Review Index:

Asus A7N8X nForce2 Motherboard Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus

Layout and Features

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If there is one thing about this board that bothered me, it was the physical layout that Asus chose to go with. The CPU socket is in perhaps the worst location and has the closest capacitors that I have seen on a motherboard to date. Getting the Foxxcon stock heatsink on the Athlon XP 2700+ processor was difficult enough, but I actually had to bend (user beware!) the capacitor in order to fit the Vantec heatsink clip on the socket. And, forget the AX-7 – don’t even think about it! Interestingly though, Asus did keep the four holes for the larger heatsinks.

Another layout placement that I did not like was the ATX power connector. It is placed directly next to the floppy and IDE connectors and makes it annoying to get any of those four devices connected or disconnected when they are all filled. The moving of the ATX power connector from between the memory slots and North Bridge was a necessary step, but there are many other places that I would have preferred this to go.

The north bridge has the signature 45-degree tilt to it and has a large, passive heatsink mounted on it. The memory slots are much closer to the chipset than other motherboards in order to facilitate having a higher memory speed and timing option. The less distance that the signals have to carry with the least noise is what allows the NVIDIA nForce2 platform to reach DDR400 specifications and allow their DDR333 memory to run at the fastest possible memory settings. The memory is once again in a 2x1 configuration for a total of 3 memory slots, slots 1 and 2 for DDR channel 1 and slot 3 for DDR channel 2. In order to get the best performance, having identical sticks of RAM in slots 1 and 3 is required. This is a similar situation to what original nForce users found themselves in.

The side connector panel shows off some of the features that the Asus A7N8X motherboard has to offer including 6-channel audio, dual network cards and 4 USB 2.0 ports built right onto the board. There is a 8x AGP Pro slot as well as five PCI slots and a single ACR slot for a riser card.

Scattered throughout the rest of the board you will find the hints of the remaining features that Asus has included on this motherboard: two channel IEEE 1394 (Fire Wire), serial ATA support, Smart card reader, two additional USB headers and Wake on LAN connector. That is quite a list to have; with the only thing being left out is IDE RAID – which I don’t remember seeing on any nForce motherboard.

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