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Thread: Retail Abit IN9 32X-MAX - Pictures, observations and testing...

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    Retail Abit IN9 32X-MAX - Pictures, observations and testing...

    Abits foray into the nVidia 680i ring comes in the form of the IN9 32X-MAX, part of the MAX range of enthusiast orientated motherboards. Being reviewed is the wifi version of the board coming with it's own pci-e dongle included in the package.

    So first up, a few pictures of the packaging and box contents:





    BIG box! Colourful with some sorta robo-ninja-dragon, whatever floats yer boat. You'll also see a sturdy carry handle and that the box itself has a lid allowing you to peer in, and see the wifi gear, SLi slots and digital PWM heatsink.


    Opening the box presents you with yet another box with a clear plastic lid over it (theres ALOT of packaging) protecting the motherboard, wifi card and twin SLi bridges.







    Pulling this box out you find another two smaller boxes housing the driver CD manuals etc, and all your free cables:




    We can see that there is the usual CD and IO backplate, but Abit has also included a few other bits. See the big mental thing in the bag? Thats a PCI blanking plate with a bracket on it to clamp down your SLi bridges! the Smaller bag contains little clips to allow you to fasten your own 40mm fan to the northbridge for OC purposes. Nice little touches I thought!



    Heres the cable selection that you get. One rounded floppy cable, one optical cable, one 4 way USB bracket, one rounded IDE cable and 6 SATA cables!



    The IDE cable is also colour coded

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    A closer look at the motherboard

    Just a collection of shot of the board as I built it up tried to cover a number of angles here hope you like.








    The following are a few details I wanna show about the board

    Good ol' Crucial Anniversary RAM - sturdy stuff :up:


    The NB heatsink has the Abit logo stamped on all the fins


    Detail of above


    Power and reset switches on board, very handy for desk benching


    The green and red LEDs are for 5v and 3.3v check and the blue is an on board power on status.

    These are a few pics of the power circuitry for the northbridge/VTT /SB components I'm hoping to figure out vmods for them sometime as the circuit itself is pretty straight forward.

    The marked inductors are where to measure the respective voltages, from the underside of the board. VTT is bang on what uguru reports. NB is reported 20mV low and SB is 40mV. Vddr is spot on with with both uguru and the BIOS settings themselves. Vcore is 10mV out from uguru ( about 5mV lower than the BIOS setting) and drops a further 10mV under load (ORTHOS cpu stresstest). Digital VRM has really good control over the voltage.


    The Winbond W83320G Synchronous Buck Regulator of the choice of controllers for all these voltages. Feedback is on pin 8 and is a simple resistor divider circuit. Vmods should not be too challenging.


    I've included this to show the basic layout of a PWM Buck circuit I just liked the fact it was laid out exactly in line with the operation and gee well I just visually like that sorta thing damnit!


    A shot fo the nVidia 680i core. Abit has chosen to use thermal pads on the heatsinks, I wasn't to taken by this idea and replaced the thermal pad for the NB with some ceramique to hopefully improve temps/FSB clocks. The heatsink is pretty heavy and has a machined surface on the underside that isn't overly smooth. I have not confirmed if it is indeed some form of copper or painted aluminium.

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    Initial Observations

    The board is stable
    Abit were a little late getting this out of the house compared with other manufacturers thought it looks like it was due to them taking some time over it. There are a bunch of new technologies on this board including the digital VRM and they have been executed very well.

    The board is overclocking friendly
    Release BIOS is good, clear and offers a wealth of settings without overwhelming the user. Uguru is on hand and offer straightforward overclocking settings and voltage ranges. I did feel a little constricted by some of the voltage ranges i.e. VTT and NB but as for vddr and vcore you'll have killed your hardware long before you've run out of volts. Vddr also features ref voltage adjustments too which will help with memory tweaking. BIOS also allows for saving of profiles. Recovery from failed boot has never been easier!!! Clear CMOS switch at back is a great touch and works well. Onboard jumper still exists too. BIOS is usually able to reboot on last known settings if you push too hard. HINT if is doesn't press the RESET button and wait till the BIOS readout goes from "A0" -> something else. Then hold the power button, wait about 5 secs and reboot, the BIOS should reload the last working settings and allow you to regain control again. Has worked flawlessly for me

    Board is feature rich
    Lots of goodies onboard no real point in going over them here as you can just as easily read it off Abits site but here's a few of them:

    • Digital VRM
    • Solid State Capacitors
    • Wi-Fi PCI-E card
    • HD 7.1 audio with HDMI connector
    • 6 SATA with additional 2 eSATA connectors on the backplate
    • firewire
    • Silent operation (no overclocking mind!)
    • The clear CMOS switch
    • The board has embedded blue LEDs on the underside with trippy lighshow settings


    Testing Results

    Testing the board is a mixed bag. For the majority of the time it's pretty straight forward to use and you can overclock with a fair amount of ease.

    However

    There are times that it will really annoy. The whole divider issue is one such problem and you will find that you come across "gaps" in the overclocking ability of this board. I recommend that you always push higher, say 10MHz more and see if it's still not working. When I was trying to find the max FSB this became quite a problem and alot of time needs to be dedicated into mapping these holes out for a given divider/strap.

    So on with the show....

    Test Setup
    CPU - E6700
    memory - Crucial anniversary 2x1048MB
    VGA - ATi 7000 PCI
    HDD - WD Raptor 74MB
    Cooling - Stock Intel fan

    Clean XP install used along with CD Drivers, full nVidia driver suite installed


    Maxing the board

    Max CPU Speed



    Voltages are given on screen, remember this is an Intel stock cooler, not the best cooler out there. I surmise that with a better cooler 4GHz should be feasible at 1.6volts spi32M stable

    Max Memory Speed



    Very happy with this as it's currently fastest on the 600MHz table What makes it even better is that the RAM voltage is only 2.4v so there's room for improvement. I doubt this is as far as it'll go but just wanted to post this for now.

    Max FSB so far


    http://valid.x86-secret.com/show_oc?id=157262

    This is still a work in progress, I'm starting to understand the board better now so hope to break 500MHz shortly and beyond. Things get hot at these temperatures and a fair bit of tweaking is needed still.

    1T vs 2T

    The following are just a few images of testing I did seeing how 1T affects performance in comparison to 2T.







    Performance at 650Mhz

    Finally a few pics of read/latency performance at a high FSB, don't ask me why I didn't do test at 660MHz I forgot and dialled in the wrong speed





    I will at some stage get round to BIOS photos being taken and uploaded too.

    What else do folk wanna know about it?

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    Nice results mate Loving the memory speed you've managed there - the crucial really rocks doesn't it
    .:. X2 @ 2.9 .:. E6600 L628 @ 4.73 .:. AB9 @ 512 FSB .:. E6300 @ 100% OC Stable

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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Brilliant mate
    Really think this is the board ill be getting
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Very interesting! Thanks for the post, I think I'm going to get this board...

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    Can this board do 1T at 4,4,4,12 500mhz ?

    Or is 1T generally only workable on lower speeds ?

    Would I be better off running the memory linked with the cpu and running 4XXmhz 4,4,4,12,1T rather then something like 500mhz,4,4,4,12,2T which is what the Cellshock 8000C4 is qualified for.

    Also - can you change 1T,2T settings in bios, or must you use something like Memset ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanno View Post
    Can this board do 1T at 4,4,4,12 500mhz ?

    Or is 1T generally only workable on lower speeds ?

    Would I be better off running the memory linked with the cpu and running 4XXmhz 4,4,4,12,1T rather then something like 500mhz,4,4,4,12,2T which is what the Cellshock 8000C4 is qualified for.

    Also - can you change 1T,2T settings in bios, or must you use something like Memset ?
    Haven't done alot of 1T testing yet, needt oget round to that. I can tell you that the 1T settings are in BIOS and are fully accessible from the newest version of Memset

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    Cheers Johnny.

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    Very quick update. I've been testing 1T to the max, running real loose timings (5-5-5) and limiting my ddr voltage to 2.4 volts. The Sticks of ram are Crucial anniversary (Micron D9GMH) for reference.

    OK first things first, testing in "linked" mode so have a few memory dividers 1:2, 5:4, 3:2 and 1:1. Depending on which you choose your max FSB seems to vary, and it seems to decrease as you approach 1:1.

    The max I hit for 3:2 was 481MHz 32M Spi stable. At 1:1 its breaking 475MHz 32M stable.




    This is very rough and ready stuff with a multitude of things I still have to play with. We'll see what the future brings

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    NEW MAX FSB



    Link


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    Awesome!

    Well done Johnny. Nice tweaking.
    Is all this with stock coolers? or are you using something else to cool down the beast?

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    good pics and screens cant wait to get this thang

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    For those of you wanting a quick link to the abit IN9 32X MAX mobo website, check it out here:
    http://www.abit.com.tw/page/en/mothe...ampaign=u95095
    Last edited by warlockza; 19-01-2007 at 04:51 AM.

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    This board is multiplier locked at least for quads. Myself and at least 2 other people I know cannot raise the mult past 10, plus can't get fsb over 300 working. This completely sucks and means we can't overclock !!!

    Abit ? What are you going to do about this ?

    Also - if the 4 pin aux connector (bottom edge of board) is required for sli, then it aint possible to plug a molex into it (without modding the molex) as the 2nd G80 get's in the way.

    Can someone from abit confirm whether this connector is required for sli as it seems a MAJOR shortcoming on abits behalf if it is and they didn't even test it with 2 8800GTX's. I don't want to have to cut a molex connector in half to make it fit.

    Having said that, it says in the manual it is needed for additional power to PCI-e cards. Seeing as 2 G80's uses 4 pci-e connectors and assuming you have an 8800GTX certified psu, I think this just be enough power.

    Only other negative observation is that uguru reports temps 10 degrees hotter then coretemp.

    Other then that, the board is way more stable then my evga.

    Thanks

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    A few more observations on this board from another user

    1. I am using an X6800 chip, and niether the shipping bios nor the 11 beta bios allow upward adjustment of the multiplier (by the way, Johnny Bravo - thanks a lot for posting that bios on XS)

    2. I couldn't get a stable FSB above 425 no matter what I did with the voltages (Johnny, your 495 is impressive, can you let us know what settings you used to get there).

    3. Using a single 8800 GTX card, the video performance was horrible, no matter what I did with Linkboost or the Nvidia GPU ex option in the bios.

    4. I started getting disk corruption errors after an hour or so of playing with the board, and without pushing the memory too far.

    I also have the EVGA 680i board, and my experience with this Abit board feels just like the EVGA board when it first came out - at every turn I feel like I need a better bios. Given that Abit have been later to market with this, I expected it to be much more stable and a better FSB overclocker straight off the bat, but it isn't. After a month or so of bios revisions, I can run rock solid stable at 465 FSB on the EVGA board, and have gone back to that for now. This Abit board feels like it has potential, but for me the bios is letting it down.

    One final observation. Abit's failure to include the 40X40X10 fan you need to stick on the Northbridge when overclocking is, in my view, unforgiveably cheap given the price point of this board. Abit - you should be embarassed about that!!

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