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Review: abit AW9D Max

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 11 October 2006, 08:59

Tags: Abit AW9D Max, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), abit

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abit AW9D Max

The AW9D Max is abit's top-of-the-line mainboard product for Intel LGA775 processors. From the board specs right the way to presentation and bundle, it represents the pinnacle of what abit have to offer the consumer.


abit AW9D Max Specification
Item Specification
Processor Support All Intel LGA775 processors, including Core 2 Duo
Northbridge Intel i975
Southbridge Intel ICH7R
Memory Support 4 DIMMs, DDR2, 533/667/800, 8GiB max
Graphics 2 x PCI Express Graphics 16X
Supports ATI CrossFire
PCI Express 2 x PCIe 1x; i975X
PCI Conventional 1 slot, PCI2.2
ATA 1 port, ICH7R
2 ports SATA2 AHCI, Silicon Image Sil3132, PCIe on ICH7R
2 ports SATA2 AHCI (1 eSATA), Silicon Image Sil3132, PCIe on i975X
RAID 0/1/5, ICH7R, Intel Matrix Storage
0/1, Sil3123s
LAN 2 x 10/100/1000, Realtek RTL8111B, PCIe on ICH7R
Audio abit AudioMAX HD 7.1
HD Audio, 8-channel, Realtek ALC882M
Floppy 1 port, ICH7R
FireWire Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A, FireWire 400, 2 ports
USB 8 ports, USB2.0, ICH7R


The only legitimate query over specification is the provision of just one PCIc slot for something like an X-Fi or PhysX board, and their siting of said slot directly underneath a PCIe 16x slot (which you'll see soon). Because it's an i975X-based board means CrossFire is potentially on the cards and many supporting boards for that are dual-slot. However, if that config. point doesn't trouble you for whatever reason, the rest of the spec. is as feature-rich as we've seen in recent times.

Dual GigE LOM, both ICs connecting to the system via PCIe, is present, as is a pair of Sil3132 SATA2 controllers. One is responsible for the board's eSATA support, with the other combining with the ICH7R to give the board 8 SATA ports in total, 7 regular and one eSATA. For audio support, abit implement what's effectively a PCIe 1x expansion board but with the edge connector reversed into a proprietary placement, letting the ALC882M connect via PCIe and the audio jacks move down away from their regular spot on the I/O backplane.

That's to facilitate a backplane with barely any ports, in case the AW9D Max user wants to add an OTES cooler to the board, exhausting air from the backplane. More on that shortly. FireWire is provided by a Texas Instruments IC, supporting FireWire 400 ports via two internal headers. USB2.0 support is entirely provided by the ICH7R, 4 ports exiting via the backplane and headers for 4 more on the mainboard, totalling 8 (2 short of the 10 port maximum).

Being i975X and ICH7R the board supports one ATA channel, up to 8GiB of DDR2-800 memory and all Intel LGA775 processors released to date, including any and all Core 2 Duos. As for Core 2 Quad support, we're not 100% sure but we presume the AW9D Max is up to the job without anything other than a BIOS change.

Therefore, as is the case with the vast majority of high-end mainboards around just now, the AW9D Max is feature rich and very well specified, with only the PCIc slot count and site to put off potential buyers.