..:: ABIT KV8-MAX3 System BIOS ::..
The KV8-MAX3 is equipped with ABIT’s popular SoftMenu III customized Phoenix-Award BIOS. The images shown below are with the 1.6 version (updated using uGuru FlashMenu) and this release was also used for all of our benchmarking, overclocking and torture tests. The images below represent what the KV8-MAX3 can offer over a typical enthusiast BIOS.
All of the overclocking options for the KV8-MAX3 are located within the SoftMenu III section of the BIOS, and the image above was taken with the highest settings available for each individual overclocking option. I seriously doubt that anyone could possibly need more for their overclocking adventures since the AGP and PCI clocks cannot be locked, and also taking the infancy of the K8 core into account. The VCore selections can be adjusted in a rather unusual way, to provide voltage to the processor in .01v increments. Focus your attention now to the phrase at the very bottom of the SoftMenu III screen. It reads "Press F8 to OC on the Fly" and we tried several times with numerous configurations, but pressing the F8 key did absolutely nothing.
The image above represents what the ABIT KV8-MAX3 can offer a user for tweaking their installed memory of choice. These options are available in the DRAM configuration sub-menu found within the Advanced Chipset Features main menu. The actual memory timing settings for each one listed has a very broad range, so if you are planning on squeezing out a CAS 2.0-2-2-2-5-1T timing set, or to aim for a high FSB with CAS 3-etc., you need not worry. The KV8-MAX3 has got you covered. You just have to make sure your memory can handle what you throw at it, and then you are off to tweak the night away.
The last section of the BIOS we are going to take a look at is called FanEQ. This is a section of the BIOS that will work in conjunction with the ABIT µGuru chip. It will surely come in handy for some users, especially if you have a fan that made the annoying sound that we experienced in our tests when it was spinning at the highest RPM setting. Just set the values to whatever suits your fancy and the µGuru chip will adjust the speed of the fan based on the temperature range of the selected device.
..:: ABIT KV8-MAX3 Overclocking ::..
With the given amount of headroom and options within the BIOS of the KV8-MAX3, we were curious to see how well the board could overclock our test system. Our overclocking adventures, of course, had to be performed manually since the OCGuru software failed to prove it could do it for us. I wasn't too surprised to see that ABIT’s solution was able to push the system farther than any other K8T800 chipset based motherboard we have tested to date, since the engineers at ABIT are the pioneers of overclocking.
The motherboard finally hit a 440MHz DDR FSB ceiling while the memory timings remained at 2.0-3-3-6-1T. I did have to increase the processor voltage to 1.6v, the Hyper-Transport voltage to 1.35v, and the DDR voltage to 2.8v to get our maximum result, but the KV8-MAX3 proved to us that it could still complete our tests without fault at these settings. Anything higher and the system became quite unstable. In the end, our congratulations go to ABIT for a job well done. If the OCGuru software could have achieved this overclock for us, it would have been twice as nice.