• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

ABIT IN932 MAX Review and MOD guide

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

gilgamesh1

Registered
Joined
Nov 22, 2006
Location
yorkshire
Please also see the direct link to abit's site

http://www.abit.com.tw/page/en/moth...content=IN9+32X-MAX+Wi-Fi&utm_campaign=U95095

please also see the review I did on hexus to see the images

This motherboard is BRILLIANT! THE motherboard is rock-solid stable at stock and overclocked speeds!



I received from abit their new and in their words 'overclocking monster' of a motherboard board. This of course would be the IN9 32-MAX which for those whom are not in the know is based on the NVIDIA 680I chipset. Many overclockers and hardware enthusiasts will be have this answer on their mind, 'so what 680i chipset has been out awhile' The answer to that would be, this is because abit had decided to take their TIME with this board and made sure they got it right. Need I explain the nightmare of BSOD errors, hard drive corruption problems with SATA drives, which has happened with other manufacturers (need I mention them) motherboards. So in essence there is something to be said about 'abit' taking their time to 'get it right'

So before we go on let us compare this to their 'overclocking' dream, the AW9D MAX which was the motherboard in my system before this one. The AW9D MAX is a great performing motherboard having achieved results of 424 to 430 FSB (Front Side Bus) with a 9X multiplier on a 6600 Conroe. This achieved an overclocking result of 3.817 (a 66% overclock). This motherboard is capable of so much more but is let down by only a few minor things, such as dodgy placement of FDD connector (on the next motherboard abit should remove the FDD connector altogether (). Only 1 PCI slot and if you used the board in crossfire mode this then would disable that pci slot. This for some would be frustrating if anyone did NOT wish to use the onboard soundcard! The standard rubber-like substance underneath the Northbridge, around the CPU and PWM just simply cannot even begin to compete with good old artic silver 5. Spraying the bottom of the heatsinks with black paint was a bad idea-therefore decreasing the conductive properties of the heatsink. Cleaning off the black paint and using artic silver 5 on these achieved an 8 to 10 degree lower temperature on the Northbridge.

Users also complained of the apparent lack of advanced memory timings with this board. Another thing was the placement of SATA sockets all over the board again the same for the USB, firewwire headers. Many large capacitors placed around the CPU, this lead to a CPU block namely the Apogee and the Storm (by swiftech) not quite fitting as good as it should. Lastly but the most frustrating of all is no fsb 1333 strap and (this is now corrected I believe with the 1.3 BIOS UPDATE). Having said the above this is a great motherboard and a brilliant overclocker. This board should make abit proud and goes along way to reclaiming the old glory days of the IC7-MAX3 (Yes we ALL remember that board with very fond memories )

So let’s have a first look. I am tempted to skip the trimmings like the box design as overclockers aren’t interested in this sort of thing we just wish to hear about its performance. However the box design caught my eye and so must be mentioned. On ripping off the 'citylink' wrapping I was greeted with a black box with a rather colourful dragon emblazoned exclaiming 'tame the beast within' Lifting the box flap I was greeted with the main parts of the motherboard displayed such as the 'silent otes and its Northbridge.

Let us now go onto the specification of this motherboard.

Specifications

Copper EFFECT heatsinks (not actually copper please note)

The usual SILENT OTES heat pipe system
A PCI-E Wireless LAN card (YES PCIE and not the usual PCI) AT 54mbs
Three PCIE slots (2 are x16 and 1 is a x8)
2X External SATA ports
6x Internal SATA sockets
Supports up to 32GIG of RAM
FSB strap of 1333 (At last yes )
Dual gigabit LAN cards
HDMI header ready
Onboard 7.1 Digital AUDIO 7.1 DTS soundcard
Onboard power switches
The usual OC strips
Debug display.
Lastly an EZ Clear CMOS switch


Now we take a look at the motherboard layout and we can see what abit has learned and to see if they have listened to their fan base.



On first looking at this board I was greeted with HUGE amounts of metal and realised that the 680i is one 'hot beast' to tame and the fact with this amount of metal it should be a ‘doddle’ to ‘overclock’ The next thing that jumped out at me was TOTAL LACK of capacitors around the CPU, this would make it IDEAL for ANY third party heatsink/waterblock of YOUR choice and this factor should make it the ‘motherboard of choice' for overclockers/watercoolers.




The next thing we take a look to see if they have fixed the dodgy placement of the floppy drive connector. It seems that we no longer have to worry about this as abit have altered this and placed the connector on the near side, just above the LED display. I am aware that the ONLY reason why we still use floppy drive connectors is to enable the RAID function during the F6 install sequence of Windows XP. However when Windows Vista is released we should look forward to abit REMOVING this piece of out-dated legacy hardware forever!

Next we look at the SATA connectors. Again abit have listened and have placed every SATA connector (bar the external ports) on the edge of the motherboard there for removing the need to trail your SATA cable over the motherboard itself. It must be noted that SATA ports are placed at a 90 degree angle for the reasons I have stated above.




One of the things I like about abit boards is that they always put a power on and reset switch on the motherboards, thus saving you lots of hassle when doing a 'desk build'. I.E building the computer OUTSIDE of the case for testing and fault diagnosis! The main feature that I am most impressed with is a simple feature but so-overlooked by many and that is the 'EZ- clear CMOS switch’ this alone is a 'god-send' for many overclockers and saves the hassle of opening the side of the case when a bad overclock has occurred. Whilst compiling this review and test results this switch was very handy indeed. The EZ-clear CMOS switch is located at the back of the motherboard next the optical and external SATA ports at the back of the motherboard.

On inspecting this motherboard I came to the conclusion that this motherboard BEGS to be modified. The reason for which is that upon removing the heavy copper heatsink from the Northbridge we encounter a rather large thermal pad upon which the heatsink rests due to it being copper. Scraping a small hole through this (just large enough for the Northbridge core itself) but leaving the thermal pad AROUND the core untouched, so as to have the heavy copper heatsink rest upon the thermal pad. Squeezing a small amount of Artic silver 5 upon the core (about the size of a grain of rice) rendered a 4 degree temperature difference on the core itself. This is an old trick for motherboard modders but an effective one. I have yet to do the Heatsink above the 'PULSE' chip. This also brings me to the reason WHY there are no capacitors around the CPU. The reason for which is that NVIDIA in their wisdom decided to control power flow to the CPU digitally thus negating the need for all those capacitors, according to what I have read on the various forms. Backtracking to the Northbridge itself! Abit STILL has that awful brown substance that plagued the AW9D MAX. I am given to understand that abit has an understanding that this in itself does NOT void you warranty so long as you do NOT use a third party ‘stick on’ Northbridge heatsink as this could damage the Northbridge core itself.

One of the more important issues with this motherboard is that abit needs to think of the more hardcore overclocker such as water cooling systems etc. As there is no airflow around the heatsinks



Due to the CPU fan no longer being present due to the water block being on top of the CPU, there is no airflow so the PWMs heat up a little more, nowhere near dangerous levels but there are hotter than they could be! Luckly I had this motherboard installed in a LIAN-LI V2000B+ case which has a 120mm fan placed very near the PWM’S
So an idea for abit would be to include some sort of fan that will sit on top of the heatsinks to cool them off. With the 120mm nexus fan blowing on them the PWMS were a massive fourteen degrees cooler than they were before. Abit have also included two clips to help you install a 40mm fan to the Northbridge heatsink. On reading the temperature difference in the in both the BIOS and guru I will conclude that the fan is useless due to the design of the heatsink. This due to the fact that since the Heatsink is slatted most of the air that is blown onto the heatsink is being wasted out of the sides. Abit must learn that although heatsinks are GREAT for gamers boards I.E the fatality board but for a overclocker board a more aggressive solution is needed, I.E something more effective than heatpipes.

Although the USB headers are all in one place the firewire ports are once again ALL over the board, so if you wish to use the additional firewire and USB ports then you have once again a lead stretching over the board. It would be useful to have the USB and firewire headers near the end of the board to eliminate this problem.

Another thing I did like was the fact that abit have actually included a PCI EXPRESS wireless LAN card instead of either an onboard solution or a PCI one. This card has a data transfer rate of 54mbs. I have not fully tested this card as of yet as I do not have a wireless router!

BIOS

Before I go on I must point out a minor bug in the motherboards BIOS. When entering the intergrated peripherals section and telling the motherboard to detect the mouse under BIOS instead of the ‘OS’ it causes a system instability when trying to boot into windows. Changing the setting back to ‘OS’ fixes the problem. This in itself is not a problem unless you wish to say use the mouse in DOS mode for utilities such as ‘Partition Magic’. ABIT are working on this problem as we speak


As an overclocker the first thing I did upon entering the BIOS (after finding the above problem) was to run into was the uguru utility. I have heard great rumours about the 680i chipset and the main one is this. You can overclock the CPU via the FSB WITHOUT overclocking the RAM also!! So the old adage of buying expensive RAM to overclock high enough has just gone out of the window. This is GOOD news for those whom wish to save on the specifications of a new system, I have no idea why abit did not make public this fact and did not put it on any sales/marketing blurb as if I was in their position I would have, as this is a great sales point. Although this is not an abit feature but rather a NVIDIA feature it still must be mentioned as this will help someone to choose this motherboard over the AW9D MAX.



One of the criticisms of the AW9D max was the fact that there were no advanced memory timings on this motherboard. Upon looking at this they have seemed to have addressed this fact. Speaking of memory one of the minus points about the AW9D MAX was there were quite a few types of memory that were incompatible with it and some even when you inserted a DDR2 800 module the Bios still said it was DDR2 667. Again I believe this issue has been addressed in the 1.3 BIOS update!



Overclocking

I know I have mentioned this before but I must state this feature again and this is the EZ- Clear CMOS switch!! This feature ALONE makes it in my opinion the best 680i chipset motherboard to date

I just have to say I love this motherboard and its flexible use for over clocking.

as you can see by the photos I just did a quick overclock to 3.8 and it handled the board with ease.






Conclusion This about one of the best boards I have seen from abit. There are some room for improvments (see modding guide) but this motherboard will knock the pants of everything else!

MODDING GUIDE

assuming you motherboard is outside of the case. Turn over the motherboard and underneath, using a pair of needled nose pliers squeeze in the retaining studs on all the heatsinks and pull off the heatsinks off from the motherboard.
Tor reveal bot hte northibridge and the southbridge cores. Firstly PULL of that AWFUL brown substance from the cores.





Northbridge core with a small dollop of artic silver 5 on



Again with the southbridge
https://flic.kr/p/y2E3h
Next I had to snap of with a pair of blunt pliers the Southbridge heatsink fro mthe northbridge via the heatpipe so as to totall seperate the two.

BEWWARE THIS PART OF THE MOD WILL INVALIDATE YOUR WARRANTY!


Once completed attach the northbridge and the heast sink the goes ABOVE the CPU and make sure the studs are firmly insiert and locked.

Then with your pre-bought waterblock/ heatsink, and in the case of a waterblock insert the bolts MAKING SURE there are NONE metalic washers on the either side of the bolt/nut



Once done then drop in the waterblock and slowly at the same time tighten the nuts the SAME amount of revolutions each!



Note: You may have to saw off and file down the retaining clampp on one side of the waterblock as there is a slight design flaw in the way the southbridge is placed, the bolt could short ON teh GPU therefore frying your board and OR GPU So be CAREFUL!



OK thats it for now updates will be done as I progress.

Sorry for the delay folks

Gilgamesh
 

woca

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
i was just reading about this this morning

it looks amazing

im planning on building a comp and i was looking at the EVGA 680i mobo but this has definitely got my attention

if initial reviews from customers are this good, im probably gonna get this
 

LordFrank

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
From the research I've been doing on this board it has the same issues as all the other 680i's and some new ones (the new problems look like they are being addressed in the next BIOS release though).

Some boards are great and work great with people that really "know" what they are doing. But it looks like the mainstream has the same issues with FSB holes, memory compadibilty issues and what not.

It does seem like a better (and cheaper) board then the ASUS Striker though, which is a plus.

I have an eVGA 680i board atm and I've been on evga's forums a lot latly reading about the slew of issues the board has, some if which I have to, others I do not... but due to a lot of my problems being heat related even though I have excellent cooling, I've been looking at a "better built" board, so I've been researching the IN9 32MAX, and I'm not convienced that it solves anything.

My two cents anyway... = /
 

DaaG

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Anyone know what audio is on this board? The Abit website does not state in the specs whether it has realtek or something else, which leads me to beleive it is realtek.
 

Deanzo

Benchmarking Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Location
Christchurch, New Zealand
DaaG said:
Anyone know what audio is on this board? The Abit website does not state in the specs whether it has realtek or something else, which leads me to beleive it is realtek.

It does, but its on the download page "Realtek High Definition Audio Driver"
 

woca

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Whats the default voltage for RAM?

I want to get 2GB crucial ballistix ddr2 800 and they run at 2.2 v

if anyone knows please share
 

DaaG

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Looks like the default voltage is 1.8, reading from page 1-2 of manual, of motherboard layout, and written in middle of dim slots is 1.8v.
I have not ordered all my parts to build rig yet so I cannot fire it up =(
 

Richie13

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Location
Long Island, NY
woca said:
Whats the default voltage for RAM?

I want to get 2GB crucial ballistix ddr2 800 and they run at 2.2 v

if anyone knows please share


Hi Woca,

I just finished my new build last night, which is in my sig. The G.Skill ram I used is rated at 1.8v-2.0v, so it isn't highly overclockable. As soon as it posted, I immediately went into the BIOS and found it had defaulted to 1.8v. Whether this mobo defauts to that or something more, I don't know. If it was me and I had better ram, the first thing I'd do is increase voltage to them just to be safe.

Richie
 

Airbornederekc

Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Location
Massachusetts
I am debating between this board or the asus board. they both are kinda nice and i really like asus, however i had great luck with my IC7-Max 3 so i would like to try it out.
 

DaaG

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
BTW if you take off the heat pipes make sure you save and REUSE the thermal pad under the pwm set, the heatsink does NOT set on the pwm chips.

There is about a 1-2mm gap from under the heatsink and thermal paste will not work, reuse the thermal pad that was there. You can clean and use paste for the nb/sb just fine tho.

Sorry Airborne, I am still messing around in my bios to try to get my ram up to speed.
 

maxwedge

Member
Joined
May 3, 2002
Location
CA, USA
DaaG said:
BTW if you take off the heat pipes make sure you save and REUSE the thermal pad under the pwm set, the heatsink does NOT set on the pwm chips.

There is about a 1-2mm gap from under the heatsink and thermal paste will not work, reuse the thermal pad that was there. You can clean and use paste for the nb/sb just fine tho.
The gap is no where close to that big on the pwm. It's more like a few 10ths of a mm. If you use thermal paste you won't get contact unless you sand down the 'feet' of the HS. The pink pad takes up gaps better.
 
OP
G

gilgamesh1

Registered
Joined
Nov 22, 2006
Location
yorkshire
Airbornederekc said:
i turned it on and nothing got worse so i think its a good thing.

Yup I modded the guide, Yes I now officialy recommend that the THERMAL layer that is underneath teh PWM heatsink is re-used.

gilgamesh