Abit KV8 Pro Socket 754 Motherboard
The Abit KV8 is very well designed but there are some quirks that may or may not affect you.
Starting with the socket area, we see that there is a crowd of capacitors along the outer edge of the retention mechanism. Because these capacitors are 22mm tall, which are a little taller than those found on some other boards, larger heatsinks may have problems during installation, though I suspect most properly designed coolers should not have problems clearing these components.
These capacitors may cause heatsink incompatibilities.
The Abit KV8 has two DIMMs for a total of 2GB of RAM which is less than some other K8T800 motherboards that have 3 or even 4 DIMMs. But since Abit is aiming squarely at the mid-budget range of under $100USD, supporting only 2 DIMMs reduces costs while not sacrificing functionality. However by only have 2 DIMMs, it makes upgrading a little more restrictive.
The big feature of the Abit KV8 Pro is the uGuru microprocessor. This Abit exclusive feature allows the user to have fine control over performance features of the motherboard like overclocking and cooling. I will explore this feature more in the Software and Extras section, but it's worth saying that Abit's uGuru tool is a strong, positive step at simplifying performance adjustments and gives the user a lot more power.
The KV8 Pro features two SATA connections that support RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD. There is no RAID 5, or RAID 1+0 support.
The VIA VT8237 Southbridge offers SATA RAID 0 and 1.
My biggest gripe about the design of the board is the location of the IDE channels. Though I agree with Ryan that having them oriented facing the edge of the board helps with a neater installation, I feel their location is very poor. In my Antec 800-series case, my 18' cables (standard cable length) were not long enough to connect both my optical drives to either IDE-1 or IDE-2. I had to compromise by having to only use one optical drive during testing in the lowest drive bay. This may not affect all of you (i.e. if you have a smaller case), so just be aware you may need to get longer cables..
There are five fan headers on the motherboard, three of which you can adjust voltages and RPM using the uGuru OC tool.
A nice shiny blue cooler is mounted over the MCP chip to help dissipate heat during normal operation. If you plan on overclocking, expect to
The backpanel features your typical legacy connections, four USB 2.0 ports, LAN, 6-channel audio, and optical input and output.