Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review :: Layout and Design

03-14-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberGA-K8NXP-SLI
Price CheckFind Best Price
ChipsetNvidia nForce4 SLI
North BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP
SocketSocket 939
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
FirewireIEEE 1394b
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI
  • 2 x PCI Express x1
  • 2 x PCI Express x16
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

We talked about the NF4 chipset a few days prior to its release and if you want the details to that just click on the above link and then come back to the review. That said the K8NXP is one of the new 8S series of boards that are the flagship motherboards of the Gigabyte AMD platform line. Since AMD has made the 754 and 940 platforms now defunct and aging, the new player and top dog for the AMD lineup is now the 939 platform, which has proven to be a formidable opponent against the Intel giants LGA775. The board supports the latest Athlon 64/64FX CPUs and can support later processors via a BIOS flash when applicable. The move to DDR2 has not taken place yet on the NF4 chipset, but the board can accommodate up to 4GB of Dual-Channel DDR memory via its four 184-Pin DIMM slots that are color coded for channel separation.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review Memory


Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review PATA and Floppy

PATA and Floppy

SLI-mode technology is the big hitting feature on this board as using dual inline VGA cards is the hottest ticket in the gaming arena, and currently NVIDIA's SLI solution is the only game in town for this venture. The board comes with two PCI Express x16 slots and its own SLI Bridge to connect the two NVIDIA 6600-6800 ULTRAs needed to take advantage of this new technology. ATI has no SLI solution to offer even though their cards single slot solutions will still work in conjunction with the NF4 chipsets PCI-Express bus. There are two standard old-school PCI slots and two new fangled PCI Express x1 slots that still have no products to fill them. It does seem strange that none of the manufactures have yet produced any market worthy PCI Express x1 products, as that slot has now been available for over a year now on Intel's desktop motherboards. The PCI Express x1 technology slot seems to be getting lost in the shuffle, and is looks like it will be the replacement obsolete slot, going the ways of the AMR, and CNR slots that have just wasted space on motherboards of Christmas past.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review PCIe


Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review PCI/PCIe


Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review SLI Bridge

SLI Bridge

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review PCIe Locking Tabs

PCIe Locking Tabs

SATA and PATA support is fine for those who are looking for excellent SATA features using the NVIDIA RAID options, as there are eight available SATA connections. The new Serial ATA II standard introduced in this platform will be the thing to come in the near future. When supported hard drives become available, the SATA II will be able to provide 3Gbs of bus bandwidth thus higher speed disk performance equaling shorter access times. The NVIDIA RAID allows multi-disk designs to be set up as RAID 0, 1, 0+1 Arrays based on the users preference of performance and security. The board also sports the new 1394b Firewire standard that takes the IEEE connections transfer rates up to 800Mb/s. That's right folks the new IEEE1394b FireWire interface from Texas Instruments offers transfer speeds of up to 800Mb/s, the new generation IEEE1394b interface further enhances PC connectivity with consumer electronics audio/video (A/V) appliances, and storage peripherals. In total, there are three IEEE connections on the board; the connections all come from an included bracket that connects to the board via headers. A thing to note: using the IEEE connection uses almost zero CPU power when being used, and the USB 2.0 standard uses about 12% when engaged, which is a significant number when compared to zero. Gigabyte still uses its patented six-phase power conditioner that not only helps maintain stability it also lengthens the average life of the motherboard by maintaining a constant power variable. The (Dual Power System) DPS is a cool little lighted gadget that has a slot all its own on the K8NXP-SLI board and really does look cool in a custom-built system where you can see the board inside its case.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review SATA


Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review SATA/USB


Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review DPS Socket

DPS Socket

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review DPS Module

DPS Module

You have up to ten USB 2.0 inputs available on the board, with four of them being located on the rear I/O and six more available by brackets that connect to headers on the board and occupy a rear slot of your enclosure. Some cases may have front or top USB inputs and you can use the headers to connect to these as well if you choose.

LAN is available and in a few different ways, which will please the enthusiast's crowd. For starters, there is the Marvell 8053 Gigabit Ethernet controller that controls your wired LAN and provides transfer rates of up to 1000Mbps depending on your networks capabilities. Then the CICADA8201 Gigabit LAN PHY chip that uses the latest 802.11g standard for wireless connectivity, combine that with their wireless LAN card and the system becomes ready to connect to your wireless network. The Dual-LAN connection for your wired network is located on the rear I/O and the 802.11g wireless card occupies one PCI slot and one space in the rear of your enclosure and has its own little antennae for better reception. Be sure to pay attention to your systems security options if you are planning to use the wireless network feature, as this is the easiest way for a hacker or bandwidth thief to get onto your system and either mess up your software or steal your internet bandwidth. Many people get a kick out of just using other people's broadband account by just walking around until they find a strong signal and then just use that person's connection to surf the net, freely. NVIDIA's ActiveArmor is a unique, functional tool for keeping out would be predators, and I highly suggest you read up on it and use it wisely for your best protection.

On-board sound comes by way of the Realtek ALC850 Audio AC'97 Codec, and features an 8-channel audio solution that does an adequate job of reproducing sound. The Realtek chipset is not my favorite of all the chipsets there are, but most users will probably find that it is functional enough for their ears. Gamers who are heavily into the latest FPS games may want to think about a Creative audio solution as it provides the most advanced EAX features. The Realtek ALC850 offers some EAX compatibility EAX 1/2, but the latest and most advanced EAX features are available only on a Creative Audigy2 discreet card. Okay, that sums up what the K8NXP- SLI motherboard has to offer and it has a lot of features that many enthusiasts covet in a quality board. Visually and in the technical specs its looks very appealing, now lets move on and see how it does in real-time.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review Active Cooling

Active Cooling

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard Review Wireless LAN card

Wireless LAN card