ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe: Disk Subsystem
The disk subsystem of a computer based around the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe would have six Serial ATA-II ports, four of which are provided by the controller integrated in the South Bridge and two more are provided by an onboard Silicon Image SiI3232 controller. One of the latter two ports is located on the mainboard’s I/O panel and allows connecting an additional hard drive without opening the system case (of course, if the external HDD has a power source). The Serial ATA-II specification describes this hot-swap feature under the name of “SATA On-the-Go” and it may come in very handy in some situations.
This external Serial ATA connector explains the strange position of the onboard controller – it is usually installed closer to the bottom right corner of the PCB. As for RAID functionality, the integrated disk controller from the nForce4 chipset supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10 and JBOD, while the dual-port SiI3132 chip supports only RAID 0 and 1. We think the total of six Serial ATA-II ports is going to satisfy most users.
The Parallel ATA connectors are placed in an odd way. The first channel is oriented along the PCB’s length, while the second one is placed as usual. You may find it difficult to access the second connector as it is right next to the 24-pin power connector, but we don’t consider this as a serious defect because hard drives with the Serial ATA interface are more popular today, while the Parallel ATA interface is mostly employed for optical drives, for which one channel should be enough.