iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS SK8V VIA K8T800 Mainboard 

February 17, 2004

This is the first (in our lab) board based on the VIA K8T800 chipset and designed for the Socket 940. Its functionality is reinforced with additional controllers, and its poor overclocking (compared to nForce3) will hardly upset owners of the Athlon 64 FX or Opteron. 

The board has the layout similar to the K8V Deluxe, but the DIMM memory slots are positioned differently (as they are more in number), and another processor socket is used. The layout is satisfactory, though the audio-ins are unfortunately positioned in front of the PCI slots and the IDE RAID connector is behind them. It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are not indicated on the PCB. +5 V StandBy is indicated with the green LED. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 6 capacitors of 1500 uF and 3 of 1200 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2 1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (2 of 1000 uF). 

Unsoldered connectors: switches for setting CPU clock, IrDA and SMBus connectors, LAN PHY controller chip (probably ASUS is planning on releasing a less functional model on the same PCB). 

The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 fastening screws, all edges are fixed). System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83697HF chip which controls: 

    • processor voltages, +3.3, +5 and +12 V;
    • rotation speed of 2 fans; 
    • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor). 

Ports & connectors onboard:

  • CPU socket (Socket 940); 
  • 4 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (up to 8 GB of Registered DDR200/266/333/400 with/without ECC); 
  • AGP slot (with a retention clip);
  • 5 PCI slots; 
  • ASUS WiFi (combined with the last PCI slot); 
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX and 4pin for 12V);
  • FDD; 
  • 2 IDE (Parallel ATA) - on chipset; 
  • 2 SATA (Serial ATA) RAID - on chipset, RAID JBOD, 0 and 1; 
  • 1 IDE and 2 SATA slots - at the expense of an additional controller; connected device can be arranged in RAID JBOD, 0, 1 or 0+1; 
  • 2 connectors for brackets for 4 USB (2.0) ports; 
  • Connector for a bracket with a FireWire port; 
  • Connector for a bracket with a second COM port; 
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
  • Connector for AUX-In; 
  • CaseOpen sensor; 
  • Connectors for brackets with auxiliary audio-outs and S/PDIF-Out; 
  • 3 connectors for fans (2 with rotation control). 

Rear panel (left to right, in units)

  • PS/2 ports for keyboard & mouse; 
  • 1 LPT, 1 S/PDIF-Out (Coaxial), 1 COM; 
  • 2 USB (2.0) and 1 FireWire; 
  • 2 USB (2.0) and 1 RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet); 
  • 3 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front). 


  • Package of a little modified design of the AI series boards; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English; 
  • Cables: 2 Serial ATA (with a power supply adapter), 2 ATA66/100/133, 1 ATA33 and FDD - all wide cables are black and feature the company's logo; 
  • Bracket with 4 USB ports; 
  • Bracket with 1 FireWire port; 
  • Bracket with S/PDIF-Out connectors (Coaxial and TosLink); 
  • I/O Shield;
  • 2 software CDs: 
    • drivers; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • PC-cillin 2002; 
    • ASUS Live Update; 
    • ASUS PCProbe; 
    • ASUS Screensaver; 
    • Winbond Voice Editor; 
    • Intervideo WinDVD Suite; 
    • DirectX 8.1. 

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Analog Devices AD1985 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio in/outs and S/PDIF-Out connector provided; 
  • network controller based on the 3COM Marvell 940-MV00, 10/100/1000 (Gigabit Ethernet) supported. 
  • SATA/IDE RAID based on Promise PDC20378 chip, RAID JBOD, 0, 1 & 0+1, 2 SATA and 1 ATA133 connectors; 
  • FireWire based on VIA VT6307 chip, 2 ports supported. 

The integrated audio quality was estimated at 16bits/44kHz with RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.2 and Terratec DMX 6fire

Frequency response (40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.03, -0.03 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -83.6 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A): 83.2 Good
THD, %: 0.0058 Very good
Intermodulation distortions, %: 0.020 Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB: -82.6 Very good

General performance: Very good (see details). This is the best frequency response we've ever seen though the noise level is not record-breaking. 


  • ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall, BIOS returns to defaults settings if the system doesn't start after overclocking) 
  • ASUS AI Net (the network controller checks if the network cable is defective with the diagnostic utility); 
  • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2 (auto BIOS recovery from diskette or CD even if the flash chip data are corrupted); 
  • ASUS POST Reporter (reports about problems during booting, you can create your own messages); 
  • ASUS Q-Fan Technology (auto fan speed control); 
  • ASUS EZ Flash (flashing new BIOS versions without OS booting); 
  • ASUS Instant Music (Audio CD playback without the need to boot OS; available only with integrated audio and PS/2 keyboard) 
  • ASUS MyLogo2 (displays your own screensavers while the system is booting); 
  • ASUS Multi-language BIOS (BIOS Setup language); 
  • ASUS WiFi@Home (connector (and WiFi-b card for Wireless Edition boards) for connecting to a wireless network of the respective standard). 


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
Jumpers for starting up PC from USB keyboard  
Jumper for starting up PC from PS/2 keyboard  
BIOS based on AMI v2.51 Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, Bank Interleaving, TRC, TRFC, TRCD, TWR, TRWT, TRAS, TRP
Setup of memory frequency + RAM:CPU = 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 5:3, 2:1
HT bus setup + HT Tristate Enable, CRC Flood Enable, HT Frequency (CPU to AGP), HT Data Width (Upstream/Downstream)
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup -  
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 200-300 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x4-x14
CPU voltage control + Auto, +100, +200, +300 mV
DIMM voltage control + Auto, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8 V
HT bus voltage control -  
NB voltage control + 2.5, 2.7 V
AGP voltage control + 1,5, 1,7 B

We used the BIOS 1001 as the latest available version. The BIOS features listed above are available in this firmware version, nonstandard functions weren't tested. 


Actually we tested few boards with the Socket 940, and taking into account that a chipset used doesn't make a great effect on performance of a given model we also took boards designed for other chipsets for comparison. If the memory timings are the same for all boards compared the performance is very similar, that is why all the boards which allow changing their memory parameters can be considered equal in speed. 

Benchmark ASUS SK8N (nForce3) ASUS SK8V (K8T800) Gigabyte K8NNXP-940 (nForce3)
Memory read latency (CacheBurst32), clocks 113 115 114
Photoshop image processing, min:sec 9:25 9:32 9:31
MPEG4 encoding (DivX), min:sec 8:38 8:43 8:42
MPEG4 encoding (XviD), min:sec 17:56 18:02 18:00
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Fast@800x600x32), fps 254 251 253
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Normal@1024x768x32), fps 234 232 232
Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

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