Abit AN-M2 is a socket AM2 motherboard with on-board video based on GeForce 7025-630a chipset from NVIDIA, competing directly in both price and functionalities with motherboards based on AMD 690V and AMD 690G, thus targeted to digital entertainment PCs. Let’s take a look at the performance and features of Abit AN-M2.
Figure 1: Abit AN-M2 motherboard.
We haven’t reviewed a motherboard from Abit since they were bought by Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) and changed their official name to Universal Abit, one year and a half ago. Even though the name is the same, the company is different. In order to differentiate themselves from the “old” Abit, they now write their name in lower case, “abit”, while the “old” Abit was written in all caps, “ABIT”. Anyway, we were very curious to review one of their new motherboards to take a look at what they’ve been doing.
NVidia released recently two new chipsets with integrated graphics, GeForce 7050 and GeForce 7025. The main difference between the two is the support for HDMI and PureVideo on GeForce 7050, features not present on GeForce 7025. PureVideo is the name give by NVIDIA to their set of 2D enhancements, like video de-interlacing. This feature is known on the AMD/ATI world as Avivo.
The other basic specs remain the same from the GeForce 6100 series, like Shader 3.0 (DirectX 9.0) engine, engine core running at 425 MHz (475 MHz on GeForce 6150 except LE and SE models) and two pixel shader processors and two vertex shader processors. There are some minor differences, and you can see them on the table from Figure 2, which was taken from NVIDIA’s website.
Figure 2: Differences between GeForce 7000 and GeForce 6100 chipsets.
AMD 690V also doesn’t support HDMI, runs at a lower clock rate (350 MHz) and has only one video controller, providing only one video output. AMD 690G runs at 400 MHz and supports HDMI – even though not all AMD 690G motherboards come with a HDMI connector –, thus being in this respect a direct competitor to GeForce 7050, not 7025. However, GeForce 7025 has two independent video outputs, just like AMD 690G. Both AMD chipsets are Shader 2.0 parts (DirectX 9.0) but have four pixel shader processors and four vertex shader processors, double the amount found on NVIDIA chipsets.
The good thing about GeForce 7025 is that it has two independent video controllers inside, providing two video outputs on-board. Abit AN-M2 comes with two video outputs: one standard VGA output and one DVI output, allowing you to connect two video monitors to your computer at the same time without needing to install an add-on video card. This is simply great, especially if you think that the primary target of this motherboard is digital home PCs.
In summary, GeForce 7025 is better than AMD 690V because it has two video outputs, but AMD 690 series has Avivo, while GeForce 7025 doesn’t have a similar technology (PureVideo).
Before going further, we need to clarify that GeForce 7025 is a single-chip solution, integrating on the same chip the equivalent of a north bridge and a south bridge. The south bridge that is integrated inside GeForce 7025 is called nForce 630a and that’s why you will see GeForce 7025 being also referred as GeForce 7025-630a.
Of Figure 3 you can see the connectors present on the motherboard rear panel: PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, optical SPDIF out, VGA, DVI, analog audio inputs and outputs, four USB 2.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet port. There is no serial or parallel ports on this motherboard, not even through an I/O bracket.
Figure 3: Rear panel connectors.