Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review :: The Board

09-26-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Abit NI8 SLI Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberNI8 SLI
ManufacturerAbit
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetNvidia nForce4 SLI (LGA775)
North BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP LGA775
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesPentium 4, Pentium D, Celeron D
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1066/800MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP
Audio8-channel
IDE100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireNone
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI
  • 2 x PCI Express x1
  • 2 x PCI Express x16
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

ABIT's NI8-SLI features NVIDIA's nForce 4 chipset for Intel SLI, and supports all the current LGA-775 CPUs including the recently released Pentium Dual Cores and 6xx CPUs. Intel released a new chipset for their 8xx series CPUs (955X), as earlier chipsets (915 and 925) do not support the new standards. NVIDIA is the first non-Intel manufacturer of chipsets that support dual core CPUs.


Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review DIMM Slots

DIMM Slots


Memory support on the board consists of 4 240-pin DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Modules) slots supporting up to 4GB of non-ECC unbuffered DDR2 667MHz memory in Windows XP 32-bit, and 8GB of DDR2 memory in Windows XP 64-bit edition (32-bit can only address up to 4GB of memory.) That's one of the primary advantages Windows 64-bit has over the 32-bit version at the moment as few applications need 64-bit CPUs.


Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review PCIe x16

PCIe x16

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review PCI

PCI


Expansion on a SLI motherboard is dominated by the fact that there are two PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards to be used in SLI mode. When two cards are installed, each of the x16 slots operates in x8 mode. This has no effect on performance. NVIDIA recently announced their x16 SLI motherboard chipset for the Dell Dimension XPS 600 systems, but that hasn't been announced for retail users as of yet. Other expansion slots on the board include 2 PCI Express x1 slots (one in between the two x16 slots) and 2 PCI v2.3 compliant slots for backwards compatibility.


Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review SATA Ports

SATA Ports

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review SATA Ports

SATA Ports

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review PATA Ports

PATA Ports

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review FD Connector

FD Connector


Drive support on the NI8-SLI board includes 6 SATA ports, 2 IDE ports and a floppy drive port. Many premium motherboards come equipped with 8 or even 10 SATA connectors, but to my thinking that's a waste, as most people won't have more than 4 SATA drives in their system, or indeed, more than 5 drive bays besides the one required for DVD/CD players/burners. The nForce4 for Intel SLI supports the following RAID modes: 0, 1, and 0+1.


Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review Q-OTES

Q-OTES

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review Q-OTES

Q-OTES

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review Q-OTES

Q-OTES


ABIT pioneered quiet cooling for the North Bridge fan with their OTES cooling found on many of their earlier motherboards and once again showing up on their new premiere products. With the NI8-SLI motherboard, they cooled the North Bridge with a heat pipe, drawing air out to the rear of the board to eliminate an overheating chipset. The input/output port configuration of this board is dictated by the necessity of the QTES cooling system and requires a special rear I/O (included) port to fit snugly in your enclosure.


Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review AudioMax

AudioMax

Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review AudioMax

AudioMax



Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review
Abit NI8-SLI Motherboard Review

On-board audio is provided by the now ubiquitous Realtek ALC850 CODEC that is starting to show its age with the release of many new audio chipsets. The main features of this chip include 7.1 surround sound, SPDIF-In support, and support for the major sound APIs including Creative's EAX 2.0 and DirectSound. If you want a sound card that supports EAX 3.0 or 4.0 HD, you need a Creative Audigy 2 or better, as these have not been licensed by other sound manufacturers as of yet. The Input/Output ports on the board are different than most boards due to the Q-OTES cooling solution taking up the area of the rear of the board normally reserved for the audio jacks. Also missing from the I/O is the Serial and Parallel ports. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports, the PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, and a RJ45 jack on the rear I/O ports. ABIT includes Gigabit LAN with a Vitesse controller.