Abit AN8-Ultra Socket 939 Motherboard
Posted on: 30.12.2005 01:00:00

Installation using an SATA drive was easy, and the Drivers CD provided everything without a hiccup.  

Here is the bios feedback display in action.  There are a number of LED’s on the board, including the 2 multicoloured ones next to the display.

There are 4 more around the FET heatsinks…

and a few more on the Audiomax card.

The backplate looks a bit sparse without audio, but also notice: No parallel or serial ports.  Finally going the way of the dodo, but not good if you have any legacy devices.  If you do, it will be necessary to do something about it in the near future no matter what motherboard you buy.

The Nvidia firewall was easy to install, and the uGuru software was also a cinch.  Let’s look at that in bit more detail.

One of the more interesting parts of the uGuru software is the OC Guru, which allows you to pre-configure several different bios profiles in to load when required. This is a very useful tool, however what I found to be missing was the ability to change the CPU, HTT and RAM multipliers or dividers.  This makes over clocking from here limited to increasing or decreasing the FSB, not full control.  This is still useful, and it will automatically run profiles for specific programs, or on the fly as you are playing a game.

 

The other useful feature of the uGuru tools is the Abit EQ, which is basically a fan speed, voltage and temperature monitoring software. It does show every detail you need, however what I would have liked to see is the ability to display some of the readings in the system tray, as the panel is very large.

On to the Bios.

The bios for the AN8-Ultra is exceptional – giving enough tweaking options to compete with the DFI Lanparty boards.  Lets run through some of the screens.

Abit have gone with the Pheonix bios.  As you can see at the bottom, there are options to save and load Profiles.  A very handy feature.

In the uGuru page await all the overclocking settings.  For a start FSB goes from 200 to 410MHz…

VCore gives you options from 1.4 to 1.7, plus the ability to change the CPU reference.  DDR SDRAM Voltage has values from 2.5 to 3.4V, plus changes to the DDR Reference voltage allow even higher values (I’m not testing this out without active cooling for my RAM…)

The list of settings available for timings is about as much as any overclocker could want.  I would like to see the standard 4 settings top on this list, so when people look at the settings of 2-3-3-8 on their RAM, they can see the direct equivalent.  It could be argued that if you don’t know what they stand for, don’t change it, but I found that the ‘by SPD’ for my RAM got the RAS Precharge wrong for what it should be.  It took me a while to spot it.

Next Page: Overclocking




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