We reviewed a few nForce4 SLI motherboards several months ago and found that while SLI was very promising, it was a technology that still needed to mature. We also found the motherboards to be immature and required a great deal of tweaking in order to extract the best possible performance and stability from the platform. In addition, the cost of the motherboards was at the premium end of the pricing scale along with limited availability from the board suppliers.

Since that time, NVIDIA's SLI technology has not only matured a great deal, but recently evolved with the release of the nForce4 SLI X16 platform. The availability of SLI motherboards is now widespread from most manufacturers and you will find more nForce4 SLI offerings than nForce4 Ultra products. Along with this is the widespread availability of SLI capable video cards that cover everything from the 6600LE to the Quadro FX4500 GPU chipsets making SLI a mainstream choice now.

In fact, with ATI also embracing the multiple GPU solution in their recently released ATI CrossFire platform and Intel with official support for ATI CrossFire in their 975X chipset, we see this type of technology being mainstream for the foreseeable future. Although ATI CrossFire offers an excellent alternative to NVIDIA SLI, until there is widespread availability of the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire motherboards, your best opportunity at this time for a multiple GPU solution lies with NVIDIA SLI. Not only is availability widespread, but the cost of entry has reduced significantly over the past few months. Decent nForce4 SLI boards now start in the US $70 range and run up to the US $250 range for the nForce4 SLI X16 boards. In fact, the current price structure almost ensures that your nForce4 purchase should be an SLI-capable motherboard.

Today, we are reviewing the Asus A8N-SLI Premium, Foxconn NF4SK8AA-8KRS, and Albatron K8SLI based on the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. Asus's offering is an update to the A8N-SLI Deluxe and fits into their product line between the value segment A8N-SLI and flagship A8N32-SLI. Albatron's offering is their only nForce4 SLI product and is designed for the value segment. Foxconn's contribution is their value segment nForce4 SLI product with their upscale NF4SK8AA-8EKRS, offering an additional Gigabit Ethernet port, SI-3132 SATA II Raid, and IEEE-1394a support.

Let's see what these boards are capable of and if a premium price ensures premium performance.

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  • Gary Key - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    I agree, I feel that the article makes some unfounded and moreover highly irresponsible statements, such as "in fact, the current price structure almost ensures that your nForce4 purchase should be an SLI-capable motherboard." SLI is not worth it in any way, shape, or form from any cost/performance standpoint, unless you happen to be the enthusiast user who wants the highest possible performance available today no matter the cost. For everyone else SLI is worthess...and yet how many new users are going to go out and waste their cash on an SLI board because of statements made in the article like the one above?


    As stated in the article the current pricing structure lends itself to the purchase of an SLI capable motherboard if the nForce4 is your chipset of choice. Even if you do not utilize SLI you at least have the option of doing so, if not for gaming, then for multiple monitor support and excellent performance utilizing two x8 lanes. If you look at the current support from the motherboard suppliers and product plans it is very obvious that SLI/CrossFire capable motherboards are becoming the standard across all price points. Our statements were based on these facts regarding the motherboard choices available. If you consider the potential cost/performance benefits then why pay the same amount of money for a board that is not capable of SLI or CrossFire and will probably not receive the same level of support over the lifespan of the product.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    SLI is not worth it in any way, shape, or form from any cost/performance standpoint, unless you happen to be the enthusiast user who wants the highest possible performance available today no matter the cost.


    Isn't this a contradiction?
    Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    What are you talking about? You can get a SLI board for $70. Reply
  • andlcool - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    for the asus one, it should be ddr and not ddr2. Reply
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    still, should be a good price for stock speed boards Reply
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    looking at the first chart i mean. doesn't seem to fall off much eh?

    <--- wants an edit function
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    The Foxconn board offered excellent stability throughout testing although it certainly is not targeted at the overclocking crowd. The performance was certainly acceptable and without the benchmarks you probably would not be able to tell the difference between it and the other boards. The layout is really nice unless you plan on utilizing two video cards with two slot cooling solutions as the space becomes very tight between the two x16 slots.

    I would like an edit function also. ;->
    Reply

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