Overclocking: Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI

Gigabyte developed quite a reputation a couple of years ago as a large motherboard maker who paid attention to what enthusiasts wanted. In the last year, however, we have not seen the kind of attention to detail that distinguished Gigabyte in the past. With the K8NXP-9 and now the K8NXP-SLI, we are pleased to see Gigabyte back with the kind of features and the range of adjustments enthusiasts are looking for. The options in BIOS had us anxious to see where the Gigabyte nForce4 SLI board could go.

Front Side Bus Overclocking Testbed
Default Voltage
Processor: Athlon 64 FX55
2.6GHz
CPU Voltage: 1.55V (default 1.50V)
Cooling: Thermaltake Silent Boost K8 Heatsink/Fan
Power Supply: OCZ Power Stream 520W
Memory: OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev. 2
(Samsung TCCD Memory Chips)
Hard Drive: Seagate 120MB PATA (IDE) 8MB Cache
Maximum OC:
(Standard Ratio)
209x14 (5x HT, 2-2-2-10)
225x13 (5x HT, 2-2-3-10)
2926MHz (+12.5%)
Maximum FSB:
(Lower Ratio)
284 x 9 or 10 (2840MHz) (3x HT)
(1:1 Memory, 2 DIMMs in DC mode)
(+42% Bus Overclock)

The Gigabyte turned in one of the highest overclocks that we have seen on a Socket 939 Dual-Channel board. It is likely that the memory was holding us back at a 284 Clock Frequency, since we could only select 2.8V as the maximum memory voltage. Had higher options been available for memory voltage, it is likely that the Gigabyte could have grabbed the overclock record for 939. This is also supported by the 2.926GHz maximum overclock achieved at the stock multiplier. This is the highest stable overclock that we have seen with this FX55 processor, so we would expect a higher memory voltage to allow an even higher CPU clock at lower multipliers.

To put this in perspective, this is a board whose reason for being is SLI video, but the excellent K8NXP-9 underneath is showing through. If SLI excites you, then consider the additional performance options that the K8NXP-SLI opens up with its outstanding overclocking capabilities.

Features: Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI Memory Stress Testing
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  • coldpower27 - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    With an SLI setup, you may as well test the higher resolutions on the 6600 GT SLI, or 6800 Vanilla SLI it may make sense to limit yourself to 1280x1024, however with the 6800 GT SLI and 6800 Ultra SLI setup's costing 800US/1000US respectively, it won't make sense there.

    I don't think that someone spending that amount of cash is gonna skimp on the displaying device, might as well test on the these:

    NEC/Mitsubishi FP 2141SB
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc...

    Viewsonic VP201s
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc...

    or that Dell 2001 thing that can do 16x12 @ 16ms as well:

    a 600US CRT or a 800US LCD to complement the 800US/1000US video card setup seems reasonable to me, and with these kinds of setup, testing at 16x12, 19x14, 20x15 does make sense, though I believe you can't test it with both AA AND AF enabled at those resolutions as 256MB of VRAM is the limiting factor there.

    Also might as well throw in the 850US Athlon FX 55 too :P

    Reply
  • nserra - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    #44 YES you can.
    See it at Toms, 5750 and 6800 or X700 and a X800 or a 6800 and a X800.
    http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041123/...

    I think its the best think you can have!! Better than having 2 cards in SLI, at least for me.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    I have received a question for a bit more info on the on the K8NXP boards. We did not receive a complete retail package on the SLI, but the SLI will also include the wireless LAN card.

    Ports are included on two daughter cards which fits in slots on the computer. The first includes standard and mini Firewire plus 2 USB slots (4 total). The 2nd includes 2 USB slots.
    Reply
  • gplracer - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    One other thing too.... Nice review Wesley. I have a 21" NEC FP2141sb. I think many other users like myself have CRT monitors. I really just do see the benefit besides space and weight to go to a lcd. I had a 19" dell but it had lag. I had a 17" Viewsonic that had no lag but had a price that was too much for the size of the screen. Eventually I might get a lcd. I remember when the rage was having a video card that would do any game at 1600x1200. Now it seems the emphasis is off of that because of the lcd monitors. I think most still have crt monitors. Reply
  • gplracer - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    Can you run 2 different varieties of video cards in this board. For example could someone run a 6600 and then later add a 6800 ultra? It is a valid question for many. For example if I were to upgrade to this board I would need a new processor, motherboard, and video card. Some might have to get a cheaper video card than wanted if they had to buy all of this stuff. Reply
  • jcromano - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    ChineseDemocracyGNR and Googer, thank you both for your answers. I guess the 3Gb/s is mostly just preparing for the future.

    Jim
    Reply
  • Googer - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    Gatak, Last I checked Sony's GDM Line could do such Resolutions. But has been replaced by the Artesian Line. Reply
  • Gatak - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    A $400+ 19"+ CRT monitor will do 1600x1200 at minimum 85 Hz and can do 2048x1536 at 60Hz. My nvidia card, however, can't seem to do higher than 60Hz at 2048x1536 so I do not know if the monitor can do better than this.

    In any case, if you benchmark a $800-$1000 SLI setup then you target high-end users and not the standard gray mass... Also, if you benchmark at this resolution then people will see if it works, and if it does, they will want to buy better monitors. therefore the market for better monitors will come and we will get better monitors =)

    Reply
  • Googer - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    I ment to say Ultra ATA 33 and putting them on an Ultra DMA (ATA) 100 or 133 controller still makes them run in ATA/33 mode/speed. There is no Improvement for older drives. Reply
  • Googer - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    EDIT:

    the truth is that the sata 300 ports would change modes to run in the older 150 mode.
    I have some old Ultra ATA drives and putting them on an Ultra DMA (ATA) 100 or 133 still makes them
    run in ATA/33 mode/speed. There is no Improvement for older drives.

    Jim, Your Hard Drive was not designed from the start to take advantage of newer Technolgical Features.
    With all things being the same, no ncq or tcq added and all modes Identical except the added bandwith of sata 3 Gb/s port there would be NO hard drive improvement with your older drive over 1.5 Gb/s. Since the drive you are using was not specified or designed to take advantage of it.

    Reply

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