abit's recent mainboard offerings for both Intel and AMD have been well received, the company creating good products worth considering on upgrade and new system shopping lists. Such a continued return to form requires focus and determination to produce what the buying public want, and with more consumers than ever before savvy to what makes a good mainboard, the pressure on mainboard vendors to execute is something not lost on abit's board production team.
Regardless, they seem to be up to the task. We took a look at their AW9D Max recently, declaring it more than worth a look if you can forgive a layout that asks a lot of you depending on your intended configuration and future upgrade plans. The AW9D Max is aimed at the highest of high-end user, one who buys in to Intel's positioning of the i975X + ICH7R core logic set.
i975X's days are seriously numbered, though. Despite the lesser numbering, P965 is newer and offers -- in our testing and experience -- at least equivalent performance and often higher when the application asks a lot of the memory subsystem. Paired with ICH8R, which adds a couple of SATA2 ports and drops ATA and floppy support from its I/O feature set, P965 is forward-looking and sits pretty as the most attractive chipset for Intel processors for those seeking to usually run just one graphics board.
It doesn't support NVIDIA SLI, but it does support ATI CrossFire depending on board, therefore given that board makers can add ATA and floppy support back to P965-based mainboards with peripheral ICs, very attractive P965-based mainboards can be created at price points befitting Intel's pitching of 965 into the mid-range.
The consumer therefore benefits hugely from Intel's minor con, the technology giant offering arguably better core logic into the mid-rage than what they provide for their high-end desktop customers, in the PC space. And thus we come back round to abit and their premier P965-based board, the AB9 Pro.
Has the former darling of the enthusiast crowd created something akin to boards of old; something that can't be ignored? We've run it through the HEXUS mill to see, so join us in our analysis if you're keen to see what exactly is what.