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First Look: Abit AW9D-MAX

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 1 Sep 2006.

  1. airchie

    airchie What's a Dremel?

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    Yeah, bring back the Kt7a-Raid days!! :D

    I have always liked abit boards and I will be keeping an eye open for reviews of this one when they're available... :)
     
  2. Techno-Dann

    Techno-Dann Disgruntled kumquat

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    Eh... I find myself agreeing with those who say the expansion card layout isn't that hot. If/when I go Conroe (Depends on how K9 K8-L does), I'll probably go DFI. Or maybe ASUS, if they come out with something better than the P5WDH.

    They need to make an E-ATX overclocker's board... Plenty of space for big cards, FET coolers, NB sinks, and a monster CPU cooler too...
     
  3. nekrosoft13

    nekrosoft13 What's a Dremel?

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    audiomax is worthless, boards like this should have 3 pci, and drop integrated sound all together.
     
  4. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    If only it was that easy... :rolleyes:

    Also, both DFI's Karajan module and Abit's AudioMAX deliver better sound quality than on-board solutions, because the interference is greatly reduced. I have used both Karajan, AudioMAX and normal on-board sound in my own system for extended periods of time (all three were AC'97). The Karajan/AudioMAX had significantly less signal interference than a typical on-board solution through a pair of Sennheiser HD570's. If you're listening to music and move your mouse, the 'on-board' solution results in occasional noise and interference. This also happens during heavy hard drive access if you are using the on-board controllers and if you are transferring data across the network.

    You just don't get that to the same extent on the AudioMAX/Karajan, because the electronics relating to the audio codec have been moved away from other circuits and traces on the motherboard. With that said, the Karajan/AudioMAX are not going to replace an X-Fi or equivalent soundcard, but they are a good deal better than traditional on-board solutions. Considering that they come with the mobo, I don't think it is a bad thing. However, it would have been nicer to put the AudioMAX slot on the AW9D-MAX above the primary graphics slot and added a second PCI slot at the bottom.

    I've experienced similar things with the three different solutions in the labs too; although this time, all three were based on the ALC88x-series codecs. I mentioned the fact that I've used all three implementations (based on AC'97) for a long time in my home system because I have formed that opinion over time, rather than over a couple of weeks of testing in the lab.
     
  5. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Just to echo Tim's point: Im never buying a Creative card unless there's no other choice. Even though these guys rave on about it they are over-expensive, with serious driver support issues and continually make claims that the hardware cannot match. HD audio is pretty decent considering it's free and whilst not perfect, the AudioMAX boards make it a bit better.
    DFI's Karajan is a better implementation than AudioMAX that's for sure.
     
  6. yahooadam

    yahooadam <span style="color:#f00;font-weight:bold">Ultra cs

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    thats true, plus watercooling can be much more quiet too

    however, even with watercooling you would only have 1 PCI slot, seems strange to have 2 PCI-Ex1 slots when there are still barley any PCI-E Expansion cards
     
  7. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    The thing is Tim, even if it's on a seperate daughter board, the sound quality is still going to be crap compared with a £40 EMU soundcard or any of the decent ones that are designed for music. Anyone who seriously cares about good sound quality is going to buy a proper PCI or PCI-E(assuming some exist, wouldn't surprise me if not) solution. It's an extra feature they can natter on about, but personally I'd much prefer some extra room on the expansion front for a decent sound card then less room and a crappy sound solution that doesn't suffer from as much interference as most other crappy sound solutions do.

    As someone else said, it'd be wonderfull to see some proper overclocker E-ATX boards about, but I suspect it'll never happen.
     
  8. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Spec, as I've already said....

    With that said, the Karajan/AudioMAX are not going to replace an X-Fi or equivalent soundcard, but they are a good deal better than traditional on-board solutions. Considering that they come with the mobo, I don't think it is a bad thing. However, it would have been nicer to put the AudioMAX slot on the AW9D-MAX above the primary graphics slot and added a second PCI slot at the bottom.

    Also, I doubt you're going to see an E-ATX mobo that overclocks well for a number of reasons. The increase in traces and components means that there is more chance that signal quality will degrade at higher frequency, resulting in less than stellar stability.

    The less components, the better in that respect.
     
  9. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Also, if you're a serious audio listener I doubt a £40 EMU will do it that much credit tbh and considering most people are playing mp3s it'll make SFA difference.
     
  10. yahooadam

    yahooadam <span style="color:#f00;font-weight:bold">Ultra cs

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    for overclocking though, its really just the traces between NB, memory and CPU that make the biggest difference

    Most boards now have individual clocks, so the extra traces for PCI and such will be at a lower frequency, at an area which wont be overclocked

    That's true - the best quality sound doesn't come from creative
    But a creative card is much better then on board (IMO, i have a Karajan audio module, but i only ever use my creative audigy 2 (also for the digital connectivity))

    and a £1000 card probably sounds a lot better then a creative one

    Still, at the moment 2 PCI slots would be best, if its not just sound-card & xxxx
    There are so many PCI accessories, its hard to be limited to 1 slot (Tuner, Sound card, Storage Controller's etc etc) its strange though, PCI-E has been around for such a long time now (like a year) but there are still barley any cards, and the ones that do exist can be rather expensive
     
  11. Tulatin

    Tulatin The Froggy Poster

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    Storage controllers are a moot point IMHO; there are plenty of PCI-E SATA ones out now, you just have to dig for em. Woe for IDE though :(
     
  12. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Some people *cough*me*cough* don't have a pair of dual-slot cards crammed into their x16 slots, and can get great use out of all the slots in there. I don't know about the ATi side, but I know the 7900GT performs very respectably and is only a single-slot card, so a pair in SLi wouldn't block anything (even if it would be preferable to keep the next slot down free, for airflow).

    Having said that, I still agree. I'd go:
    I/O (for orientation)
    PCI
    PCI
    x16
    x1
    audio riser + x1
    x16
    PCI or x1

    The riser and x1 could share a slot, since you can only use one; as it is, the risers seem to go into a backwards x1 slot, and generally close enough to the edge that you could fit a slot of either type to the right of it. Keep the x16 slots lower so they get the coolest air, and give accessability to a pair of PCI slots on top of them. In fact, I'd put the x16's a slot lower for both of them, but I dunno if that would leave enough clearance to the bottom of the case for double-slot cooler (or top, for those reversed-cases)
     
    Last edited: 3 Sep 2006
  13. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  14. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    PCI-Express has been around since 2004.

    There are barely any cards because of market saturation. The mass of people who still own PCs and want small upgrades through cards have AGP/PCI systems and even those that have PCIe have PCI slots so there's very little incentive for these companies to get their fingers out.

    Firehed: PCI will never be at the top. Not considering the traces and clock gens that it needs amoungst other things.
     
  15. BUFF

    BUFF What's a Dremel?

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    ZZF has a habit of pricing stuff high that they don't actually have & then dropping the price when it becomes available though ...

    Whilst I like the look of this board I'm waiting until next Spring before a total platform change so hopefully prices will have dropped, there will be more boards & more user feedback on them
     
  16. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

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    As I'm looking into buying conroe soon, this board is very attractive.

    But only one PCI slot, NOOO!
    What are you thinking Abit? My God..
     
  17. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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  18. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I did just read this whole topic through and it was quite amusing.. well at school it was. As far as I understood, ppl kept saying the exact same things about the bad PCI-setting and how the on-board is no match for a X-fi while other ppl kept saying how things are from the Abit's point of view.

    It's not all about the fysical space on the board that defines how the slots are located, it's also the hundreds or thousands of traces that go from the slots to the chipset. It definitely isn't all about "Abit being unfair to X-Fi-owners" or something, it might as well be about some practical issues.

    But then again. I don't honestly believe there's ANY difference in the sound quality of DIGITAL output between the onboard card and the Karajan or what-ever-was-the-name-in-this-one( :) ). I don't know if some of you still use the analog output but what's the point of having a digital output if you're not using it.. Viva la AV-amps.
     
  19. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Digital out, Im not sure. through analogue, even though my aw8-max uses an audio-max daughter board and when using the pci bus I can hear it being used. The digital signal is still passed across the board, it's just not interfered with by the audio chip. Using a separate pci card you dont have this problem at all as they are both discrete from each other.

    Im also pretty sure they do the layout first, then the traces. The board clearly doesnt have much space, rather than the level of traces because there would be LESS traces rather than more considering the components in place where another, bottom pci slot would be.
     
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