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Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE - 925XE
All of the products in the Fatal1ty range incorporate some rather unique selling points that target the hardcore gaming market. The products are of course endorsed by Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel whose tag they carry.
Personally I wouldn’t buy a product just because it’s endorsed or named after someone famous, at least not unless it had something really special to offer. But Abit has managed to create something out of the ordinary with the Fatal1ty products, not so much in terms of usable feature, but rather in terms of bragging rights.
This is the first board to have LEDs fitted to the back - these illuminate the board and parts of the case internals. To go with the whole red theme the LEDs are of course red rather than the popular blue ones that seem to be fitted to just about every electronic device on the market. There are some more red LEDs fitted to the top of the board around the OTES cooling setup. This is one of the most elaborate MOSFET cooling solutions I have come across as not only does it have heatsinks on the MOSFETs, but it also has a plastic shroud with two fans.
The plastic shroud also helps to route the hot air from the CPU cooler and vent it out of the case with the help of the two 40mm fans. A third 40mm fan is standing on its side on the chipset heatsink and again draws hot air away from the CPU cooler, although this air ends up on the backside of the graphics card. The plastic shroud makes it awkward to fit CPU coolers to this board. However, it makes it even harder to remove the CPU cooler, especially if you use the standard Intel cooler. This is because one of the push pins gets caught underneath the plastic shroud, so this has to be removed before you can take off the cooler. Abit even supplies a small leaflet which explains how to remove the plastic shroud before you fit the CPU cooler.
Staying on the cooling subject, Abit has also included the OTES RAMFlow cooler as part of the package. This consists of two 40mm fans attached to a plastic frame that fits over the memory slots. Abit produced the OTES RAMFlow to help cool the DDR2 memory modules that are used with this board as DDR2 memory runs a lot hotter than DDR memory. However, there is a small flaw with the OTES RAMFlow, not in terms of the design, but rather how you connect the fans. The problem is that there is no three pin header close to the memory slots which means that you either need an adapter so you can attach it to a MOLEX connector or you’ll have to stretch it across the motherboard to the lower left hand side where the only spare fan connector resides.