Getting this mobo installed and up and running was about as easy as it gets. One of the first things I did was pop out the old I/O plate and install the new one that came with the motherboard package. This was a simple process and here are a few pics of the plate.
Inside the case
Outside the case
The IC7-MAX3 was lacking a few secure points due to the OTES but this didn't hamper installation or seem to affect the sturdiness of the install in any way. Additionally, I was initially concerned that the OTES cooling system and possibly the huge Northbridge cooler could cause problems when getting this motherboard installed with other peripherals. However once I got it installed and started working around it, my suspicions were put to rest and there were no troubles at all. Here is a shot that does show my OCS R9700 Level3 video card that comes close to the chipset cooler, but does not cause any problems at all.
A clean boot into windows was no problem whatsoever and I wanted to get the BIOS updated to the latest revision as soon as possible. ABIT is touting their "One Click! Live Update" program so I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work and I got an error stating this motherboard did not support Flash Menu.
O'well. No big deal. I simply downloaded the latest BIOS, version 1.2 and did it the old fashioned way. With my trusty USB FDD. Instructions in the manual were clear and concise and gave a list of commands to use when implementing the new BIOS rev. Here are a few shots of the update.
Updating your BIOS can certainly be an intimidating task, but ABIT has made it just about as easy as it gets. (even though the One button Live Update would be nicer :). The Update went w/out a hitch and reset the CMOS and then went in to checkout the BIOS options for the board. This is where the fun begins.
ABIT continues with their patented SoftMenu™ BIOS and if you've worked with older variations of this setup you'll be right at home here. BIOS options are nearly endless so I'm just going to cover a few key areas that the enthusiasts should be interested in.
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