iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS A7N8X (NVIDIA nForce2) Mainboard

This board was used in our testes before, but today we have a chance to deal with the production sample, with a normal accessory pack and correct BIOS. There are small changes in the layout: no ACR slot and connector for a SmartCard Reader; the unit of switches for changing the CPU frequency is replaced with a jumper. 


  • Package of a standard design; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English, brief installation manual in 11 languages; 
  • Cables: 2 SerialATA, 1 ATA66/100/133, 1 ATA33 and FDD; 
  • Bracket with a COM port; 
  • Bracket with 2 USB ports and a Game port; 
  • Bracket with 2 IEEE 1394 ports; 
  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • CD containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • DirectX 8.1; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • PC-Cillin 2002; 
    • Winbond Voice Editor; 
    • 3Deep; 
    • ASUS Live Update; 
    • ASUS PCProbe; 
    • ASUS Screensaver. 

The layout has typical drawbacks: some connectors in the lower left-hand corner are not in ideal positions, as well as audio-ins (in front of the PCI slots). It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are shown on the textolite. 

The 2-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 8 capacitors of 3300 uF. 

The following controllers are integrated: 

  • audio controller based on the chipset's capabilities and Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec supporting 5.1 audio systems and having connectors for front audio inputs/outputs and for SPDIF;  
  • 2 network controllers based on the chipset's capabilities and supporting 10BaseT/100BaseTX each; 
  • Serial ATA controller based on the Silicon Image Sil3112ACT144 chip supporting 2 devices; 

  • IEEE 1394 bus controller based on the chipset's capabilities. 

The board incorporates the following technologies: 

  • ASUS EZFlash BIOS (for flashing in new BIOS versions directly from BIOS Setup); 
  • ASUS POST Reporter (reports about problems during booting); 
  • ASUS MyLogo2 (for displaying your images when the system boots); 
  • ASUS C.O.P. (to protect the processor from overheating). 

+5 V supplied in the StandBy mode is indicated with the green LED, and when a 3.3V card is inserted into the AGP slot you will see the red LED going on which means that the card is incompatible (it's impossible to turn on the computer even with the Power button).  

Non-unsoldered connectors: ACR slot. 

The system monitoring is supported by the ASUS ASB100 Bach chip. What is controlled: 

  • processor voltage, +3.3, +5 and +12 V; 
  • speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (a built-in sensor) and the board (a built-in sensor). 

There are 3 connectors for adjustable connection of fans. 

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP Pro/ 5 PCI; I/O ports - 2 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0 / 2 IEEE1394; dimensions - 305x245 mm.  

Adjustment can be carried out with: 

jumpers and switches Jumper to clear up the CMOS  
Jumper for starting up computer from a PS/2 keyboard  
Jumpers for starting up computer from USB keyboard  
Jumper to enable/disable SerialATA  
Switches for fixing the FSB frequency 100 and 133/166 MHz
BIOS based on the AwardBIOS 6.00PG of Phoenix Setup of memory timings + Active Precharge Delay, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge Delay, CAS Latency
Setup of memory frequency + By SPD, Sync, 50%, 60%, 66%, 75%, 80%, 83%, 120%, 125%, 133%, 150%, 166% 200% ot FSB
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses + AGP (PCIx2) = Auto, 50, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 90, 93, 95, 97 100 MHz
Manual assignment of interrupts -  
Changeable FSB frequency + 100-200 MHz in 1, 2, 3 and 5 MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier + x6,5-x17
Changeable core voltage + 1.1-1.85 V in 0.025V steps
Changeable memory voltage + 2.6, 2.7, 2.8 V
Changeable chipset voltage -  
Changeable AGP bus voltage + 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 V

We used the latest available version of the BIOS - 1001.C.

The products of ASUSTeK are traditionally expensive, but a high speed speed, rich functions and overclocking potential offset the price. 

Test results: 


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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