Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 PCIe SLI motherboard Review

Result and general impression

++++ The GA-K8NXP-SLI Socket 939 PCIe SLI board costs at present approx. 140 Euro (02/2006) and is thereby in the upper price segment of the Socket 939 PCI express SLI Motherboards.

At first sight the price may sound rather high, but after opening the two cardboard boxes of the Motherboard (one isn’t enough for this board), one realizes quite fast where Gigabyte attach importance to …

Equipment, equipment and again equipment !

The GA-K8 NXP SLI offers so extensive features that it’s really difficult to specify everything in one test report. But let us begin …

As already mentioned in the last PCIe Reviews, the space is unfortunately quite scarcely on boards equipped with 2 PCIe 16x cards, so that there’re also on this K8NXP SLI board only 2 PCI Slots available. Since this board containes already one PCI W-LAN card, thus finally remains still another PCI Slot for internal extensions.

Here’s a picture of the Wireless LAN card (left) and a special dual power card (right):

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I think that one can surely go over this, because most extra components like e.g. DVB T/C/S television card, scanner, or similar accessories are attached anyway over Highspeed USB 2.0 Port. And almost all other imaginable features are already internally combined on this Motherboard.

The onBoard nVidia nForce4 SLI chipset offers four S-ATA II RAID (0/1/0+1) connectors with up to 3 GB/s data-rate, additionally Gigabyte gave this K8NXP SLI board still another Sil 3114 Chip for 4 further S-ATA hard disks.

Here’s a picture of the additional Silicon Image SATA Controller:

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Then there’re still 2 connectors for up to 4 UDMA 133 hard disks and 4 DDR memory module Slots with Dual Channel support. The sound chip is the well-known 8-channel ALC850 with six 3,5mm jacks for the 8-channel sound.

And last but not least the board offers two 10/100/1000 network connectors !!! (1x Vitesse 8201 and 1x Marvell 8053+). Surely it isn’t interesting for everyone, but 2 LAN connectors helps home networks without a switch and without a router, where one can use e.g. one LAN connector for DSL and the other one can be attached by a Crossover cable to a further PC. Owing to the Full autonegotiation also a conventional cable can be used for the direct PC connection.

And who now still miss something, could only mean the Firewire (IEEE1394b) connector, which is naturally also available on this board (3 firewire connectors).

All in all it’s thus a brilliant total equipment !

BTW. all connectors are exemplary color marked and the LED connector pin row is marked with small “+” symbols:

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But features aren’t everything in the life, therefore we now take a somewhat more exactly look to the BIOS and the overclock features.

In the BIOS are some options for the overlocking, which partially are only accessible with the hidden key combination CTRL + F1. The Advanced chipset menu in the BIOS becomes visible and selectable, after one presses uniquely this combination of keys. There’re several hidden features like HT-frequency and the memory timings. Whereby other important voltage adjustments e.g. Vcore (CPU), VDDR (memory), PCIe core voltage are adjustable without this key combination. Furthermore all frequencies are extensively adjustable like the host frequency from 200-400 MHz, 100-200 MHz memory frequency and 100-150 MHz PCIe frequency, so it’s very easy to overclock with this active cooled motherboard chipset. The K8NXP SLI motherboard offers 2 BIOS chips (one Backup BIOS), which can be used alternatively e.g. to test beta BIOS versions.

Result: The Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Socket 939 PCI express Motherboard offers by far the most extensive basic equipment, which a board can probably offer. Up to 8x S-ATA hard disks, 4 parallel ATA/IDE HDD, 2x Gigabit LAN, 1x W-LAN, 10x USB, 8-Channel sound, 2x PCIe 16 video card Slots and much more beside leave nothing to be desired. The overclocking of the components is a breeze owing to the active chipset cooler, dual power system (6-phase) CPU power supply, and extensive voltage and frequency settings. Overclocker will have tears of joy ! All in all thus it’s really a brilliant upper class AMD Socket 939 board.

For this reason I see myself nearly forced, to gladly give this awesome board the well-known Redaktion Overclocking Dream Award 02/2006 !

Special thanks to Gigabyte
for their support.


Click to enlarge !

Click to enlarge !

**** All Socket 939 motherboard reviews since 01.11.2005 are based on an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice processor, 1x (or SLI systems with 2x) Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP Nvidia 6600 GT PCI Express video cards and the following software configuration: Microsoft Windows XP SP2, DirectX 9.0c, Forceware 81.85 video driver and 3DMark 2003. All benchmark results should only offer a comparison among themselves for a comparison.

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