Articles: Mainboards
 

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The onboard IEEE 1394 controller, VIA VT6307, supports two FireWire ports. One of the ports is at the connections panel of the mainboard, while the other can be used with a bracket. Another onboard controller, 3Com 3C940, is responsible for wired networking. The six-channel AC’97 AD1980 codec, with SPDIF support, brings sound to the mainboard. The corresponding coaxial SPDIF connector is available in the mainboard rear panel. The optical one is implemented as an onboard connector.

The wiring layout is quite good, compared to some other mainboards participating in our today’s roundup. The second COM port is missing. There are five PCI slots onboard and the AGP 8x slot is shifted away from the memory slots so that they do not interfere. The power supply connectors are all placed conveniently. The main one is situated before the DIMM slots, and the additional 12V one – at the right part of the PCB, behind the CPU socket. The FDD connector is turned parallel to the mainboard’s main axis and sits in front of the AGP slot. As a result, the attached cable may become a problem if you use a long graphics card like a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. The same gripe goes for the additional IDE and SerialATA connectors.

The three-channel CPU voltage regulator is quite powerful. The default Vcore somehow is not raised above the nominal, as they usually do it in ASUS mainboards. The disadvantage of the ASUS K8V Deluxe is the hardware monitoring system using an external thermal resistor installed in the center of the Socket754 instead of the thermal diode integrated into the CPU.

The mainboard features the proprietary technology reducing the CPU cooler speed, which is called Q-Fan. The user can reduce the rotation speed by some value in the BIOS Setup. The ASUS K8V Deluxe also supports the technology, which allows reducing the CPU heat dissipation, called Cool’n’Quiet. Not all mainboards included into this roundup can boast this useful feature.

The mainboard allows installing three 184-pin DIMMs. The memory timings can be flexibly tweaked. The mainboard supports ECC checking. The BIOS Setup page is simply overloaded with various settings. Moreover, you can clock the memory at the non-standard DDR300 frequency, besides the ordinary DDR200/266/333/400.

Processor settings are much poorer. The ASUS K8V Deluxe allows you to raise the FSB frequency from 200MHz to 260MHz with 1MHz increment. The CPU voltage settings are downright insufficient. In fact, the mainboard only offers you two values – the standard 1.5V or 1.65V. The CPU multiplier cannot be adjusted, although the Athlon 64 has an unlocked multiplier.

The lack of the latter option greatly limits the overclockability of the ASUS K8V Deluxe. Again, the VIA K8T800 chipset cannot clock the AGP/PCI busses asynchronously. By default, their frequency is calculated by dividing the FSB clock-rate by 3. So, when increasing the FSB frequency, we also raise the AGP/PCI clock-rate. It means that when you try to overclock the system by overclocking the FSB (and there is no other way for the ASUS K8V Deluxe), the system may become unstable because of a too-high AGP/PCI clock-rate rather than any CPU limitations. In theory, the VIA K8T800 allows other divisors for the AGP/PCI busses, like 3.5 or 4, but you cannot use them in the ASUS K8V Deluxe. Originally, ASUS wanted to include a block of DIP switches for that, but the switches didn’t make it to the final version of the product.

So, the ASUS K8V Deluxe doesn’t suit for overclocking. As for its regular work mode, the mainboard gives no cause for criticism. AMD noted this, too, having included the ASUS K8V Deluxe into its short list of mainboards recommended for use with the Athlon 64 3200+ processor.

Last things to mention are the couple of technologies that can make your life easier. They are the voice diagnostic system on the Winbond 83791SD chip and CrashFree BIOS 2 technology that helps to restore a corrupted BIOS from the CD enclosed with the mainboard.

 
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