s
Raw Block Write - 4 MB 5466.14 MB/s
Raw Block Write - 192 kB 6342.22 MB/s
Raw Block Write - 4 kB 19372.93 MB/s
Raw Block Copy - 8 MB 2384.61 MB/s
Raw Block Copy - 4 MB 2396.14 MB/s
Raw Block Copy - 192 kB 4117.45 MB/s
Raw Block Copy - 4 kB 10321.04 MB/s
Random Access - 8 MB 2907.56 MB/s
Random Access - 4 MB 2920.04 MB/s
Random Access - 192 kB 6147.09 MB/s
Random Access - 4 kB 13030.7 MB/s

 

   We also ran this board through a few CPU tests using Unreal Tournament 2003 and a script from HardOCP. The results are for both OpenGL and Direct3D rendering. Again this board performed great. While watching the script run I was amazed at the speed in witch this script completed its cycle. The changing screens in the test script went by so fast my eyes could barely keep up.

Unreal Tournament 2003 CPU Bench

  Low FPS
3D Rendering Resolution dm-antalus Low Latency dm-antalus default
OpenGL 1024x768 8.698505 4.524175
Direct 3D 1024x768 47.951874 8.864343
OpenGL 1280x1024 44.214741 45.949905
Direct 3D 1280x1024 8.180452 8.229813


  Average FPS
3D Rendering Resolution dm-antalus Low Latency dm-antalus default
OpenGL 1024x768 252.496063 255.744110
Direct 3D 1024x768 196.394547 187.515656
OpenGL 1280x1024 201.109360 201.955963
Direct 3D 1280x1024 185.684036 184.217209


 High FPS
3D Rendering Resolution dm-antalus Low Latency dm-antalus default
OpenGL 1024x768 925.970276 955.425171
Direct 3D 1024x768 889.583679 901.624390
OpenGL 1280x1024 684.569641 653.927002
Direct 3D 1280x1024 891.351868 905.268311

This test was run using the Direct3D & OpenGl Rendering Engine
This test was run using the demo version of Unreal Tournament 2003

This test was run using utility provided by [H]ard|OCP

   Now let me tell you a little bit about the software provided with the AN8 "Fatal1ty" motherboard. We will start with the nVidia Firewall software. The installation went very smooth and the utility seems to perform very well. You can configure the response in many ways. By default the firewall will inform you every time an application will try and access the internet for information. I was a little worried seeing that I play a lot of online games and I didn't want the firewall to interfere with my game play. To my surprise the software only asked once for each game and with the selection to trust these events, the PC performed well with no lockouts from the firewall.  I tried EverQuest, Battle Field 1942, Star Wars Battle Front, Doom3, and Unreal Tournament. All of these games performed flawlessly with no interruptions other then their first connection to the server. Please note that I used default settings (medium) and you can customize the security you wish to have. The utility also allows for security logs and statistics so you know who and what got through the application.

   The next piece of software I wanted to mention was the uGuru OC wizard interface. This software is designed to control all of your over clocking needs from Windows. This utility controls voltages, fan speeds, temperatures and frequencies. With multiple selections for CPU and Memory, you can have pre-sets when using the PC in different ways. For example, when gaming hard core and heat is an issue you can over clock the CPU and add speed to your cooling fans in order to increase performance on the fly when needed. Fatal1ty provides some presets so you can see what they do and even use them as references to customize your own presets.

Quality:

   There are many things we need to cover when talking about the quality of this motherboard. Let's begin with the packaging, seeing that it is the first thing a person will see when buying this product. The overall look and usability in this aspect is superior to most of the other manufacturers I have seen. The board is encased in a cardboard frame locking the unit into place and also protecting it from any damage that might occur in shipping. Abit takes special care in packaging, not only the motherboard but the add on Audio card as well. Underneath the motherboard box are two other boxes containing all the software and extras, the rounded floppy and IDE cables and all four SATA cables as well. Note to mention the stylish look of the exterior that shows off the main selling features when you open the flip top lid.

   Let's now talk about the board itself. Seeing this is the first motherboard Marns CDA has reviewed from Abit, I wasn't sure what to expect, but after using this unit for a week or so I can attest to the superior quality of the manufacturing of this board. With the "Bulletproof" technology and OTES cooling system this is by far one of the best over clocking boards I have used. With the "uGuru" Windows interface even the novice PC enthusiast will have no problem dabbling in over clocking their 939 AMD CPU. This is the first motherboard I have used that even adds cooling to the Southbridge with the aluminum heat sink and fan exhaust.

 

Pros:

LED readout is a big plus when figuring out problems with setup.

Motherboard control utility in windows is awesome.

Superior cooling on all components.

OTES system is above and beyond.

Raid and drive controls are superb.

Appearance is plan old beautiful the Red LED lighting a must see.

Multiple USB and Fire wire connections for internal and external use more then many others competitors.

Cons:

Rear tin motherboard panel is not made for this board.

Conclusion:

   When it comes to gaming and over clocking this is by far one of the best boards for the job. All of the software is designed to make over clocking easy and less harmful to your equipment.. I am very pleased to award the AN8 "Fatal1ty" motherboard our highest honor, the coveted "Editors Choice Trophy of Excellence" for a superior product designed "for" the PC enthusiast "by" a PC enthusiast.. Congratulations Abit and Fatal1ty for creating an incredible  product! 

 

Rating: 6 out of 6 Stars

Review Date: 03/30/05

Reviewer: pr101j (Paul)

 

Feel free to make comments concerning this review on our message board HERE.

Company Info

 

 

Home Page

Contact Page

E-mail Contacts
(CLICK ANY SPECIFIC LINK TO SEND AN E-MAIL)

Telephone & Fax

Local Phone:

(804) 796-2291

Toll Free:

1-800-336-2719

Fax:

1-443-264-2349

Mail Us

East Luna
6408 Husting Road
Chesterfield, VA 23832-6563

 

 

Home Page

Contact Page

ABIT Computer (USA) Corporation
45531 Northport Loop West
Fremont, California 94538
United States

Tel: (510) 623-0500
Fax: (510) 623-1092
The ABIT USA branch office services the North American market only. For other branch offices contact information please go to http://www.abit.com.tw.
 
  ABIT RMA Center     Technical Product Support
  45531 Northport Loop West
Fremont, California 94538 U.S.A.
Tel: 510-492-0882
Fax: 510-623-0443

For online RMA Requesting or Status Checking, please go to https://rma.abit-usa.com.
  Email our technical support center.
or call (510) 492-0968.

Self-Help Resources
 
 
  Sales Inquiries     Latin American Sales
Have a sales representative to contact you.
For accessory/parts order, please go to
ABIT USA Accessories
  ventas@abit-usa.com
Tel: 510-623-0500 ext 135

 
 
  Editors and Public Relations     Web Site Feedback
Need public relations support?
Please contact the marketing department at marketing@abit-usa.com.
  Report broken links, non-loading pages or other
Web site issues here.
.


 

 

 

 

Marns CDA

By

pr101j

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All other trademarks and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective owners. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction by permission only. General disclaimer: This website displays the personal opinions of authors and other contributors. Marns CDA assumes absolutely no liability for these opinions nor for any damages that may result from reading and/or implementing any material found on this website.

 

 

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