Due to Abits decision to skip socket 940 its been a while since we looked at any of their AMD motherboards. Today though we have an AV8 to review, I was really looking forward to this one having thought the nf7-s was excellent and the AI7 even better. Our 939 board of choice up to this point has been the MSI K8T-Neo2-FIR as it was a board that provided good performance whilst being completely stable, today we will put the AV8 up against it.
The Av8 comes packaged in the usual Abit style, a main box with a couple of sub boxes inside. These smaller boxes hold the manuals, disks, cables etc and are a much better solution than the "loose in the box idea" most manufacturers use.
Board layout and setup
Most of the AV8 components are well laid out. For example the power connectors have room around them and the floppy connector is nearer the top of the board rather than right at the bottom where some other manufacturers place it. With the good design there are also a couple of little niggles such as the closeness of some capacitors to the cpu socket. These can get in the way when adding/removing heatsinks.
There is also the bizarre decision to cover an important screwhole (hole mh10 on the pic) with an IDE connector. In the bottom right of the board you can’t get a screw in there easily (if at all) and so that area of the board has to sit loose. Considering there are plugs/pins in that area which can be pulled on and therefore stress the board if not screwed down I find this design aspect very strange.
One final setup concern was that the SATA driver disk included with our board didn’t properly detect the driver when installing Windows, the files were there…just not selectable. Other than those 3 concerns the board was easy to set up and ready to go.
The AV8 uses Phoenix Award Bios and should be familiar to most people. All the normal options are there and added to them is the uGuru settings. Below you can see the enthusiast options for uGuru and memory timings should you be interested in overclocking the board:
Monitoring of everything you could need is also supported:
Next: Testing Setup