As we haven’t had a chance to look at any PCI-Express
capable AMD boards from VIA or ATI yet, we can’t do a full comparison, but let’s
quickly run down the feature list of our three competitors.
|| nForce 4 Ultra
||Radeon Xpress 200
||x16 graphics, 4 x1 slots
x16 graphics, 4 x1 slots
|x16 graphics, 4 x1 slots |
||available in nForce 4 SLI
||available in future
||available in future|
SATA 150/SATA 2
4 drives, 2 controllers
4 drives, one controller
4 drives, one controller
||0, 1, 0+1
||0, 1, 0+1|
Looks like the nForce 4 stacks up pretty well in comparison to its
competitors now, but only time will sort out which of these three promising entries
comes out on top of the heap. Now let's get back to our review
of the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce 4 motherboard!
Motherboard layout and
The GA-K8NXP-9 is a full sized motherboard, so you'd best install
this thing into a case with lots of room.
you might notice, the PCI Express slots are arranged in
a slightly different order than on comparable Intel
boards. Whether this is due to the nForce 4 chipset, or Gigabyte's board implementation is
not clear. The PCI Express x16 graphics slot sits under the two PCI Express x1 slots.
BIOS Protection -
A Backup BIOS Chip
A bad BIOS flash can cause havoc. It can take three weeks to ship the board out under
RMA, have it looked at by the manufacturer, and get it replaced. If this is
your main computer, and power went out during a BIOS flash... shudder. A dual BIOS
can save your butt, by allowing you to boot your motherboard, and
repair the damaged BIOS with the backup data.
The Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 comes with this feature, and it is
a lifesaver. As you can probably guess, a board with a dual BIOS keeps a second copy of the default BIOS
in reserve. If a disaster happens, a quick jumper switch can get
you right back on the road to recovery.
The Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 is compatible with both 24 and 20 pin ATX power supplies, so you
won't have to throw out your current PSU just to upgrade your system. Of course
if you're going to be buying a new power supply, go for one with a 24 pin main
ATX power connector.
On the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9, installing a videocard can become a little tricky since it is possible that the rear of
the videocard will touch the top of the NF4 Ultra chipset heatsink. It depends on the
videocard, but I would advise you to make sure you double-check everything is snug, before turning on the
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