Articles: Mainboards
 

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PCB Design

There is a lot we could actually tell you about the PCB design of the ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 mainboard. No doubt that someone with very good taste made his contribution to designing this product. Therefore, with this mainboard installed into your system case you will not be just a happy owner, but will also enjoy it from aesthetical point of view.

As we have already mentioned above, ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 is designed in black and red color gamma. However, once you start it you will notice one more very important detail: the mainboard is lit up from behind with bright red LEDs. It is really hard to describe the impression this baby made on us, when the rays of bright red light appeared from under the board, so we will simply provide a photo:

As you can see, the power supply converter on the front side of the PCB is also lit with the red LEDs. By the way, ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 has two more LEDs right next to the POST-codes display. These LEDs however are not a decoration: they signal if there is power on 5VSB and VCC lines.

The second eye-catching peculiarity of the reviewed mainboard is the “maniacal” striving for heat dissipation from all possible and impossible hot spots. ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 is equipped with a few different cooling devices, which feature the total of five 40-mm fans! Among them are: the chipset cooler, Dual OTES system for processor voltage regulator cooling and OTES RAMFlow system for memory modules cooling.

Of course, we would like to start with the chipset cooler, because we have already seen in our previous test sessions how important proper cooling of the NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra chipset is. ABIT engineers spared a nice copper heatsink and a fan with the maximum rotation speed of 5,800rpm for this purpose.

However, despite this fact, we still wouldn’t call ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 chipset cooler a high-quality one. There are two problems with this cooler. First, the heatsink cooling surface is relatively small. Even though it is made of solid copper, it is shaped as just a plate with the upward pointing edges. The second problem is about the fan, which is also not of the best quality it could be. On the second day of tests it already started rattling. All in all, there is only one positive thing about the chipset cooler on ABIT Fatal1ty AN8: it uses thermal paste and not some doubtful pads for the thermal interface.

 
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