Let me explain in a little bit more detail how this FanEQ technology works. For any fan this technology allows selecting the managing temperature diode, minimum and maximum temperatures on this diode, as well as minimum and maximum voltage sent to the fan. When the temperature on the selected diode is below the minimum, the minimal voltage is fed onto the fan. As soon as the diode temperature runs beyond the maximum, the corresponding fan starts rotating at its maximum speed due to the maximum voltage sent to it. In between the maximal and minimal temperatures the fan voltage is managed according to a standard linear law. For the fan speed management you can select either the built-in processor thermal diode or any of the thermal diodes installed around the CPU voltage regulator circuitry to the right of the memory modules.
This way, when the system workload is not really great, FanEQ technology makes ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 mainboard not any noisier than any other similar mainboard even though there are much more fans in a system based on it. The FanEQ parameters can be set in the BIOS as well as from the system OS with the help of special software.
Since ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 uses Dual OTES cooling solution, the connectors on the mainboard rear panel had to be laid out in a very different way, since now most of the space there is taken by the fans. That is why ABIT engineers had to give up serial and parallel ports, which are simply absent on this board. Moreover, you will not find even the pin-connectors for them on the PCB. You should keep this fact in mind when shopping around, because there are still quite many devices in the market using COM and LPT ports.
As a result, since all the sound connectors have been moved to a riser board, the mainboard rear panel carries only two PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard, four High-Speed USB ports, one FireWire port and a network RJ45 connector with diagnostic LEDs.
As for the actual PCB design, it is not absolutely flawless I should say. The power supply connectors are located very conveniently: the 24-pin connector is right in front of the DIMM slots, and a 4-pin connector – on the left corner of the board. The placement of the Serial ATA and USB pin-connectors is pretty questionable though. We believe they are located too close to the PCI Express x16 slot. Therefore when you install a long graphics card like NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra, for instance, you will have trouble connecting cables to these pin-connectors. We were also pretty disappointed to see the FDD connector on the very left side of the PCB right behind the last PCI slot. If you connect it to the floppy drive the cable will be hanging all across the system case.
Just like on the majority of NVIDIA nForce4 based mainboards, PCI slots on ABIT Fatal1ty AN8 are located to the left from the PCI Express x16 slot. As a result, when the system is assembled you get only two PCI slots at your disposal. This is also something you shouldn’t forget especially since the mainboard has no serial and parallel ports at all.
As for the processor Socket 939, it has a lot of free room around it. So, if your CPU cooler is really large, you may only face some installation problems if you are using the OTES RAMFlow cooling device. Anyway, if you do not use this device at all, then any massive processor cooler will fit onto the board just perfectly.