The launch of NVIDIA nForce4 SLI x16 chipset pushed the price of the solutions on the nForce4 SLI core logic down. As a result, many relatively expensive Socket 939 mainboards turn more affordable and can now be used in mainstream systems. Today we took a real close look at one such board - Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI.
This seems to be a very attractive product with rich set of features at first glance. It supports SLI technology, features two network controllers and allows connecting a lot of external devices via USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces. Moreover, the mainboard comes with a very rich set of accessories, which even includes a WiFi controller. However, despite all these advantages that will please (with some allowances) unsophisticated computer users, overclockers will most likely be disappointed with this product. And the reasons for that are more than evident. Besides a few pretty frustrating trifles, such as poor hardware monitoring or limited voltage ranges for some components, the mainboard performance with 1T Command Rate leaves much to be desired. And it means that Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI farces the user to make a very complicated choice between high performance, high stability and good overclocking results. There are quite a few solutions out there that do not have these issues, so unfortunately we cannot give Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI a high grade.
So, these are the highs and lows of this product.
- Excellent accessories set including a WiFi controller;
- Two PCI Express x8/x16 slots and SLI support;
- Great networking features: two Gigabit controllers, Active Armor and NVIDIA Firewall 2.0 support;
- 8 Serial ATA channels implemented via the mainboard chipset and an additional onboard Serial ATA RAID controller;
- IEEE1394 support;
- DPS technology (Dual Power System) and six-channel CPU voltage regulator;
- Cool’n’Quiet technology and SmartFan that allow intellectual management of the CPU fan rotation speed and CPU temperature monitoring.
- Too narrow voltage range for the memory slots;
- Low stability with 1T Command Rate setting, especially during overclocking;
- Some design flaws;
- Too few expansion slots;
- Poor system monitoring offering only CPU temperature control;
- Noisy fan on the K8DPS daughter card;
- No options for monitoring and rotation speed adjustment for the chipset fan and K8DPS fan.