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Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
The GA-K8N Ultra-SLI includes an additional four channel Serial ATA/RAID controller, two Gigabit NICs, IEEE 1394b, 7.1-channel audio, SPDIF in/out...
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Mar 08 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI


Case modders will absolutely love this motherboard as it's quite good to look at. These days, a motherboard cannot just be fast and fully equipped, it also has to look good and Gigabyte has that covered with the blue PCB and multi-coloured ports on the GA-K8N Ultra-SLI. The layout of the motherboard is near perfect, and even with the board installed into a case with expansion cards you should be able to access all the vital connectors.

While Serial ATA has advanced past IDE on many fronts, one thing I did notice after setting up a few systems is that the cables come off the motherboard and drives quite easily. That issue has been addressed with the new style of Serial ATA II connectors and cables now used. Now when you insert one of the new cables into the appropriate slot, it'll lock into place.

Removing the cable is still quite easy, as pressing down on the latch allows you to pull the SATA II connector out. The SATA II controller and cables are backwards compatible with the first generation of Serial ATA drives, although you'll only be running at SATA I standard speeds of course.

The nForce 4 SLI has a total of 20 PCI Express lanes to divvy up between the various peripherals. When the switch module just under the first PCIe x16 slot is set to 'Normal,' sixteen lanes are allocated to the first PCI Express x16 slot, two are allocated for the two PCI Express x1 slots and officially the second PCI Express x16 slot is not available.

When the switch module is set to SLI, the sixteen PCI Express lanes from the first PCIe x16 slot are split in half and each PCIe x16 slot gets eight lanes while the small PCIe x1 slot between the two is disabled entirely.

During testing with the switch module set to 'SLI', the MSI RX800XT-VTD256 videocard still had the use of all sixteen PCI Express lanes with no performance penalty according to SiSoft Sandra 2005. As expected, we were not able to run two GeForce 6600GT videocards in SLI with the switch module set to 'Normal' mode.

I would have preferred to be able to select normal or SLI modes within the BIOS instead of having to change a switch, but I guess it's not possible at the moment since every manufacturer with a nForce4 SLI-based motherboard requires a physical hardware change on the board itself.

Another innovation bundled in with the GA-K8N Ultra-SLI motherboard is an SLI bridge rention bracket. Essentially this is a blank metal PCI bracket with a little metal armature that sits just above an installed SLI bridge to hold it in place on each SLI videocard. The underside of the metal arm is insulated to prevent shorts. A nice little extra, and something that should also help to keep both PCI Express videocards firmly in their slots.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Fully Featured Motherboard
 Pg 3.  — SATA II and SLI
 Pg 4.  How does it overclock?
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 12.  Lots of good useful features!

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