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Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: If you consider yourself a performance enthusiast and are contemplating purchasing a new system or motherboard in the near future, do yourself a favor and get something that's SLI compatible.
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Feb 25 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI

Disk Improvements

The RAID controller in the nForce 3 chipset was already one of the more innovative solutions on the market, thanks in part to its 'flexible RAID' support. This time around, the NF4 chipset has received a substantial new feature set.

The new nVidia nForce 4 supports up to 4 SATA drives, and four Parallel ATA (IDE) drives. The serial ATA implementation now uses two separate controllers, each supporting a pair of drives for increased performance.

All drives can be configured into RAID 0, 1 or 0+1 arrays, regardless of which controller they reside on; meaning you can have RAID arrays combining SATA and IDE drives, or use IDE drives as spare fall back disks for SATA RAID arrays.

‘Hot spares’ are supported for RAID 1 or 0+1 arrays, allowing you to have a separate drive installed but unused and designated as a spare. If one of the disks in your RAID array fails, the disk controller will rebuild the array on the fly using the spare disk. To aid in swapping out defective drives, the SATA ports support hot-swapping. All this can be done transparently within the operating system itself.

To add to this comprehensive list of RAID features, the chipset supports RAID ‘morphing’ where one type of RAID array can be converted into another from the operating system. For example, you could convert a RAID 1 array to a RAID 0 stripe, upgrade a RAID 1 mirror to RAID 0+1 (provided two extra drives were attached).

All in all, the new nVidia NF4 chipset adds a huge amount of almost business-calibre RAID functionality to Athlon 64 systems. Although, we’re forced to wonder what users nVidia thinks will actually make use of all this RAID goodness.

This would be a good time to mention that the fourth (as yet) unreleased version of the nForce 4 chipset will apparently be a dual-Opteron based design, with 40 lanes of PCI Express and dual PCI Express x16 video slots. It looks like we answered our own question, as the nForce 4 chipset is undoubtedly going to be targeted towards business users, and perhaps even servers a bit later in its active life. I doubt it will see much application in servers, industry is usually unwelcome to new and unproven technologies.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  SATA II and SLI
 Pg 3.  nForce4 Technology Loving
 Pg 4.  — Disk Improvements
 Pg 5.  More Storage Features
 Pg 6.  Overclocking and BIOS
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 14.  A great motherboard with a bright future!

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