Basic Features: nForce4 SLI from Asus, Foxconn, and Albatron

Specification Asus A8N-SLI Premium Foxconn NF4SK8AA-8KRS Albatron K8SLI
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64 Socket 939 Athlon 64 Socket 939 Athlon 64
Chipset nForce4 SLI (single chip) nForce4 SLI (single chip) nForce4 SLI (single chip)
Bus Speeds 200 - 400 MHz (in 1 MHz increments) 200 - 300 MHz (in 1 MHz increments) 200 - 450 MHz (in 1 MHz increments)
PCI/AGP Speeds Asynchronous (Fixed) Asynchronous (Fixed) Asynchronous (Fixed)
PCI Express 100 MHz to 145 MHz (in 1 MHz increments) 100 MHz to 145 MHz (in 1 MHz increments) 100 MHz to 145 MHz (in 1 MHz increments)
PCI Synchronization Auto, To CPU, 33.33MHz Auto, To CPU, 33.33MHz Auto, To CPU, 33.33MHz
Core Voltage Auto, 0.800V - 1.65V (in 0.125V increments) Auto, 0.825V - 1.55V (in 0.025V increments) Default, +5% to +15% (in 5% increments)
DRAM Voltage Auto, 2.60V - 3.00V (in 0.05V increments) 2.5V to 2.85V (in 0.05V increments) 2.7V, 2.8V, 2.9V, 3.0V
Chipset Voltage 1.5V, 1.6V Default 1.5V, 1.6V, 1.7V, 1.8V
Hyper Transport Ratios Auto, 1X to 5X (in 1X increments) Auto, 1X to 5X (in 1X increments) Auto, 1X to 5X (in 1X increments)
CPU Ratios Auto, 4x to 20x (in 0.5x increments) Startup, 4x to 20x (in 0.5x increments) Auto, 4x to 25x in (0.5x increments)
DRAM Speeds Auto, 12 memory dividers Auto, 7 memory dividers Auto, 7 memory dividers
Memory Command Rate Auto, 1T, 2T Auto, 1T, 2T Auto, 1T, 2T
Memory Slots (4) x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR 400/333/266, non-ECC, un-buffered memory (4) x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR 400/333/266, non-ECC, un-buffered memory (4) x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR 400/333/266, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Expansion Slots (2) x PCI-E x16
(support X8-X8 in SLI)
(1) x PCI-E x1
(1) x PCI-E x4
(3) x PCI 2.3
(2) x PCI-E x16
(support X8-X8 in SLI)
(1) x PCI-E x1
(3) x PCI PCI 2.3
(2) x PCI-E x16
(support X8-X8 in SLI)
(2) x PCI-E x1
(2) x PCI PCI 2.3
Onboard SATA nForce4: (4) x SATA II nForce4: (4) x SATA II nForce4: (4) x SATA II
Onboard IDE nForce4: (2) x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 nForce4: (2) x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 nForce4: (2) x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
SATA/IDE RAID nForce4: (4) x SATA II
RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, JBOD, and spans across Serial and Parallel drives

Silicon Image 3114R: RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5
nForce4: (4) x SATA II
RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, JBOD, and spans across Serial and Parallel drives
nForce4: (4) x SATA II
RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, JBOD, and spans across Serial and Parallel drives
Onboard USB2.0
IEEE-1394
(10) USB2.0 ports
(2)TI-1394a ports
(10) USB2.0 ports (8) USB2.0 ports
Onboard LAN nForce4 Gigabit MAC with External Marvell PHY.
Marvell 88E1001
PCI Gb LAN
nForce4 Gigabit MAC with External Marvell PHY. nForce4 Gigabit MAC with External Vitesse PHY.
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC850, 8-channel Audio CODEC, Jack Sensing and Universal Audio Jack, (1) x Coaxial S/PDIF out port.
(1) x Optical S/PDIF out port.
Realtek ALC850, 8-channel Audio CODEC, Jack Sensing and Universal Audio Jack, (1) x Coaxial S/PDIF out port.
(1) x Optical S/PDIF out port.
Realtek ALC655, 6-channel Audio CODEC, (1) x Coaxial S/PDIF out port.
Power Connectors 24-pin ATX
4-pin ATX 12V
4-pin EZ Plug
24-pin ATX
4-pin ATX 12V
4-pin Plug
24-pin ATX
4-pin ATX 12V
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x Parallel
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Audio I/O
2 x RJ45 LAN
2 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial+Optical)
4 x USB
1 x IEEE1394
1 x Parallel
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Audio I/O
1 x Serial Port
1 x RJ45 LAN
2 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial+Optical)
4 x USB
1 x Parallel
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Audio I/O
1 x Serial Port
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial)
4 x USB
Other Features ASUS Cool-Pipe
ASUS AI Selector
ASUS NOS
ASUS PEG Link
ASUS C.P.R.
ASUS Q-Fan
ASUS EZFlash
ASUS Instant Music
SuperUtilities Suite - SuperBoot
SuperBIOS-Protect
SuperRecovery
SuperSpeed
SuperStep
SuperLogo
SuperUpdate
ABS Module
Watch Dog Timer
BIOS Award 1011-11 Award 538W1P23 Award R1.12

The Asus A8N-SLI Premium is a member of the Proactive Ai product family and as such, it is a fully featured board targeted towards the PC enthusiast. The board ships with an extensive accessory package along with several dynamic overclocking features, such as AI NOSTM (Non-delay dynamic Overclocking System), AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner with preset profiles), ASUS PEG Link (automatic performance tuning for single/dual graphics cards), and the ASUS Ai Booster Utility Precision Tweaker software that allows control over certain system settings within Windows. The board also features the Cool-Pipe heat pipe design to dissipate heat away from the chipsets.

The Foxconn NF4SK8AA-8KRS2 is their featured value segment performance board targeted towards the PC enthusiast. The board ships with an accessory package along with several BIOS and software features such as SuperBoot (reduces boot times), SuperRecovery (easy to operate tool designed to back up or recover hard disk data), SuperBIOS-Protect (protection against viruses designed to wipe BIOS information), SuperStep (software based monitoring utility with ability to change FSB settings), SuperUpdate (Windows based BIOS update), and SuperLogo (Windows utility designed to replace and backup the BIOS logo).

The Albatron K8SLI is a featured value segment board targeted to the PC gamer on a budget. The board ships with an minimal accessory package along with a unique dual BIOS feature. The Albatron BIOS Security module contains an operational BIOS that can restore the main BIOS in case of corruption. You simply plug the ABS module into the appropriate header location, set the jumper to recover, and boot the system.

Index ASUS A8N-SLI Premium: Features
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  • DAPUNISHER - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Off to peruse your Intel articles. Reply
  • DAPUNISHER - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    I enjoyed your review, your 1st for AT? but for a moment, I though I was reading a retro review from AT. I liked it better when AT eschewed 3D synthetics, and chose to bench the latest, greatest titles. Even D3 and FarCry seem long in the tooth IMHO. Many do still play FarCry, but most use all the new tweaks.

    Perhaps there is logic to the methodolgy that I'm missing? TIA for any illuminating reply, and I look forward to your future reviews here :-)
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    Hi,
    Actually, I have been covering the Intel reviews for the past few months. We are in the process of a transition over to the newer benchmarks. The last Intel article with those benchmarks can be found here-
    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2631&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2631&am...

    The ability to go back and test all of the boards shown with the new benchmarks and driver sets was not possible. However, the next roundup should include newer benchmarks along with results from these three boards. Also, while FarCry and SC3 are "getting" long in the tooth they are both based on engines that can still stress a system by increasing the settings. They both offer a fairly good mix of cpu and gpu limited testing. The difference between D3 and Q4 is minimal except for SMP support now. We are also looking at providing repeatable and meaningful benchmarks for the RTS/SIM crowd without resorting to FRAPs. We plan on increasing the audio, power consumption, and disk RAID subject matter within the review process. You should see this process evolve over the next couple of months.
    Reply
  • da2ce7 - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    I got the original ASUS A8N-SLI Premium with a AMD X2 3800+ and found the stability very less than satisfactory with any bios less than 1007. However over clocking has been mediocre, at the standard multiplier (10X) I can raise the FSB to 254, from 200, providing a reasonable over clock, anything higher than this I seem to be hitting the wall. The voltage options are a real disappointment only letting me raze them to 1.45v. However I get no difference when overlooking when my voltage is 1.4 to 1.45, (except for my core temp), with the old bios I could raze the v-core to 1.5 and run the FSB at 260 very happily (the system did sometimes crash every 32 hours or so), I did not test it any further then before upgrading to 1007.

    When upgrading from the bios 1005 to 1007 I found that it would not post after the update, after much delay and many tests and try's I found that my very low timings T1-2-2-2-5-2 for the ram stopped it from booting. I gained control of it from putting in a stick of very old pc2100 ram and re-set the bios timings to automatic.

    With your review I found it disappointing that you did not test the Silicone Ice raid controller, I have been wondering witch one I should run my hard drive on.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    With your review I found it disappointing that you did not test the Silicone Ice raid controller, I have been wondering witch one I should run my hard drive on.


    We will be including RAID results in future articles. There have been some issues with repeatable results utilizing a variety of benchmarks and of course drive configurations.

    I would run the native nF4 RAID setup over the SI3114 in this case (assuming RAID0). However, if it were the SI3132 chipset on the board I would probably call it a toss up at this time.
    Reply
  • LX - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    Why would you bother to include a bunch of performance charts where the difference between the leading and the trailing boards is less than 5%?

    Don't you have enough important info to put in your articles instead of fillers?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Why would you bother to include a bunch of performance charts where the difference between the leading and the trailing boards is less than 5%?


    Thank you for the comments. I think the purpose of the article was to show that performance between a $100 board and that of boards costing up to $250 (A8N32) is basically the same at stock speeds. The differences in pricing will usually (not all of the time) buy additional features and greater performance via stable overclocking.

    What would you like to see in our articles that we are not providing?
    Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    It may be worth noting that in the 1011.001 BIOS, the maximum vcore drops to 1.500V with dual core processors. :) Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - link

    We did not have an opportunity to finalize testing with the dual cores for the articles but this issue has been brought to Asus's attention. Thanks! Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - link

    Wtf is up with the BlueGears card?? Is that simply a driver issue or not? It's such an excellent audio solution it's beyond shocking to see it perform even WORSE than onboard sound solutions when it comes to cpu usage. wtf indeed! Generally simply being a peripheral PCI device sound solution means it should be well BELOW the usage of onboard sound. Now I'm worried about purchasing their new card coming out this month (X-Plosion - onboard DTS in addition to onboard DDL like the X-Mystique has).

    Please update us when you receive the new drivers and figure out why the cpu usage of this card during gaming is so atrocious. Thanks.
    Reply

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