Several years ago, Abit became very popular among freaks and overclockers thanks to their SoftMenu. It was the first company to abandon the classic way to set up the CPU via jumpers and DIP switches and moved all options into the BIOS set-up. Today Abit belongs to the top motherboard manufacturers and still concentrates on interesting hardware.
We received much e-mail from readers, requesting us to review this motherboard, since it is one of the few models that come with four memory sockets. Using four 512 MB DDR-DIMMs, you can install the maximum memory capacity of the AMD760 chipset. Be careful: Those modules have to be registered DIMMs! If you only use unbuffered memory, you won't be able to use more than two modules.
The AMD761 chip is kept cool by a heat sink plus a little fan. A total of four fan headers will make sure that even power users can attach enough fans to keep the system or particular components cool. Also, only switching voltage regulators are used, which are the best choice, since they do not heat up the system.
There are six PCI slots, AGP 4x and VIA's VT82C686B South Bridge chip. This one offers two UltraATA/100 ports for two devices each. In addition, Abit placed an IDE RAID chip from Highpoint onto this motherboard (HPT370A). It can either be used as an additional controller or for drive arrays. Here you may choose between RAID mode 0, mode 1 or mode 0+1. The placement of the IDE RAID connectors could cause you some headache if the hard drives are installed at the top of a big tower case. The connectors are at the lower end of the motherboard. Usually, you won't be able to obtain IDE cables that are long enough.
In exchange for this extensive basic hardware, there are no special add-ons like a sound system or a backup BIOS.