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ABIT AL8 (Intel 945P Express)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Friday, 8th July, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


The ABIT AL8 is ABIT's latest product aimed at the mainstream market. After our last review of the red OTES monster that was the Fatal1ty AN8, the AL8 brings back the standard ABIT feel complete with orange PCB and scattered capacitor placements. Poised for a competitive price/performance fight with the emerging competition based on the Intel 945P Express, ABIT makes the AL8 in two variations, a low end AL8-V (presumably 'V' for value) and a full fledged AL8. The difference between these two boards become apparent as the AL8-V is basically a bare-bone motherboard equipped only with operating essentials while the AL8 offers users with a complete set of features. In this review, we looked at the AL8 proper and liked what we found. Could ABIT be on the rebound? Only one way to find out, continue reading.

The ABIT AL8 motherboard.

The following bundle was included with the ABIT AL8 motherboard:-
  • 4 x SATA data cables
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • USB 2.0 (2 ports) and IEEE 1394a (2 ports) bracket
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CD
  • SATA driver diskettes
  • User's manual

    ABIT AL8 Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports 90nm LGA775 processor package
    • Supports Intel Pentium D / Pentium Processor Extreme Edition processors
    • Supports Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors
    • Intel Hyper-Threading Technology ready
    • Northbridge: Intel 945P Express
      • 533 / 800 / 1066MHz front side bus
      • PCI Express x16 graphics
    • Southbridge: Intel ICH7R
      • Intel High Definition Audio
      • Supports six PCI Express x1 lanes
      • Supports up to eight USB 2.0 ports
      • Supports four SATA II ports (with RAID 0 and 1 capabilities)
      • Single-channel Ultra ATA-100 IDE port
    • Supports four unbuffered DIMMs of 1.8 Volt DDR2 SDRAM
    • Supports DDR2-677/533/400 dual channel memory architecture
    • Intel ICH7R Southbridge
      • 1 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100 (data transfer rate up to 100MB/sec.)
      • 4 x SATA II (Serial ATA II 3.0Gbps interface)
      • Intel Matrix Storage Technology
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5
    • Silicon Image Sil3132 SATAIIRAID controller 
      • 2 x SATA II (Serial ATAII 3.0Gbps interface)
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1
    • Intel High Definition Audio (Azalia)
    • Realtek ALC880 HD Audio CODEC
    • Broadcom BCM5753 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
    IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    • Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A controller
    • 2 x 1394a ports @ 400 Mbps speed
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 1 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 6 x SATA connectors
    • 8 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 2 x bracket, 2 x header)
    • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (1 x rear, 1 x bracket)
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 1 x Optical S/PDIF Input
    • 1 x Optical S/PDIF Output 
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port
    • 1 x parallel port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 1 x PCIe x16 slot, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 3 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 2 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • ABIT µGuru
    • ABIT CPU ThermalGuard
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)

    The Rear panel of the ABIT AL8. Besides the two optical S/PDIF ports, the main change to their usual layout was a switch around of the surround audio ports to the middle instead of being at the edge.
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