ABIT did a good job with their implementation of the K8T800 chipset, taking advantage of almost all the features available. With the K8T800, the additional RAID controller, as well as the onboard sound and Gigabit Ethernet, the board provides a lot of headroom for future growth as we head into Q2 2004.
The Softmenu grants access to a number of tweaking options, though we've run into many of the same limitations as we have in the past with VIA based boards. The dividers are automatic, and although they do a decent job of trying to keep your AGP/PCI within specs, there is no way to manually adjust them, let alone lock them down.
Another issue experienced during testing was the need for a floppy disk during Windows installation if you are using the VIA SATA. With the Silicon Image controller, the need for the driver disk is to be expected, but even if you are not planning to use RAID, the disk is needed to activate the VIA SATA. Nothing is needed for the PATA, but seeing how Intel managed legacy support out of their SATA, I feel VIA should have as well.
One warning for fans of PC4000 ram, the KV8-MAX3 is very picky about it. Though the memory controller is on the A64, with previous K8T800 boards, I did have some success with Kingston's HyperX PC4000. On the KV8, this was not the case, as the ram just would not work when simply plugging it in. The workaround was to install PC3200 ram, and manually set the timings, power off, install the PC4000, and all was well. Granted, the board officially supports PC3200, but as we've experienced in the past, other boards automatically scaled back our PC4000's ram speed.
The ABIT KV8-MAX3 was easily the fastest of the three K8T800 boards tested today, and was quite stable throughout testing once we got past the memory situation. Priced at about 146$ USD, it falls in about the middle of the pack in terms of pricing, but you do get a lot of features and extras such as OTES cooling and SecureIDE. If you're in the market for an Athlon 64, this would be on my list as one of the better choices.
Del med dine venner