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Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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.
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Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Nov 12 2004   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review

AMD is quickly moving from the AGP architecture to PCI Express, largely because gamers are its target market and the demands placed on graphics cards continue to rise with remarkable speed. PCI Express can alleviate the substantial PCI bus bottleneck between system components, processor and memory. It also increases the available bandwidth to PCI Express x16 videocards by several orders over that of AGP 8X cards. For example, a PCI Express x1 slot has 250MB/s worth of bandwidth, almost twice that of the whole PCI bus! The PCI Express x16 slot, which is used to support the new class of PCI Express videocards, tops out at a massive 8GB/s bandwidth!

Up until the release of the nVidia nForce 4, and VIA K8T890 chipsets, PCI Express solutions were the domain of Intel systems, and Intel alone. The introduction of PCI Express graphics solutions to the socket 939 Athlon 64 platform is a shining example of manufacturers giving consumers what they want, and on time no less.

Over the course of this review, PCstats will explain the attributes of nVidia's hot new nForce 4 Ultra chipset, the benefits of this technology, and how it application on the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 motherboard performs. As the nVidia 'CK804' chipset soldered to this board is an engineering sample, there may, or may not be a bit of latitude to the results against that of a retail bought solution.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9


Hardware Installation Guidebook, Ultra/133 IDE cable, Floppy Drive Cable, Four Serial ATA Cables, Two Molex Y Serial ATA Power Cables, USB Bracket, IEEE/USB Bracket, I/O Shield, PCI 802.11g Wireless NIC

In any event, the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 is bound to be a favourite solution, for not only does it incorporate the all important PCI Express x16 slot alongside an Athlon64 64-bit processor, but it also features a remarkable array of goodies. For starters the GA-K8NXP-9 includes an additional Silicon Image Sil3114CT176 SATA I/RAID controller, IEEE 1394b Firewire, 7.1-channel audio, Gigabyte's DPS2 power system, dual Gigabit NICs as well as a full PCI 802.11g wireless network PCI card, and even a dual BIOS!

Of course there's more to the nForce4 Ultra than just PCI Express. One of the most exciting new features is the integration of four Serial ATA II channels. With compatible hard drives, SATA II can burst transfer up to 300MB/s, twice that of standard SATA drives. Sustained transfer rates will be substantially lower than that, but I'm willing to wager they will still be comfortably higher than today's fastest SATA hard drives can muster.

Since this is our first nForce 4 motherboard review, let's run through the new features the nVidia nForce 4 chipset introduces to the Athlon 64 platform.

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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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