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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.14.08]
Manufactured by: Universal Abit



Now, the fun part. The single thing that can make the AX78 stand above other boards in its $90 price range. How does it overclock?

To find out, we set the memory timings on a set of OCZ we reviewed a while back to a relaxed 5-5-5-15 configuration. Voltage was upped to 2.1v. With these settings, we've gotten this set of RAM up to speeds of DDR2 1040. However, since this is a motherboard review and not a ram review, the multiplier was set to DDR400. This way, we will reach the limits of the board long before we reach the limits of the memory.

The HT bus was set to 2X, and the CPU multiplier to 5X. All voltages were increased as well, to help with stability. Now, there is nothing holding us back from finding the absolute highest FSB voltage.

Drum-roll please...

Does 357 MHz sound good to you? I thought it might! This is very good for a $90 board (or any, for that matter) and with some extra tweaking, I'm sure an experienced overclocker can take it even higher.

I should note now that we will be using this very motherboard for an upcoming CPU overclocking article. We were able to take a $50 X2 CPU, and get it to speeds higher than this $170 X2 6400+. Watch for that soon.

Unfortunately, the Abit AX78 leaves me with mixed feelings coming out of this review. On one hand, Universal Abit produced a board that is stable, laid out perfectly, overclocks VERY well, and can be had very cheap. However, it is being held back by a crap AMD/ATI chipset.

On the other hand, anyone who wants to build a system with full AM2+ support and CrossFire X doesn't really have much choice other than to use crappy AMD/ATI chipsets. So really, the AX78 doesn't fall behind other boards in that regard. Everyone who uses a crappy chipset will have the same problems.

The Phenom isn't exaclty known to be a great overclocker either, so there isn't much to compel us to use a board with the AMD 7xx chipset either. For most people running an Athlon64 X2, something that uses an NForce chipset would probably be a better bet.

However, if you DO want to use an AMD chipset and don't mind leaving your drives in IDE mode, or giving up some USB performance, I really don't mind recommending the AX78. For a $90 motherboard it performs pretty well aside from the Southbridge issues. And as you can see, it overclocks like a mother...

What this really does is prove that Universal Abit can take the world's crappiest modern chipset, and turn out a great, affordable motherboard with it.

  • Perfect layout
  • AM2+ support, Crossfire X
  • Overclocks extremely well
  • Rock solid stable

  • AHCI implementation is essentially broken on the chipset
  • Poor USB performance (chipset)
  • Very basic with not many addons
  • No external USB ports included in box!