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Abit 975 board takes on two Asus contenders

First INQpression Abit AW9D-MAX I975
Fri Dec 22 2006, 17:09
ABIT always knew how to please the eyes of its high-end customers. It makes good-looking motherboards and the Abit AW9D-MAX I975 is Bu-Do no exception. It is a bit close to Fu - Do but we won't hold that against it. The board uses high end 975X chipset and we like it. It supports Crossfire and has two PCIe 16X ports.

The first thing you notice about this motherboard is that it is legacy-connector free. Abit tried this game almost two years ago but was forced to return to the old ports. We don't care about lack of Com port or Parallel ports it was time to lose them. But it is interesting that two PS2 ports are not placed at the corner of a board. The first port in line is ESATA and it is good to see that Abit got support for this nice little gadget. The back panel also features two PS2 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and two Gbit LAN ports. The audio card comes as a riser card. The riser card goes to a riser port placed at the corner of a board. It comes with SPDIF optical out and 5.1 connectors for analogue speaker sets.

The board has the traditional four memory slots and can officially support DDR 2 up to 800MHz and a bit more when you overclock it. The first thing you notice about the chipsets is that Abit decided to use heat-pipe coolers. It has two heat pipes, one for Northbridge and one for Southbridge. Abit is also using a passive heatsink on its power ports just next to CPU socket. You will be able to fit most of coolers on the board, at least Intel reference one and Thermaltake Typhoon certainly fit.

The board has a bunch of blue LED lights and it will look like Christmas in a dark room. We see this as a good and bad thing as if you have a window on the side of your case it might look cool but it will also look annoying as it will illuminate the room. However, the chaps who go for this hardware are show offs so Abit may have made the right call. The board has two PCIe 16X graphic slots, two PCIe 1X and a single PCI slot. A single PCIe slot can be a tough call as high-end boys will like to have a decent sound card inside. There won't be place for additional cards such as Ageia's struggling Physics card. The board has a single IDE and a floppy connector. It also comes with six SATA ports and a LED diagnostic display. This will at least give you some clue when you system hangs from too much overclocking. alt='abit_awd9_max_system'
Abit AWD9 MAX system

The board also has an ATX 12V power connector to provide more power for power-greedy systems. The board also sports overclocker's favourite power and reset buttons.

The bios has a few Abit features such as Guru overclocking something we've seen before. You can change the multiplayer, FSB speed, DDR 2 memory speed and chipset, CPU and memory voltages. You can also tweak the memory settings and monitor temperatures and voltages on every single part from the Bios and in windows. It's all done in the background looks cool and different. That's what Abit wanted.

The box includes seven SATA cables, IDE and floppy cables, an SLI connector, optical SPDIF cable, a riser card with additional USBs and Firewire, a driver CD, manual, back panel I/O, quick installation guide and three driver-packed floppies. The packaging is very neat.

alt='abit_awd9_max_kutija'
Abit AWD9 MAX box

Benchmarketing

We used:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700, 2x 2.67GHz, 266MHz FSB, 4MB Cache
Corsair Dominator TWIN2X1024-8500 at 5-5-5-15 at 800 MHz
Leadtek Winfast PX8800 Geforce 8800 GTS
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa EVO AK 922 Blue Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
OCZ 700W GameXstream power supply

Quake 4
1024x768
1280x1024
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
217.5
207.0
? ?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
218.8
208.8
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
218.9
207.0
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
270.5
252.4
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
270.4
251.6
? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
199.5
179.1
? ?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
199.8
180.0
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
200.6
180.0
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
241.9
198.8
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
241.6
198.9
? ?
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
1024x768
1280x1024
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
180
133
? ?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
173
132
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
179
133
? ?
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
115
76
? ?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
116
77
? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
114
76
? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game4
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
25632
195.5
154.2
157.5
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
28334
240.0
176.5
157.5
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
28335
240.2
176.6
157.4
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
1675
186.8
29.7
?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
1688
187.4
30.1
?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
1677
187.5
29.7
30.8
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
5098.0
11872.5
96.5
421.4
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
5098.1
11879.7
96.6
421.7
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
5098.0
11878.3
96.2
421.6
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game1
Game2
Game2
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
14784
58.6
43.7
80.2
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
14642
58.2
43.2
80.0
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
14713
58.8
43.4
79.9
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
10082
5.4
8.4
?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
9937
5.1
8.5
64.8
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
9905
5.1
8.5
?
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Pixel Shader

VS/VS
complex

Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
5150.2
11867.3
387.4
124.1/96.9
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
5150.2
11861.1
387.8
124.1/96.8
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
5150.2
11892.7
387.8
124.1/96.8
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
8556
? ? ?
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
8547
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
8554
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
9008
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
9008
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
3743
30.834
31.547
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
3717
30.642
31.300
?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
3727
30.694
31.415
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
3748
30.916
31.542
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
3760
30.970
31.701
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
3723
34.024
40.645
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
3742
33.951
40.526
?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
3726
34.021
40.505
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
3736
34.156
40.556
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
3742
34.198
40.647
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
2327
0.733
1.172
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
2343
0.734
1.197
?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
2338
0.742
1.179
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
2978
0.938
1.513
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
2945
0.941
1.475
? ? ? ? ?

PC Mark 2005

CPU
Memory
HDD
Total
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
6808
5729
5898
7275
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
6827
5636
5848
7272
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
6809
5702
5705
7288
? ? ? ? ?
Sandra 2007
CPU
Memory
Multimedia
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
24712/17049
5778/5756
146389/79320
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
24833/17107
5638/5636
146740/79671
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
24742/17091
5696/5694
146569/79584
?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
31743/21910
7619/7619
188011/102073
?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
31685/21931
7653/7659
188130/102146
?
? ? ? ? ?
Sciencemark 2.0
Molecular
Primordia
Cryptography
Stream
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
1301.06
1347.46
1256.99
1498.53
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
1302.83
1361.27
1256.91
1511.22
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
1291.01
1362.63
1261.54
1489.44
? ? ? ? ?
Sciencemark 2.0
Memory bandwidth
Memory
Blas / flops
Total
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
5243.21
1678.21
2052.01
1507.17
Asus P5B-E ------------------ CPU 2660MHz
5156.03
1568.22
2060.42
1504.26
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
5222.13
1659.73
2063.63
1511.03
? ? ? ? ?
Super_Pi
calculation 8MB
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
03m 54s
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
03m 56s
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
03m 04s
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
03m 04s
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Paint.NET effect Frosted glass on 10MPixel pic
min:sec
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
00:44
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
00:44
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
00:34
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
00:34
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Audio Encoding wav_700MB to mp3
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
01:30
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
01:29
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Dr. DivX .mov 720p_115MB to .divx
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
02:41
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
02:40
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
02:04
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
02:05
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
AutoGK .vob_1GB to .avi
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
13:37
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
13:31
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
10:35
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
10:41
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Windows Media Encoder 9 .avi_321MB to .wmv
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
22.59
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
22:54
? ? ?
Asus P5W DH Deluxe OC -- CPU 3421MHz
17:56
? ? ?
Abit AW9D MAX OC ---------- CPU 3420MHz
18:00
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Cinebench 9.5
Rendering 1 CPU
Rendering 2 CPUs
C4D Shadring
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
0:49
0:27
530
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
0:49
0:26
532
? ? ? ? ?
Cinebench 9.5
OpenGL SW-L
OpenGL HW-L
OpenGL speedup
Abit AW9D MAX ----------- CPU 2660MHz
2133
6502
12.26 times
Asus P5W DH Deluxe -- CPU 2670MHz
2140
6667
12.52 times

We compared the Abit board with two ASUS 975 and P965s that we tested recently and we even tried to overclock it. We have to note that Asus P5W DH Deluxe by default overclocks the CPU to 2670MHz. On the other board, the X6700 works at 2660MHz so be aware of that. Asus P5B-E wins in Quake 4 but not by much.

We tried to overclock and we stopped at the same frequency 3420MHz/3421MHz with both boards. Abit could not do anything more than that and neither could Asus. Asus again scores a bit faster.

In Quake 4 FSAA and Aniso Asus P5W DH Deluxe wins the race due its faster clocked CPU. Abit manages to be 0.1 faster in 12x10 at overclocked environment. Abit AW9D MAX wins in FEAR by a single frame. Asus P5B-E wins in FEAR with FSAA and Aniso on by a frame.

3Dmark03 is drastically slower on Abit compared to two Asus boards. We don't know what happened there but Abit AW9D MAX wins in 3Dmark05 not by much but it still wins. Abit AW9D MAX is also a bit faster in 3Dmark06 and is tie in overclocked environment.

Asus P5W DH Deluxe wins PCmark05 but Abit has the fastest memory and HDD scores but the scores are almost tie.

Asus P5B-E wins in Sandra 2007 CPU test but Abit board has the fastest memory score but it loses in multimedia. Asus AW9D MAX OC is slightly faster in overclocked environments and it wins in Sciencemark 2.0. Abit wins the memory bandwidth and memory scores. Abit is also two seconds faster in Super Pi 8MB test while the overclocked scores are identical.

Paint.NET test where we take 10MPixel picture and apply Frosted glass filter scores identical on Asus or Abit 975 overclocked or not, it is the same. Asus does the audio encoding one second faster, as well as Doctor DivX encoding. AutoGK is faster on Asus as well as Media encoder 9. These are marginal differences but they exist. Cinebench 9.5 is slightly faster on Asus as well due its 10MHz faster clock.

In Short
Abit made a great overclocker's motherboard. It has all the features that one would like and it is the 975X board that will run two ATI cards. We wonder if it will run two R600s but this will be the big question for 2007.

The board has a nice layout, illuminates the room with its LEDs, heat-piped chipsets and it make memory faster than any other 975 board we seen so far. It is great and it goes neck-to-neck with Asus' P5W DH Deluxe. It costs around €190 in Euroland depending on the country.

It is one of the best 975X boards we've come across. It is stable and worth the money but you can also consider Asus very good alternative. For dessert, we tried cableless Crossfire and have an answer to some of your questions on X1950PRO cards, we will try to tell you that story in 2007. ?

alt='x1950procrossfire'
Abit AWD9 MAX system with two X1950PRO cards

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

 

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