Want to upgrade to Intel's Core 2 Duo? What about the motherboard though? It's straightforward on the opposite camp - if you're maintaining your allegiance to AMD, then grab a decent Nforce 5 motherboard, and Bob's moving in with your Aunt.
For Core 2 Duo though, you must weigh up the pros of i965 mobos against the cons of i975 and the potential of Nvidia's chips.
Pump up the pixels
Abit has just confused things by releasing this - an enthusiast board based on Intel's 975X chipset, which has some serious overclocking potential up its sleeve. This is great, as the coolest thing about the Core 2 Duo is its eagerness to run faster.
Using a standard Intel cooler we managed to tweak the FSB up to over 275MHz. Overclocking potential aside, this is a decent motherboard in most other areas - decent design and looks, too.
One thing that may shock for such a well-rounded mobo is the rather limited upgrade potential. You do get a pair of full length PCI Express slots for CrossFire setups, and there are a pair of single speed slots nestled between these (although these will be tricky to access if you've got two 3D cards).
There is only one PCI slot present, and while the integrated AudioMax 7.1 audio is decent, you might scupper your upgrade potential by installing a dedicated soundcard.
Intel is charging a small fortune for its premium chipset, and Abit has clearly spent some time tweaking it, resulting in a pretty pricey mobo. But for the money, this isn't half bad, if you're out to overclock a Core 2 Duo. Lack of PCI slots aside, this gets a definite thumbs up. Alan Dexter