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SerialATA and FireWire interfaces are implemented with VIA chips. The VIA VT6307 chip is responsible for two FireWire ports (one is onboard; the other is laid out at the rear panel). The Serial ATA RAID controller VIA VT6420 supports the two Serial ATA channels available in the BIOSTAR K8NHA Pro. It is a functional analog of the RAID controller integrated into the VT8237 South Bridge. The PCB has place left for an ATA-133 RAID controller, but it was not soldered up on the mainboard we received for our tests.

The PCB design is not absolutely impeccable. The ATX power supply connectors are placed behind the Socket754, which is not very handy. The SerialATA connectors are directly in front of the fourth PCI slot. It’s also not very good that we have only two fan connectors and that the installed AGP card blocks the DIMM slots latches.

The CPU voltage regulator circuit is a three-channel one. Cool’n’Quiet technology is supported. The CPU temperature is measured by the integrated thermal diode. Although I have to admit that the hardware monitoring system of the BIOSTAR K8NHA Pro is not free from a few unpleasant problems. I couldn’t set up the Motherboard Monitor utility, while the exclusive monitoring utility from BIOSTAR wouldn’t work properly, too, showing some voltages and temperatures incorrectly. I hope those bugs will be eliminated in future versions of the mainboard BIOS. The voltage sent to the CPU is a little below the nominal value, that is why we encountered some stability issues when working with a system built on this mainboard. After I increased the CPU voltage in the BIOS, the mainboard started working much better.

The BIOS itself is based on the Award microcode. The BIOS Setup offers flexible control over memory timings and memory frequencies of the integrated memory controller. At that, the ECC check is unavailable, unfortunately.

BIOSTAR evidently never intended this mainboard for overclockers. Although there are some CPU overclocking options in the BIOS, I can’t call them comprehensive. The mainboard cannot adjust the CPU multiplier. The FSB frequency is only changeable in a range of 200-250MHz with 1MHz increment. The AGP/PCI frequency is set up in a range of 66-100MHz. The range of available voltages is rather narrow, too. The Vcore can be increased by 1.7%, 2.4% or 5.1% above the nominal. It means you can send 1.58V to the CPU at the most. This is not enough for extreme overclocking. The DIMM voltage can be set to 2.75V, 2.85V or 2.9V above the nominal. Other voltages cannot be changed.

The BIOSTAR K8NHA Pro left a not very positive impression, I should say. Its functionality is up to the mark, and it sells at a low price. At the same time, we encountered problems when testing it, and the accessories set is not that attractive. So, I would call it an average product, although it is listed among the recommended mainboards at the AMD website.

 
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