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ABIT AN8-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review

ABIT AN8-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Hardware goodies include IEEE 1394 firewire, a Gigabit NIC, a stand-alone 7.1 channel AC'97 audio card, a Port 80 diagnostics card.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ABIT Aug 16 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ABIT AN8-SLI

Closer look at the AN8-SLI

The quality of the information in motherboard manuals has gotten better over the years. In the past, manuals were full of cryptic terms that only experienced users understood, now they can guide newbie users without much trouble. For the ABIT AN8-SLI, the company has included good documentation.

We'd all like to hope that motherboard manufacturers have learnt from lessons of the past... and hopefully the burst and leaking capacitor period has finally been put to rest. From what we can tell, there has been a concerted effort by most motherboard makers to use only brand name or Japanese-made capacitors on enthusiast grade boards, if not all models. Looking at the electrolytic capacitors used on the ABIT AN8-SLI motherboard we find the brands Rubycon, Sanyo and KZG used.

About the only thing I have to complain about the AN8-SLI is the location of its auxiliary molex power connector. The power connector is located under the last PCI slot, where it is difficult for anyone to access once the board is installed it a case. Users may likely have to dedicate one line from the power supply just to reach that area! As you can guess, this was a definitely a noodle scratcher, especially since the connector is so far from the PCI Express slots.

The Heatpipe on the Northbridge

Heatpipes are all the rage now, they are used with CPU heatsinks, videocard coolers and now even with motherboard chipsets. I am sure the first thing you noticed when looking at the AN8-SLI is its large 'Q-OTES' heatpipe-based cooling solution.

The nVidia NF4 SLI chipset comes in contact with a copper heatspreader which then moves the heat via the heatpipe several inches to the copper radiator at the rear I/O area.

ABIT's Q-OTES system, as it is called, takes advantage of system airflow and exhaust air from the CPU heatsink to cool those copper fins which in turn keep the NF4 SLI chipset running at the right temperature threshold.

During testing the chipset stayed at a balmy 35C while under load, so the Q-OTES cooling was obviously working. Looking at the system, it is certainly an innovative solution to the standard motherboard chipset heatsink, but I would have preferred if the heatpipe would have hugged the motherboard PCB a little closer (ie, as on the Asus A8N-SLI Premium ).

As it is now, it's worthwhile to take a bit of precaution to make sure you do not damage the heatpipe when installing devices onto the AN8-SLI. Secondly, on the I/O shield there is a wire mesh cage around the hot air exhaust area, along with a rather un-aerodynamic punched sheet metal vent.

The punched sheet metal vent and wire mesh filters together are a bit counterproductive, and will be prone to collecting dust. EMI filtering may be the reason for the sheet metal vents, but we would have preferred it if the wire mesh was all that was used here.

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Contents of Article: ABIT AN8-SLI
 Pg 1.  ABIT AN8-SLI nForce4-SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Closer look at the AN8-SLI
 Pg 3.  7-Channel Audio and Overclocking!
 Pg 4.  ABIT AN8-SLI BIOS and Test Specs
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, Comanche 4
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 12.  ABIT's Furthering Overclocking

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