EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review :: The Board

12-04-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
EVGA 133-K8-NF41-AX Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part Number133-K8-NF41-AX
ManufacturerEVGA
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetNvidia nForce4 SLI
North BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP
SocketSocket 939
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX
Number of CPUs
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeNvidia nForce4 SLI MCP
Audio8-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireNone
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
BIOS
Form FactorATX
 

EVGA decided to base this motherboard on the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. This chipset natively supports two video cards operating together to improve performance in games and applications that take advantage of SLI. The nForce4 SLI supports all current AMD Socket 939 CPUs including the 4800+ Dual Core and the AMD Athlon 64 and FX series of CPUs. AMD is going to move to a Socket 940 M2 platform next year, but today all of the high end CPUs can be inserted into this motherboard.


EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review Memory slots

Memory slots


EVGA outfitted their board with 4 184-pin DIMM slots for the memory. The board supports up to 4GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR400 memory. The launch of M2 will bring DDR2 to the AMD platform, but today the focus is on DDR with AMD. Early editions of the EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition manual include a erroneous mention of which DIMM slot the memory modules need to be inserted into to run Dual Channel mode. The correct placement for DC memory is 1+3, 2+4 or 1+2+3+4.


EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review PCI slots

PCI slots

EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review PCI Express x1 slot

PCI Express x1 slot

EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review 3 PCI Express x16 slots

3 PCI Express x16 slots


Expansion slot options on the SLI Edition motherboard are varied. One prominent feature of this board is the inclusion of three full-length PCI Express slots. The center slot is a full x16 slot allowing you to take full advantage with a single video card. The outer slots are for SLI mode. Some board manufacturers make you switch a "paddle". Others use jumpers to enable SLI. EVGA just requires you to put cards in the appropriate slots and a SLI bridge chip to enable SLI mode. One oddity with the board was it would not show video with the monitor cable connected to the top PCI Express x8 slot in SLI mode. Using the bottom slot, the cards operated in SLI mode without issue. Also present on the board are three PCI slots and a PCI Express x1 slot above the top PCI Express x8 slot.


EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review IDE and Floppy ports

IDE and Floppy ports

EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review NVRAID

NVRAID


Drive expansion options areas important as device expansion options in my opinion. NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI chipset supports 4 SATA drives natively, without the need for an additional SATA controller. 4 is a good number, as it allows for 4 hard disk drives to be raided in Mirror Striping mode. RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD modes are supported by NVRAID. Some manufacturers include up to 10 ports, but to the ordinary user with a Mid-Tower ATX case, 4 are sufficient. Two IDE connectors and a floppy disk connector make up the drive connection.

The rear of the board containing the Input Output block is fairly representative of SLI motherboards. EVGA decided to include 4 USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 Mouse and Keyboard ports, 2 COM ports, a RJ45 jack for the Gigabit Ethernet, and 6 jacks for the onboard audio. EVGA decided to use a Marvell 88E1111 GbE PHY chip to provide Gigabit Ethernet support for the board. EVGA decided to include Realtek' ALC850 CODEC for the integrated audio. This CODEC is based upon the AC'97 standard. Recent motherboard chipsets have supported Intel's High Definition Audio standard and NVIDIA has added it to their new 6150 chipset. Hopefully as we move into the New Year every motherboard will support HDA. The ALC850 supports 7.1 surround sound, and the major sound APIs including DirectSound and EAX 2.0.

Audio screenshots


EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review
EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review
EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review
EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review
EVGA nForce4 SLI Edition Motherboard Review