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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  • instant - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    You should play games in 3520x1024 resolution with a SLI setup. :-)

    Can you do Multi-Monitor with SLI?
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - link

    "What do you think you are gaining by trying to harass Wes."

    It is not an attempt to harass anyone, it is pointing out A flaw with the review(emphasis on A).

    "Does it make you feel like more of a man to try and point out flaws in his motherboard review?"

    Why on Earth would it? If enough people point out the same issue perhaps it will bring home the fact that the higher resolutions are desireable information.

    "This was NOT an SLI performance review. This was a motherboard review. In all honesty all that needed to be said of SLI in it is "Yup it works on the board" and BAM he has fulfilled his requirements for a motherboard review."

    Not quite. The mobo must be capable of handling the load splitting in terms of the PCI-E lanes properly and there is the risk of issues with particular implementations being less then optimal along with the normal issues of early BIOS headaches that could become apparent for SLI adopters. There are also increased power demands at the highest resolutions.

    "It's fine if you disagree with what he wrote but to say that he wrote a pointless review and then troll and try and take pot shots when he responds is just idiotic."

    Not clarifying my points would be idiotic. Creating a summation of every particular reason why higher resolutions should be tested would run numerous pages, so I hold back and only point out those which I find to be most relevant. If a counter-point is offered then I rebut that issue.

    "There is a reason he gets new hardware first and you well..."

    That reason is he works for AT.

    "If you think you can do better than please by all means start a website."

    I used to handle reviews and other random things for a couple of different sites(mainly GameBasement) but the cost and time put into it wasn't worth it and I certainly wasn't going to go with an ad based site as then your credibility is too frequently in doubt.

    When someone pointed out an element they felt I should have included in a review be it either hardware or software I took the time to add it in every time. If you consider authoring for a review site a service to your readers, then you try to do everything honest and accurate that needs to be done to service the readers.
    Reply
  • Akira1224 - Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - link

    I am going to comment on the article in a moment but first I have to ask Ben a question.

    Ben - What do you think you are gaining by trying to harass Wes. Does it make you feel like more of a man to try and point out flaws in his motherboard review? This was NOT an SLI performance review. This was a motherboard review. In all honesty all that needed to be said of SLI in it is "Yup it works on the board" and BAM he has fulfilled his requirements for a motherboard review. It's fine if you disagree with what he wrote but to say that he wrote a pointless review and then troll and try and take pot shots when he responds is just idiotic. There is a reason he gets new hardware first and you well... don't. If you think you can do better than please by all means start a website. Start the www.benskywalkerhardwaretech.com Be careful with the skywalker name I have a feeling there’s a trademark on it. The bottom line to all this is that he did not include 16X12 because this was not about the cards or the processor. It's about the boards performance. If you want to see extreme resolutions then go check out an SLI vid card roundup. Or write one yourself and let us know the results. Please do us all a favor and stop. You reek of "seventeenism".

    Ok sorry about that. With that said great review. I was hoping to see the board against the Asus board but I imagine that you all will do one once the retail boards hit the market.
    Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    I think we will see plenty of 1600 and 2048 benches in reviews to come. Everyone right now is just going nuts trying to figure out the performance ceiling of SLI with the limited benches run. I'll be waiting patiently for the review of the next NF4 production board :D
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - link

    Wesley-

    "A 19" CRT has a real screen diagonal of about 17". I find 1600x1200 on a 17" display far too small for anyone to really see what 1600X1200 actually adds to the game."

    I would have someone set up a double blind test for you, if you honestly can't see the difference then you should set yourself up an appointment with an optometrist. It sounds as if you have some fairly serious issues with your vision.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - link

    Wesley- any idea if SATA hard-drives limit overclocking on nForce 4 boards, whether using the integrated controller or sockets connected to an additional onboard controller?

    And as the hardware-firewall is one of the features nVidia are pushing in the nForce 4 Pro, it would be nice to have some review coverage of it. All we've had so far is the official nVidia gumf about it.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, November 28, 2004 - link

    #51 - A 19" CRT has a real screen diagonal of about 17". I find 1600x1200 on a 17" display far too small for anyone to really see what 1600X1200 actually adds to the game. Playing 1600x1200 on a 17" screen is more about bragging rights, IMHO, that it is about visible performance. 1600x1200 is decent on a 21" to 22" CRT, as it is on a 20" LCD. LCD screen sizes are real, so a 20.3" dsiplay is actually a 20.3" diagonal. That 21" to 22" CRT will actually be about the same screen size as a 19" to 20" LCD. Reply
  • SonicIce - Saturday, November 27, 2004 - link

    The best 19" CRT money can buy won't breakmuch more than $300. It would be able to do 1600x1200@85Hz easy. Why would this be uncomfortable or ugly? Reply
  • Executor6 - Saturday, November 27, 2004 - link

    Hey, Anand, are you planning on reviewing that Tyan dual-Opteron SLI motherboard anytime soon? ( http://xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4... ) The interesting thing about that MB is that both PCIe slots for the graphic cards are 16x, rather than the 8x on regular MBs, hence you would be able to tell if the available bandwidth has any impact on SLI performance. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    A couple of questions about the nForce 4 chipset, not specifically the Gigabyte board:

    Is overclocking limited if SATA hard-drives are used? If so does this only apply when using the SATA sockets off the nForce 4 chip, or also if SATA drives are connected to sockets from an additional onboard controller?

    What are your impressions of the nForce 4 hardware firewall and configuration software? Does it provide all the configuration options you'd find in personal firewalls like ZoneAlarm or Kerio?

    Otherwise a good review. Even though I've got a monitor which can do 2048x1536 @ 85hz and I would run it at that in games with a high-end SLI configuration, those sort of benchmarks (along with 8x AA benchmarking) belong in graphics-card reviews rather than motherboard reviews.
    Reply

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