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Asus A8N32-SLI nForce4 SLI X16 Motherboard Review

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus
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Introduction and Specifications

Introduction


All the way back in August of this year NVIDIA unofficially announced the X16 versions of their X16 nForce4 chipsets for AMD and Intel platforms by partnering with Dell on a new gaming system.  Unfortunately for the media and for gamers in general this did not allow us to get a hold of a motherboard to test and review.  We were simply left with vague statements from NVIDIA and partners that the X16 chipsets were going to be the "ultimate gamer's platform" and the like.  Well now we have a retail motherboard in house from Asus, the A8N32-SLI, and we can finally get at the information we all wanted.


Of course, we are also going to go through our entire motherboard testing suite so we can guage how well implemented the chipset is on Asus' board.  Below is the list of specs from Asus' website, and its quite a long one...


Specifications (from Asus.com)











































































CPU

Socket 939 for AMD® Athlon™ 64 FX / Athlon 64 X2 / Athlon 64 / Sempron™ processor
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
* Refer to www.asus.com for AMD CPU support list

Chipset

NVIDIA nForce™4 SLI X16 (NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 / NVIDIA nForce4 SLI)

Front Side Bus

2000 / 1600 MT/s

Memory

Dual channel memory architecture
4 x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR 400 / 333 / 266, ECC, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for "Memory QVL (Qualify Vendor List)

Expansion Slots

2 x PCI-E x16 with SLI™ support at full x16, x16 mode
1 x PCI-E x4 (Support PCI-E x4 or PCI-E x1 card)
3 x PCI 2.2

SLI

Support two identical SLI-ready graphics cards (both x16 mode)
ASUS EZ Plug
ASUS two-slot thermal design
ASUS Soft SLI Bridge
ASUS PEG Link for dual PCI Express graphics cards

Storage/RAID

NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 Southbridge supports
- 2 x Ultra DMA 133 / 100 / 66 / 33
- 4 x Serial ATA 3 Gb/s
- NV RAID: RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD on Serial ATA drives Silicon Image 3132 SATA controller supports
- 1 x Internal Serial ATA 3 Gb/s hard disk
- 1 x External Serial ATA hard disk (SATA On-the-Go)
- Support RAID 0, 1

LAN

Dual Gigabit LAN
Marvell® 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit LAN controller
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 Southbridge built-in Gigabit MAC with external Marvell 88E1111 PHY supports:
- NV Firewall
- NV RIS (Remote Installation Service)
- NV ActiveArmor
- AI NET

Wireless LAN

*Wireless edition only
54 Mbps IEEE 802.11g and backwards compatible with 11 Mbps IEEE 802.11b
- Software Access point mode (under Windows 2000, XP, 2003)
- Client mode
- Ad-Hoc mode
- One-touch wizard
- Wake on Wireless LAN
- Bundle an external antenna

Audio

Realtek® ALC850 8-channel CODEC
Universal Audio Jack
Audio Sensing and Enumeration Technology
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports on back I/O

IEEE 1394

TI® 1394a controller supports:
- 2 x IEEE 1394a connectors at midboard

USB

10 x USB 2.0/1.1

ASUS AI Life Features

Stack Cool 2
SATA on the Go (External SATA on back I/O port)

Overclocking Features

Intelligent overclocking tools:
- AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System)
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- ASUS PEG Link - Automatically performance tuning for single/dual graphics cards
Precision Tweaker:
- vDIMM: 8-step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.0125V increment SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
- Memory tuning from 400MHz up to 800MHz
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 200MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection:
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Special Features

ASUS 8-Phase Power Design
ASUS Fanless Design
ASUS AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
ASUS AI NET2
ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall)
ASUS MyLogo2
ASUS Q-Fan2

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Parallel
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
1 x External SATA
2 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x Wireless LAN antenna jack
1 x Wireless LAN activity LED
8-Channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors

6 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
2 x IDE connector
5 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU / 2 x Chassis / 2 x Chipset / 1 x Power Fan connectors
1 x GAME / MIDI connector
2 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x COM connector
Front panel audio connector
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD / AUX audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
4-pin EZ Plug power connector

BIOS

8 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash, ASUS CrashFree BIOS2

Manageability

WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE, RPL

Accessories

SLI bridge connector
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
IDE cable
FDD cable
SATA cables
SATA power cables
USB2.0 / Game port module
COM port module
IEEE1394 port module
I/O Shield
InterVideo WinDVD Suite (OEM version)
User's manual
Optional Fan (for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only)

Support CD

Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Booster
NV RIS (Remote Installation Service) application
NV Firewall
NV RAID
Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor, 12'x 9.6' (30.5cm x 24.5cm)

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