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The era of the Socket A platform is approaching its end. Once a top-end solution, it is now being ousted into home and corporative sectors by new 64-bit products from AMD. On the other hand, these sectors of the market may lack prestige, but they are profitable. That’s why manufacturers of mainboards and chipsets are in no haste to leave this business, but go on producing new things for this seemingly dying platform.

There’s also one more rule: you can’t go about selling one and the same product for too long lest the customers get bored with it and turn to other options. However excellent a product may be, the rapidly-evolving technologies make it average or even obsolete in no time. That’s roughly the reasoning for mainboard manufacturers as they launch new Socket A products.

Right now, two chipsets are largely used in Socket A mainboards: NVIDIA nForce2 and VIA KT600. ASUS also decided to rejuvenate its product range and restore its strong market positions by issuing an update to the A7N8X Deluxe. It is the ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe mainboard.

Specifications and Package

ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe

CPUs

AMD Athlon XP 266/333/400MHz FSB
AMD Athlon 200/266MHz FSB
AMD Duron 200/266MHz FSB

Chipset

NVIDIA nForce2 chipset
  - nForce2 Ultra 400
  - nForce2 MCP-T 

FSB frequencies

100-300MHz (with 1MHz increment)

Overclocking friendly functions

Adjustable Vcore, Vmem, Vagp, North Bridge voltage.
Independently adjustable AGP bus frequency

Memory

3 DDR DIMM slots for dual- and single-channel PC1600 (DDR200), PC2100 (DDR266), PC2700 (DDR333) and PC3200 (DDR400) SDRAM

AGP slot

AGP 8x

Expansion slots (PCI/ACR/CNR)

5/0/0

USB 2.0 ports

6 (4 – on the back panel)

IEEE1394 ports

2 ports implemented via the chipset South Bridge and Realtek 8801B PHY controller

ATA-100/133

2 ATA/33, ATA/66, ATA/100 and ATA/133 channels,
UDMA Modes 3, 4, 5 and 6

Serial ATA

2 Serial ATA channels via Silicon Image Sil3112? controller with RAID 0 and 1, 0+1 support

Integrated sound

APU NFORCE MCP-? and Realtek ALC650 codec

Integrated network

NVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T + Realtek RTL8201BL LAN PHY and Marvell 88E8001 Gigabit LAN

Additional features

ASUS WiFi slot

Form-factor

ATX, 305mm x 245mm

The distinguishing feature of this mainboard – and its main point of difference from the predecessor – is the support of wireless networking by means an expansion Wi-Fi 802.11b card. This wireless protocol allows establishing connections with up to 11Mb/s speed. This option becomes ever more demanded by the users – ASUS is wise to offer it today. Another point of difference between the two mainboards lies in the Gigabit Ethernet controller: ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe uses a chip from 3Com, while its predecessor had a controller from Marvell.

 
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