Gigabyte GA-K8NSC-939 Socket 939 (AMD Athlon 64) motherboard Review

Result and general impression

+++ The Gigabyte GA-K8NSC Socket 939 AGP board has at present a price of approx. 70 euro (09/2005) and is appropriate thereby in the lower to middle range of all socket 939 motherboards. The K8NSC motherboard was created by gigabyte completely clearly for the smaller purse, because it resembles very a slim PCB layout of the Ultra version. For example the S-ATA RAID controller and the Backup BIOS place was not equipped. Besides also no Firewire connection is available and the accessories are somewhat less.

We come however now rather to the features of this gigabyte socket 939 motherboard, because these can be able to be seen nevertheless. Beside the 2 connectors for up to 4 UDMA 133 harddisks there are 2 Serial ATA150 connectors, 4 DDR memory module slots with Dual Channel support (absolutely consider the correct allocation of the banks in the manual) and 8 USB ports, whereby 4 of them are optional. Also with the sound chip the didn’t save money, because the spend this motherboard the 8-channel ALC850 chip, which can be expand to the full 8 channels by an optional slot bezel. The connectors are by the way all exemplary colored marked and besides even with the LED connectors by small “+” indications in the pin row marked – hats off ! Furthermore gigabyte equipped even the Marvell 8001 LAN chip, which provides up to 1 Gigabit network speed. And the extensive CD software, which came with this board provides an easy and fast configuration of all onBoard components.

In addition, the overlocking and tuning options do not come too briefly, since almost all important voltage adjustments can be adjusted, also the reference clock can be set up to 455 MHz and the AGP can be clocked asynchronously with 66 to 100 MHz. Now good, 455 MHz are probably something exaggerated, but in the tests I could nevertheless operate the board with 260 MHz stably and that is a really good result. However gigabyte still seems to have little problems with the manual input of frequencies in the BIOS (mentioned already in the last gigabyte motherboard test), because again during the input of frequencies in the 200 range despite current BIOS version to a frequency of over 400 MHz. So one should check absolute exactly whether the entered frequency was accepted, or alternatively select the values by the drop down field. BTW I like the solution that one must press CTRL + F1 in the BIOS in order to see the Advanced chipset menu with many memory timings and the HT clock options, because user without the necessary basic knowledge can’t get unintentionally into this menu.

Conclusion: The gigabyte GA-K8NSC socket 939 AGP motherboard offers all important basic features, very good overclocking options, a good performance and a very good processing for little money. Who attaches thus no importance on additional Firewire, SATA RAID or Surround sound connectors, is with this motherboard for current socket 939 processors in the best way served. The price is reasonable and the nForce3 250 Gb motherboard only scarcely missed an award. This shows that gigabyte didn’t sleep in the last months, but rather brings a brilliant board after the other on the market. I have really large respect for such a high increasement of the features, processing and board layout – Keep it up!

Special thanks to Gigabyte
for their support.

Picture

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**** All Socket 754 motherboard tests since 01.08.2004 are based on an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and Socket 939 reviews are based on an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice with a HIS Excalibur Radeon 9600 Pro videocard, Kingmax 256 MB PC2700 memory module and the following software configuration: Windows 98 SE, DirectX 9b, Catalyst 3.6 video driver and 3DMark 2003. Since all benchmark results should only offer a comparison among themselves, I select Win 98 SE for a faster OS installation which is of course not the usual OS for Athlon 64 systems but enough for a comparison.

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