by May 1, 2005 0 comments

This Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI motherboard is a solid contender for gamers and computer geeks out there. This is the first SLI-ready motherboard that we’ve reviewed till now. It’s a perfect product for graphic-intensive works where you need huge amount of graphic processing power, which a single GPU can’t deliver.

This board supports SLI (Scalable Link Interface; an NVIDIA technology) with which you can create a load-balancing cluster of two different PCI Express

In this case, both the GPUs will render different parts or frames of the image and finally will send it to a single output (monitor). But here the catch is that only NVIDIA-based SLI-ready graphic cards can work with them. You can’t just take two GPUs and use them as a cluster with this board. To use a single GPU instead, you have to take out the SLIController (Fixed between the two PICExpress slots) and reinsert it from the opposite side that says ‘Normal Mode’. The sides are properly marked as ‘Normal Mode’ and ‘SLI mode’ so there is no reason of confusion even if you are not a hardware guru.

Some other features of this motherboard are the duel BIOS and dual Power. The motherboard supports socket 939 Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 Processors. It has four DDR400 RAM slots, two PCI Express 16x, and two PCI card slots. It also has eight SATA and two standard PATA ports. It also has a realtec ALC850 sound card built in to it, which supports 7.1 channel surround sound. 

Performance-wise also the board came out very well. We tested the board with an NVIDIA 256 MB PCI Express GPU with 1GB of RAM. We compared the board’s performance with an Intel 925 chipset based motherboard. The MSI 925 XE Neo is Rs 3000 expensive than the Gigabyte board, it still could not beat latter in the Business Winstone benchmark. The Gigabyte board won by a margin of about 22%. But in the Multi Media Content Creation Winstone (MCCW) benchmark, the MSI board won by a margin of 12.5%. In the Quake III benchmark both the boards performed equally well. And these all results came with just one GPU without using SLI technology.

With all its features and good performance the Gigabyte motherboard is definitely worth every penny.

The Bottom Line: Best buy if you are planning to buy two SLI ready NVIDIA GPUs also along with the motherboard. 

CyberMedia Labs

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