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ABIT AN8 Ultra - Passively Cooled Motherboard - ABIT AN8 Ultra
In terms of expansion slots there is the AudioMax riser slot at the top, two x1 PCI Express slots and an x16 PCI Express slot as well as three standard PCI slots. Another couple of features worthy of a mention include the POST LEDs which will report any system errors - the codes can be found in the manual so diagnostics should be pretty easy. Then there is the ABIT microGURU which adds a host of overclocking and fan control features in the BIOS along with some clever software in Windows. I have a small complaint about the manual though, it covers four different products - one of them an SLI board - which really makes things confusing at times, especially for someone that is new to building their own system.
I did encounter a few problems during the setup of the AN8 Ultra – so if you buy this board make sure you upgrade the BIOS straight away and download the latest nVidia motherboard drivers- that way you’ll avoid the same problems that I had.
Looking at the performance numbers the AN8 Ultra is quite impressive with an overall SYSMark 2004 score of 207. In PCMark 05 it managed an overall score of 4210 and using a GeForce 6800 GT card it produced 11773 in 3DMark 03.
So all well and good in terms of performance numbers, but there is one last hurdle to get past and that is of course price. However, I’m happy to say that ABIT has priced the AN8 Ultra quite attractively at £79.08, making it a decent option for anyone looking to build a quiet but powerful AMD based machine.
The ABIT AN8 Ultra is the first motherboard with a heatpipe cooled chipset to arrive in the TrustedReviews office and on the whole it’s an impressive package. If you want a fast machine that doesn’t sound like an aeroplane when it’s running, the AN8 is definitely worth a look.