abit KV8-MAX3 - Page 3

..:: ABIT KV8-MAX3 Software Suite ::..

After the KV8-MAX3 has a fresh OS installed, the next thing you will need to do is install the drivers for the chipset and any integrated components you have decided to utilize. Simply insert the disc into your CD drive, and a window will proceed to pop up and display the correct drivers for each of the vital components, along with those of the optional hardware that you chose to enable via the BIOS. Click on the driver/s that you want to install, and a wizard will lead the way. It couldn't be any simpler.

The only way you will be able to fully interact with the heart and soul of ABIT’s exclusive µGuru feature is with a software package run from a Windows environment, so let's go over this feature now. The µGuru software that was shipped to us with our KV8-MAX3 sample is the 1.12 version. There are a total of six different categories within the µGuru feature, and they are as follows: OCGuru, ABITEQ, FanEQ, AudioEQ, FlashMenu and BlackBox.

OCGuru is a utility that was designed to help novices and experts alike with overclocking system components in real time. This allows for the user to avoid the hassle of constant restarts after nudging the frequencies up a bit to check for system stability, and then repeating the process until they have achieved a maximum stable overclock. Unfortunately, our experience with OCGuru proved to be rather fruitless. When we attempted to work with the OCGuru featured, no matter the frequency we tried to set the FSB to, it would always spike the FSB frequency an extra 20MHz, resulting in a system failure. It will be interesting to see how OCGuru will develop as the K8 platform matures, or how it works on current mature platforms, such as the AMD AthlonXP or the Intel Pentium 4, as ABIT releases these motherboards with their µGuru chip.

ABITEQ is a program that will monitor all voltages and component temperatures within your PC. This software seemed to work without error, and it has many options and available settings so that you can configure each individual value to a specific value that works best for you. If you are familiar with using other hardware monitoring programs, such as the various incarnations of the famed Motherboard Monitor software, then ABITEQ can only aid you with increased precision since the program was customized specifically for your KV8-MAX3.

The FanEQ software is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same thing that you will find in the BIOS for this µGuru feature, although it increases the ease of use as it can be used with a software interface. As the name of FanEQ suggests, the program will automatically adjust fan speeds in real time according to temperatures for the CPU, Northbridge and OTES fans. If you are on the hunt for a virtually noiseless system, then FanEQ will be a welcomed and useful addition to your setup.

AudioEQ is probably the least exciting category within the µGuru feature. It is basically a software suite that will only work if you decide to use the integrated audio on the KV8-MAX3. Over the last two years, we have seen integrated audio solutions really begin to step up to the plate as far as sound quality, and capabilities go. Nevertheless, most audio enthusiasts will still choose to opt with a PCI solution that will offer superior recording and playback quality, along with a lessened burden on the CPU. The AudioEQ software itself is an interface that will allow the user to adjust the equalizer themselves or pick from a list of presets.

ABIT FlashMenu is wonderful and worked with absolute perfection. Although this idea is nothing new, as we have used a feature like this from other manufacturers, no longer will a user have to search around ABIT’S website for the correct BIOS file, download the file, boot from a floppy disc and insert command switches to flash the BIOS. All the user will have to do now is click the button where it says "One Click Live Update," sit back, and relax while FlashMenu updates your BIOS to the latest available version.

BlackBox is an interesting and most welcome idea. ABIT claims that BlackBox will be able to record system crashes or failures, and then be able to report these errors to ABIT technical support for diagnostic purposes. Unfortunately, BlackBox will not be able to help the end user with each and every error a user could face, but this is the best thing I have ever seen implemented on a motherboard from a manufacturer that is willing to improve the technical support area of their products. In the long run, BlackBox will help out both parties tremendously as this technology develops.