Buy the ARP T-Shirt! BIOS Optimization Guide Money Savers!

 20 August 2005
 Discuss here !
Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 33.0
Covering 628 desktop graphics cards, this comprehensive comparison allows you ... Read here
BIOS Option Of The Week - Virtualization Technology
Since 1999, we have been developing the BIOS Optimization Guide, affectionately known... Read here
Buy The BOG Book Subscribe To The BOG! Latest Money Savers!
ABIT AW8-MAX i955X Motherboard Review
Digg! Reddit!Add to Reddit | Bookmark this article:

ABIT AW8-MAX i955X Motherboard

At first glance, the ABIT AW8-MAX appears to have everything that an enthusiast could ever want in an Intel motherboard.

Powered by the new Intel i955X chipset, the AW8-MAX comes with support for dual-core Pentium 4 processors, 8GB of dual-channel DDR2 memory up to the 667MHz speed grade and PCIe X16. The new ICH7R south bridge now supports SATA II 3Gbps transfers, Intel Matrix RAID and SATA AHCI for command queuing and hot plugging capabilities.

Feature-wise, there's no way it can be compared to the ASUS P5AD2 Premium motherboard, which is really in a class of its own! All the basics are there, but it doesn't really offer much more than that. ABIT threw in additional logic like a Silicon Image 3132 SATA II controller, two Broadcom BCM5789 Netlink™ controllers, two Texas Instruments Firewire controllers and the µGuru chip. But only the Silicon Image controller and the 7.1-channel AudioMAX daughter card are features worth mentioning. However, simplicity is not necessary a bad thing. There's no point paying for features that you don't use, right?

ABIT has also not been stingy in their package. They have included a complete set of accessories with the motherboard, from SATA cables to a rounded ATA-66 cable. There's even an ABIT case badge in the package!

The ABIT AW8-MAX would have been a very nice motherboard, IF only everything worked as it should. But unfortunately, the current BIOS is not up to standards. There are still quite a few bugs that need to be fixed before this motherboard can realize its full potential.

We love the simpleness of the overclocking menu in the µGuru Utility. It's very easy to understand what each option does. You can overclock the motherboard without even referring to the manual. Since the menu isn't as complicated as some other motherboards, there isn't much to be tweaked.

Overclocking the AW8-MAX was certainly a lot easier than with the ASUS P5AD2 Premium. Thanks, no doubt, to the revised i955X chipset which allowed for a much higher FSB. But the voltage drop we noted was quite scary! The difference can reach 0.1V, which is really significant.

In our opinion, this is a well-balanced motherboard, when it comes to features, overclockability, and cost. Although it cannot beat the ASUS P5AD2 Premium when it comes to features, this motherboard is probably more than enough for most enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, it's marred by a buggy BIOS. As a result, the "CPU Accelerator" feature did not work properly and the board has bad memory compatibility issues. ABIT should be able to eventually solves these problems via BIOS updates, but until then, we just can't find ourselves giving ASUS any awards for this motherboard. Maybe when they work out the remaining issues but not before.

So, will we still recommend this motherboard to enthusiasts out there? Definitely! BUT make very sure your DDR2 modules have no problems working on this board!

For more details, read our Comprehensive Review !


• NA

Lowest PriceGrabber Price


Comprehensive Review

Processor Support

• Designed for Intel® Pentium® 4 / Pentium® D LGA775 processors with 1066/800MHz FSB
Supports Intel® Hyper-Threading / XD-bit / EM64T / EIST Technology


• Intel® 955X / Intel® ICH7R Express Chipset

Memory Support

• Four 240-pin DIMM sockets
• Supports Dual channel DDR2-667/533 Un-buffered Non-ECC memory
• Supports maximum memory capacity up to 8GB

LAN Support

• On board Dual PCI-E Gigabit LAN controller supports 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet

IDE Support (Primary)

Intel® Matrix Storage Technology supports RAID 0/1/5/10
Supports SATA AHCI, providing native command queuing and native hot plug

IDE Support (Additional)

• On board Silicon Image PCIE SATA 3G RAID controller

Audio Support

ABIT AudioMAX HD 7.1 channels Intel® High Definition Audio with Dolby Master Studio
Supports auto jack sensing and optical S/PDIF In/Out

Firewire Support

• Supports 2 Ports IEEE 1394b at 800 Mb/s transfer rate and 1 port 1394a

Special Features

ABIT µGuru™ 2005 Technology (ABIT OC Guru / ABIT EQ / ABIT Flash Menu / ABIT Black Box)
ABIT CPU ThermalGuard™ Technology
• ABIT AudioMAX HD 7.1 Technology

Internal I/O Connectors

• 1 x PCI-E X16 slot, 2 x PCI-E X1 slots
2 x PCI slots
1 x AudioMAX slot
1 x Floppy port
1 x UDMA 100/66/33 connector
6 x SATA connectors
2 x USB 2.0 headers, 2 x IEEE1394b headers
1 x FP-Audio header, 1 x CD-IN

Back Panel I/O

• ABIT SilentOTES™ Technology
1 x IEEE1394a
1 x PS/2 keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse
4 x USB 2.0
2 x RJ-45 Gigabit LAN


ATX Form Factor
305 x 245mm


• One AW8-MAX motherboard
• One IEEE1394b and USB module
• One SPDIF optical cable
• One rounded Floppy cable
• One rounded ATA66 cable
• Six SATA cables
• Two SATA power cable converter
• Two ATA133 cables
• One I/O shield
• One ABIT support CD
• Two SATA driver diskettes
• One Motherboard User Guide
• One µGuru™ User Guide
• One multi-lingual Quick Motherboard Installation Guide
• One ABIT case badge


* Our New Review System

ARP is committed to developing new ways to improve your experience with us. As part of our continuous efforts to improve the value of our reviews to you, we are implementing a new review system.

This new review system is designed to allow you to quickly receive information on the latest hardware. This new system also allows you to quickly get the gist of the review without reading through it. This can be very useful, especially in situations where you need to make a quick purchase decision.

In this new system, we start with a Product Overview whenever a company sends us a press release about their latest product. We shift through extraneous PR-talk to create a straightforward summary of the product's features as well as specifications. This allows you to quickly find out all the pertinent details about the product, without reading through official press releases.

When we receive the product for review, we will quickly take photos of it and create a Pictorial Review. The purpose of a pictorial review is to allow you, the reader, to quickly examine the product visually. It may help you make better purchase decisions, especially if you cannot wait for the full review.

After thorough testing, we will post a Comprehensive Review of the product. This adds on to the pictorial review with comprehensive test results and our final conclusion on the product.

But no matter whether you are reading a Pictorial Review or a Comprehensive Review, you can always read the summary of the review as well as examine the product's specifications right on the first page. In all our new reviews, we will maintain the first page as a Product Overview page. If the product is listed in PriceGrabber, you can also check out the lowest price online.

We hope this new review system will make your experience a lot more enjoyable and informative!


Sony α7R II, Cyber-shot RX10 II & Cyber-shot RX100 IV Launch
#IncredibleZenDay - The Launch Of The ASUS ZenFone 2
Western Digital My Passport Ultra Metal / Anniversary Edition 2 TB Portable Hard Disk Drive Review
Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Flash Drive (USB 3.0) Review
Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Notebook Hard Drive Review
Compression Comparison Guide Rev. 2.0
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT Tech Report
OCZ EL PC-3200 Gold DDR Memory Overview
Video BIOS Flashing Guide
Warcraft III : Frozen Throne


Copyright © Tech All rights reserved.