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Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The GA-K8NXP-9 is bound to be a favourite solution, for not only does it incorporate PCI Express x16 slot, but it also features a remarkable array of goodies.
 99% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Nov 12 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9

Overclocking and more

When it comes to installing a system, it really helps to have all the components in an accessible location. The Serial ATA headers are in two groups along the bottom edge of the board, where they are easily accessible when it is installed in a case.

In addition to the native four port/two controller SATA setup that comes with all nForce 4 chipsets, Gigabyte added a Silicon Image Sil3114CT176 SATA I/RAID controller. Capable of running RAID modes 0, 1, 0+1 or as JBOD (Just a Bunch of disks) it allows users the option to expand to 8 SATA drives without having to worry about buying another controller.

With dual Gigabit network connections and a Wireless 802.11g PCI card, the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 is certainly ready to go from the start. The board only indicates one Gigabit NIC's MAC address, instead of both for some reason.

I don't know about you, but I find myself always running out of USB ports. The GA-K8NXP-9 supports a full assembly of ten USB2.0 ports (four onboard, six through the included header cards). The Serial ATA II ports are grouped around another at the bottom corner of the board, not placed around the expansion slots, or near the CPU socket. This was commonplace with nForce3 Ultra motherboards for some reason.

Overclocking the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9

nForce3-based motherboards were pretty good overclockers, so we anticipated that the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 would perform well in this regard too. Of course, with no multiplier option controls present in the BIOS the AMD Athlon64 4000+ processor would probably turn out to be the limiting factor.

Starting at a front side bus of 200 MHz, we slowly raised the clock speed of the board a few megahertz at a time. Things were pretty uneventful all the way up to 213 MHz, until we had to increase the memory voltage to 2.7V to keep the board stable.

At 215 MHz the GA-K8NXP-9 encountered some more problems, but this time increasing the HyperTransport link voltage to 0.2V+ fixed things. We seemed to hit the wall at 217 MHz, and no matter what was adjusted, it didn't help. I guess that shouldn't be too much of a surprise though as this motherboard is based on an engineering sample nForce4 Ultra chipset. I would expect retail nForce4 Ultra-based motherboards equipped with multiplier controls to overclock quite nicely, but since we haven't yet tested one, I can't say for certain.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Exploring the nForce 4 chipset
 Pg 3.  nForce 4 features and variants
 Pg 4.  Improved disk controller and RAID support
 Pg 5.  Advancing Storage Features
 Pg 6.  Gigabit Ethernet built in
 Pg 7.  nForce 4 chipset variations
 Pg 8.  Feature comparisons
 Pg 9.  — Overclocking and more
 Pg 10.  The BIOS
 Pg 11.  PCStats Test System and Sysmark 2004
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 14.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 15.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 16.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 17.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 18.  Maximum Motherboard Overclocks and Conclusion

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