A couple of other features worth mentioning are the debug LED display which shows error codes if something goes wrong with the board or any of the components plugged in to it. A feature I particularly like is the two miniature switches on the board for power-on and reset – this is really handy when you’re assembling your PC and haven’t wired up the front case connectors yet.
On top of the already mentioned accessories you also get four SATA cables, a SATA power splitter, round IDE and floppy cables as well as an optical SPDIF cable with a TOSLINK to 3.5mm adapter. The manuals are very detailed, but there is no quick setup sheet in colour, but Abit does supply a multi-lingual quick installation guide in black and white at least.
The BIOS offers a wide range of overclocking features thanks to Abit’s micro Guru features. You get very good control over all of the system fans that are connected to the motherboard. However, as a wide range of BIOS tweaks is one of the selling points of this board, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
Having used a 3.46GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor to test this board, the scores are slightly lower than some of the recent boards we’ve looked at. An overall SYSMark 2005 score of 212 is nothing remarkable, but still an acceptable score. This is also the first board we have used with PCMark05 and as such it’s hard to compare the scores with anything else.
Overall the Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE is a pretty attractive board for the Intel gamer, but it’s also quite expensive at £139.24 inc VAT. It does have some cool features, as long as you want extra lights and an unusual cooling system on your motherboard. However, you’re going to have to really want a Fatal1ty board to put your money down, as there are many similar products available, even from Abit itself.
The Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE is possibly the modder and gamers’ ultimate board, if they’re set on an Intel solution. For me though, the Fatal1ty branding isn’t enough of a draw, and I’d probably look elsewhere in Abit’s catalogue.