Leadtek K7NCR18D nForce2 Motherboard Review
Layout and Features
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Leadtek designed the K7NCR18D motherboards very well as far as the physical layout is concerned. The processor socket is in a vertical placement which keeps the heatsink clips away from the memory slots but also causes those of you with shorter cases to have to remove the motherboard before taking off or installing the heatsink. Leadtek has opted to keep the 4 mounting holes around the processor socket for the larger heatsinks. This should keep the overclockers at bay for a while longer.
As with all nForce2 motherboards, the Leadtek has full support for the new 333 MHz bus Athlon XP processors.
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The ATX power connector is below the processor socket and is well placed. There it does not risk interfering with the processor fan (assuming the user installs it correctly) and doesn’t interfere with memory installation or removal as it did on the Asus nForce2 motherboard. The north bridge of the nForce2 motherboard (or SPP) is at the now commonplace 45-degree angle and has a fairly moderate heatsink installed on it. There are three memory slots with two banks for the first DDR memory channel and one for the second channel. Again, for the best performance out of this motherboard, you should have identical memory modules in slots one and three; there by filling in best the DualDDR memory channels.
The slot configuration includes an 8x AGP slot with retention clip and four standard PCI slots. Taking up the room where there would be a 5th PCI slot is the ACR slot for the riser cards that the nForce2 chipset supports. Having only four PCI slots puts the Leadtek at a definite disadvantage against the KT400 motherboards that are out there, but they can compensate somewhat with the inclusion of a network interface built on as well as the option for actually using the ACR slot for something like a sound riser.
The IDE ports are on the far bottom corner of the board and keep things nice and clean during installation. Again we do not see any form of IDE RAID on this motherboard (or any nForce2 boards). Though, the Asus A7N8X does include SATA RAID.
The on-board sound on the Leadtek board follow the NVIDIA SoundStorm format and include Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding and support for both 6-channel audio output and SPDIF output.
Using the MCP-T south bridge, Leadtek has included I/O options such as USB 2.0, 10/100-network adaptor and 3 IEEE1394 (FireWire) ports. There is also a header for an optional SmartCard reader to be attached directly to the board.