Final Words

The Gigabyte K8NNXP-940 is an impressive motherboard. The performance it exhibits at standard settings in our benchmarks is simply outstanding. The early impressions of the Athlon64 FX51 were that it was not much faster than Athlon64. Perhaps we should recast this to say that the early Athlon64 FX motherboards were not much faster than the Athlon64 motherboards running Athlon64 processors. In almost every benchmark, the Gigabyte K8NNXP-940 with an Athlon64 FX51 tops our fastest Pentium 4 motherboard — the Asus P4C800-E running a 3.2GHz processor. Even the usual P4 stronghold of Content Creation sees the Athlon64 FX51 and 3.2GHz P4 in a dead heat. In almost every other benchmark, the Athlon64 FX51 is a clear winner — over both the Pentium 4 3.2GHz and the Athlon64 3200+. The only exception here is our Media Encoding benchmark, which tends to favor Intel processors and will soon be replaced with an updated benchmark.

The features, layout, and included accessories make the Gigabyte K8NNXP-940 a stellar home for a new FX CPU. Gigabyte has done an outstanding job in the engineering of this Socket 940 motherboard, and in standard testing, it is in every way a winning combination with the Athlon64 FX51. The addition of Multipliers to the release K8NNXP motherboard just sweetens the picture that much more. With the high cost of the FX51, Enthusiasts will need some persuading to pay the price for the FX processor. AMD and Asus were smart to make it clear that the FX51 could be unlocked in the BIOS, unlike regular, cheaper, single-channel Athlon64 chips. Gigabyte becomes the second manufacturer to add the ability to manipulate FX ratios in the BIOS.

With this high praise, we do believe Gigabyte has more work to do on the BIOS of the K8NNXP-940. It is certainly fast and full of options in the release F1 version, but it is disappointing to find that the new CPU ratios do not work reliably, and the FSB often exhibits some strange behaviors — resetting itself to lower values on boot — and we don't just mean default 200. We had two cases where settings of 220 came back at boot as 209.5, and the 12 multiplier only worked at 200 FSB setting.

Despite the issues with the immature BIOS, we still highly recommend the Gigabyte K8NNXP-940. It can take the Enthusiast to new performance heights as it is, and we fully expect even better overclocking with some of the BIOS kinks worked out. It performs better than any Socket 940 board that we have tested so far.

We have been told that we will see at least a couple of new and revised Athlon64 FX motherboards in the near future. They may prove to be even better, in particular, an update with the VIA chipset that is said to have new features for that chipset. However, until we test those Socket 940 boards and perhaps find one that performs even better, the Gigabyte K8NNXP-940 is King of the Hill.

High End Workstation Performance - SPECviewperf 7.0
POST A COMMENT

35 Comments

View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - link

    Why would a manufacturer include ECC slots for RAM but no 64 bit PCI bus? Is this aimed at the server market, the high end workstation, or what? Remove two PCI 32 bit slots and make 'em PCI 64bit. You have on board ethernet an USB. All everyone else needs is a video card and you have an AGP slot for that anyway. Come on manufacturers, let's see some damn 64 bit PCI slots already!!! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - link

    Why would a manufacturer include ECC slots for RAM but no 64 bit PCI bus? Is this aimed at the server market, the high end workstation, or what? Remove two PCI 32 bit slots and make 'em PCI 64bit. You have on board ethernet an USB. All everyone else needs is a video card and you have an AGP slot for that anyway. Come on manufacturers, let's see some damn 64 bit PCI slots already!!! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - link

    To reiterate and emphasize #19's question:

    * WHEN will these things become AVAILABLE? *

    I've already ordered my FX-51 processor and most of the rest of the system. I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for this motherboard to appear on the virtual shelves of some reseller.

    Maybe I should resort to ball and jacks.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 13, 2003 - link

    The anti-AMD comments are completely baseless. So you're going to stop buying from one company because one product is not good? What about the other company's product? Are you going to buy that just because you happened to not have a bad experience with them and then decided to go elsewhere if you do? Such is the attitude of the "all or nothing" extremists. I don't like those people - they tend to have tunnel vision.

    Let us not forget that purchasing EITHER the P4EE or 64 FX this year is a horrible mistake if you plan to upgrade, unless AMD and intel plan on making higher speed grades for those sockets, which seems unlikely. Combine the price point that could allow one to easily purchase a high-end Dual Socket A system for little more than 5% more performance, and you must ask yourself if what you are doing is really worth it...

    The Value-conscious buyer gets a Barton or 2.4C system NOW if they really need to upgrade, or waits out until fall next year if they don't. Remember all the high-end stuff... 300MHz PII Klamath, 600 PIII katmai, 1130 PII Cumine, 2GHz willamette, etc.... all of those are top-end platforms with virtually NO upgrade path whatsoever. Many with them were utterly disappointed as something with more performance and a much shinier upgrade outlook could be purchased a few months later....

    We have all made mistakes, due to lack of research and closed-box thinking burned by non-A via chipsets and the like, but please, let's learn....
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 13, 2003 - link

    The anti-AMD comments are completely baseless. So you're going to stop buying from one company because one product is not good? What about the other company's product? Are you going to buy that just because you happened to not have a bad experience with them and then decided to go elsewhere if you do? Such is the attitude of the "all or nothing" extremists. I don't like those people - they tend to have tunnel vision.

    Let us not forget that purchasing EITHER the P4EE or 64 FX this year is a horrible mistake if you plan to upgrade, unless AMD and intel plan on making higher speed grades for those sockets, which seems unlikely. Combine the price point that could allow one to easily purchase a high-end Dual Socket A system for little more than 5% more performance, and you must ask yourself if what you are doing is really worth it...

    The Value-conscious buyer gets a Barton or 2.4C system NOW if they really need to upgrade, or waits out until fall next year if they don't. Remember all the high-end stuff... 300MHz PII Klamath, 600 PIII katmai, 1130 PII Cumine, 2GHz willamette, etc.... all of those are top-end platforms with virtually NO upgrade path whatsoever. Many with them were utterly disappointed as something with more performance and a much shinier upgrade outlook could be purchased a few months later....

    We have all made mistakes, due to lack of research and closed-box thinking burned by non-A via chipsets and the like, but please, let's learn....
    Reply
  • Reflex - Monday, October 13, 2003 - link

    Heh, K6-2's rocked provided you did your research on your motherboards. The Asus P5A was easily my favorite, I still have a few systems out there that I built based on those and they are *rock* solid. I suppose if you bought a PC Chips board/relabel and had system issues that it may have colored your perspective, but honestly most of the boards I used at the time from Asus, Abit and Epox were all very very good.

    But its always that way, if you do your homework you won't get burned. Or at least its rare. ;)
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 12, 2003 - link

    #26 - I had a comparable mentality as it relates to AMD. I thought the K6-2 was craptastic as well but let me tell you, AMD has come a LONG way since then and most of the problems with the K6-2's were actually with the MB chipsets. If you don't give AMD another look you are selling yourself short. Sure glad I did! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 12, 2003 - link

    It's best to leave people like #26 alone as you can't save them. Just like those people who continuously buy from Dell, best to look, shake your head, and keep walking. Reply
  • Reflex - Sunday, October 12, 2003 - link

    #26: Never buy once you have had a defective product? How's that i820 motherboard with MTH doing these days? How about the first generation P4 that was slower than the P3? GOt a P60 with the floating point bug? How much money you invest in the dead end called RDRAM? Ever pick up one of those 1.13Ghz P3 CPU's, the first generation ones that had all sorts of problems...

    With your attitude I am amazed you can buy Intel. After all, they have had practically a parade of errors and flaws. As far as I know no company hits everything 100% all the time. Judging based on your experience with a single product is pretty idiotic, I am certain I can find a very flawed product that was put out by virtually every company in tech at some point or other. But hey, where will you go when you finally end up with a flawed Intel chip, I mean I guess its off to the Via C3 or something...heh.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 12, 2003 - link

    The Macs are really, really, really freaking fast. What are you talking about? The Mac G5 beats a dual 3Ghz Xeon system by about 50% all around.

    I'll never ever buy a Mac though. Just like I'll never buy an AMD system since my K6-2 fiasco. Say what you want, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I won't shop at Best Buy. I wont buy anything made by Sony either after 2 discmans (men?), a $600 amplifier, and a CD burner broke way too early. After a company sells me a faulty product, I don't buy from them anymore.

    Maybe the Pentium Pro pricing days are coming back, but regardless, Intel's new roadmap suggests that by this time next year a 3.6 Ghz Prescott with a 1Mb cache will be in the midrange price range and still fit in any 478-pin socket. That, to me, says that today's best buy is still a P4 2.4C. Who knows if AMD will still be in business by then anyway. Maybe IBM will be tired of giving them 200 million bail-out gifts, and will own them by then.

    I will admit this: The best high-end system, for the buck, right now, is certainly AMD. I just won't buy one.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now