iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte K8NNXP (NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 150) Mainboard

The board has a nice set of functions and accessories - this is a good example of a top-end product. The board has a protected cooler on the only chip in the chipset - this makes it looking elegant and protects the fan from stuff getting inside it.

The layout is traditional - it's not easy to reach connectors placed along the left side, the audio-ins are placed in front of the PCI slots, the IDE RAID are behind them, and the memory slots have too many connectors around them. It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their description is provided on the PCB. +5V Standby is indicated with a green LED, and +2.5V on the memory modules with a red LED. Another LED prevents installation of +3.3V video cards. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 4 capacitors of 3300 uF and 4 of 1500 uF. There is a connector for an additional VRM module (Gigabyte DPS). There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (4x1000 uF and several less capacious ones) and of the memory (6x1000 uF). 

No wasted space for components that didn't get included in the final design. The board measures 305x245 mm (wide ATX, 9 fastening screws, all edges fixed). System monitoring is supported by ITE IT8712F-A chip. It controls: 

  • processor, memory voltages, +3.3 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 754); 
  • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (all of the same color); 
  • AGP slot (with a retention clip); 
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz); 
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, 4pin for 12V); 
  • FDD; 
  • 4 IDE slots (Parallel ATA) - 2 on chipset, 2 at the expense of an additional controller; 
  • 2 Serial ATA slots - at the expense of an additional controller;
  • 2 Connectors for a bracket with USB (2.0) ports; 
  • Connector for a Game port;
  • Connector for a bracket with an additional FireWire-800 port;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
  • Connector for AUX-In;
  • Modem audio-in connector;
  • Connector for a standard IRDA module;
  • Connector for SMBus devices;
  • Case Open sensor;
  • Connectors for a bracket with audio-outs and S/PDIF; 
  • 4 connectors for fans (3 with fan rotation control, the unregulated connector is attached to the chipset's fan).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • LPT and 2 COM;
  • 2 USB and RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • 3 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front).


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual, installation guide for IDE RAID, installation guide for SATA RAID, poster with brief installation steps (in English);
  • 3 ATA66/100/133, FDD, 2 Serial ATA cables;
  • Bracket for external SATA devices (with a power supply adapter);
  • Bracket with 4 USB ports;
  • Bracket with 2 FireWire-800 ports;
  • Bracket with Center/Sub, Rear, S/PDIF-Out (TosLink and Coaxial) connectors;
  • Gigabyte DPS;
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with:
    • drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • DirectX 9.0;
    • Norton Internet Security;
    • Gigabyte @BIOS;
    • Gigabyte DMIView;
    • Gigabyte EasyTune4;
    • Gigabyte FaceWizard;
    • Gigabyte Windows Utility Manager;
    • Gigabyte IA Panel;
    • Gigabyte Management Tools;
    • Gigabyte System Information Viewer.

The bracket with a connector for SATA devices looks the most interesting. Remember that the Hot Plug support is specified in this interface, and if the device fully complies with it you can connect it even to a working system. Also note that the board integrates the FireWire-800 controller  - this is the latest bus version that supports the data rate up to 800 Mbit/s. However, the number of devices supported is not great yet - but the board itself (as well as the Socket 754 platform) is an advanced solution and it's meant rather for enthusiasts than for ordinary users. 

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Avance Logic ALC658 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/Os and S/PDIF connector provided; 
  • 2 network controllers, one based on the chipset and Realtek RTL8201BL PHY controller with the support for 10Base-T/100Base-TX, the other based on the Realtek RTL8110S-32 chip with the support for 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-TX;
  • FireWire-800 based on the Texas Instruments TSB82AA2 and TSB81BA3, with 2 ports supported;
  • IDE RAID based on the ITE IT8212F? chip, supports up to 4 devices and RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD;
  • SATA RAID based on the Silicon Image SiI3512A, supports 2 SATA connectors and RAID 0 and 1.


  • Gigabyte DualBIOS (Flash EEPROM chip with BIOS backup copy);
  • Gigabyte DPS (onboard connector for an additional VRM module).

The Gigabyte DPS looks the most interesting. It is to increase the CPU power supply stability, but in many cases the board starts and successfully operates even without installation of an additional VRM card! That is why such solution looks only potentially attractive, its practical use is not great. 


jumpers and switches Password clear jumper  
BIOS based on Award 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, Min. RAS Active Time, Row Precharge Delay, Refresh Period
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, 100, 133, 150, 166, 200 MHz
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2)=66-100 MHz in 1MHz steps
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 200-300 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio -  
CPU voltage control + Normal, 0.8-1.7 V in 0.025V steps up to 1.55V, then in 0.05V steps
DIMM voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V
NB voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V
AGP voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V

We used the BIOS F9 as the latest available version. 

Test results:



Stanislav Garmatyuk  (nawhi@ixbt.com
Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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