ASUS K8N4-E and A8N-E: nForce4-4x + Socket 754 and nForce4 Ultra + Socket 939
The combination of NVIDIA nForce4 and value Socket 754 isn´t exotic anymore. ASUS K8N4-E motherboard, first showcased at CES 2005 early in January, is like MSI K8N Neo3 based on nForce4-4x, a somewhat slower and cheaper modification of nForce4. There´s also a Deluxe variant of the board K8N4-E Deluxe which promises to become of the most featured boards for 754-pin mPGA Athlon 64 / Sempron CPUs that actually live the last days of their life cycle.
|ASUS K8N4-E Deluxe
- AMD Athlon 64/Sempron Socket 754 processors
- 3 x sockets for up to 3GB 400/333/266 non-ECC DDR
- NVIDIA nForce4-4x, 800 MHz HyperTransport
- PCI Express x16, 3 x PCI Express x1, 3 x PCI
- 8 x Serial ATA RAID (0/1/0+1/5/10/JBOD), 2 x Ultra ATA 133/100/66/33
- 8ch Realtek ALC850, S/PDIF output
- Gigabit LAN Marvel 88E1111 PHY
- 2 x IEEE-1394, 10 x USB 2.0
Additional 4 x SATA ports with RAID features are introduced by Silicon Image SiI3114CT176 plugged into a PCI slot. In Japanese online stores K8N4-E Deluxe is offered for about $160.
If availability of ASUS nForce4 SLI boards is formally not a problem, this can´t be said about mainstream nForce4 Ultra based products. The basic A8N-E, that serves as foundation to all the nForce4 Ultra series (additional controller circuitry and layout is a proof), has moderate, but suitable feature set.
All CPU power transistors are covered by aluminium heatsink. The back panel offers optical digital, digital and coaxial audio outputs. Expansion slots include an unusual PCI Express x4 slot with 2 PCI-E channels connected instead of 4:
This slot has unusual design as well: cut on the one side, it enables to plug in cards larger than the slot itself. There´s a latch for such cards like those on fullsize PCI-E x16. Perhaps, this will allow working with two graphics cards at once (quad-monitor configuration implied.)
Will this enable graphics cards to work in SLI mode (PCI-E x16 + PCI-E x2, as PCI-E x8 + PCI-E x8 mode requires a switch)? This is possible, because for a long time already DFI and MSI have been struggling with NVIDIA for the opportunity to use simpler nForce4 Ultra for building SLI systems. Could ASUSTeK´s nForce4 Ultra based shipment delays be related to company´s observation of other companies trying to bring cheaper SLI to life?
Source: PC Web
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