Asus K8N-E Deluxe Socket 754 Motherboard
The biggest feature on the K8N-E would be the two RAID controllers. The first RAID controller is built into the nForce 3 MCP chip and gives RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and JBOD capabilities on the IDE and SATA. The second controller is a Silicon Image SiL 3114C chip capable of RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5, and JBOD. There is no hot-plugging support for SATA drives on the K8N-E.
Because of these two drive controllers, the Asus K8N-E Deluxe is able to support 4 IDE devices and 6 SATA drives for a total of a 10 devices! For professional applications, this makes the K8N-E ideal as a server for hosting critical information by combining storage flexibility, performance, and reliability.
Instead of using nVIDIA's SoundStorm audio, the K8N-E Deluxe uses a ALC850 8-channel solution branded 'Ai Audio' by Asus. The benefits of 8 channels aren't as great as you would think for movies since there are no DVD movies that support 7.1 audio natively. In games, this is more beneficial because the sound in games can be generated to take advantage of rear speakers.
Though the K8N-E Deluxe uses an nVIDIA chipset, it does not use nVIDIA SoundStorm. One downside of not using nVIDIA's SoundStorm is that analog sound sources going through the SPDIF connection only come out as stereo. To gain the advantage of surround speakers, while listening analog sources (like music or playing games), you will have to use analog outputs for your surround speakers. For more information about this 'dilemma', please check out our Audio Forum and ask one of our friendly members.
There are two firewire ports, one of which is built into the backpanel. I'm glad to see that manufacturers are finally putting firewire directly onto the panels rather than just on a bracket. Gigabit LAN on a Marvell controller, and eight USB 2.0 connections (two on the back panel, and two headers onboard) round-out the hardware features.