Dual Marvell 88E1116 Gigabit PHYs to supplement Nvidia’s Dual Gigabit MACs on the chipset. Of course, you’ll be able to do teaming on this two GBe LANs!
Onboard HD Audio is handled by the Realtek ALC888DD chipset that is Dolby Digital Certified, WLP3.0 compliant (which means that it’s Vista ready!) and comes with additional VOIP functions.
This board features a one piece copper heat-pipe cooling solution, divided into 3 portions to cool Southbridge MCP, Northbridge SPP, and power management modules respectively. This is an improvement over the AWD9 MAX heat-pipe cooling solution, down to the basic material used: Copper instead of Aluminum of the AWD9 MAX. abit of course has it’s own term for this cooling – Silent OTES.
The IN9 32-Max comes with custom mounting holes for enthusiasts to fit in a 40mm fan of their choice, something that’s certainly refreshing for us as the other heatpipe solutions available in the market are wholly passive or comes with a propietary fan mount, and abit has really read the mind of enthusiasts here by allowing them to choose their cooling fan.
As this is partly a shootout between the leading nForce 680i SLI motherboards, I compared the heat-pipe (Of which I’m thoroughly impressed by the huge chunky base over the Northbridge and very well uitlized surface area maximizing tactical fin arrangement) of the abit IN9 32x MAX, against the one on the Inno3D NVIDIA Reference 680i board and the one on the ASUS Striker Extreme. As you can see in the picture above, the fins are thin and wide, with just the right amount of space in between to foster minimal air resistance and maximum surface area. I appreciate the work that goes into this, which comes at a higher cost of production for sure.
A nice heat sink connected to heatpipes rests over the tiny Power MOSFETs feeding the CPU, assisted by thermal pads which we shall look at in a while.
The Silicon Image SIL3132 e-SATA controller hiding below the copper heatpipes.
Dual 1/4″ copper pipings extend over, with protective lacquer over to retain shine and prevent tarnish…