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ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard - Full Speed SLI *Exclusive* - Final Thoughts

When nVidia first launched their dual graphics platform, it initially come under some scrutiny for only offering two 8x PCI-E ports. Many months later nVidia announced their nForce 4 SLI X16 chipset which offers two full speed PCI-E slots, each with 16 lanes. Today we've got a very exclusive look at the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard. We closely examine the performance of the two different PCI Express port lane configurations to determine if it's actually worth upgrading to the new chipset or not!

By: | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 27, 2005 4:00 am


Final Thoughts


The A8N32-SLI Deluxe like all products that we have seen from ASUS is tops, as far as we are concerned. It would seem though that the new X16 chipset from nVidia doesn't give us a huge boost in performance, not in today's games or until you really turn your graphics settings up at a high resolution - and we're talking above 1600 x 1200. If you remember benchmarking at 4x AGP and 8x AGP back some years ago now, the performance difference was extremely minor or none at all.


The motherboard itself though is fantastic - SATA on the IO panel, dual gigabit LAN, optical audio, 6 SATA ports, Firewire, SLI, heat pipe cooling technology - it pretty much as everything you could want.


We might not see the performance difference between the GeForce 7800GTX in SLI with the full bandwidth PCI Express slots but it could be the next generation line up from nVidia that lets us make use of the huge bandwidth available. This is the kind of motherboard from ASUS is one we recommend to someone who doesn't upgrade their motherboard very often as it offers a more "future-proof" design thanks to the huge amount of bandwidth available. It wouldn't seem that the current generation 7800 GTX cards gets much extra performance from the extra lanes but it doesn't mean its not coming - new drivers and new cards could see this becoming one of the more popular technologies around.


Plus we're sure as new games are released, they'll be far more demanding than any of today's best titles and the full bandwidth PCI Express slots will be more crucial than when the extra bandwidth available to the graphics cards can be properly utilized. Just as we saw in our testing, as soon as we turned up the settings in our benchmarked games, we started to see some improvements from the extra bandwidth.


The ASUS A8N-SLI Premium and A8N32-SLI Deluxe both have their places in the market. The A8N-SLI Premium seems to offer the best performance with the 7800GTX running in SLI where the A8N32-SLI one would tend to think is going to achieve greater numbers when games and applications are released that need more bandwidth. In the end this is why we have moved from AGP to PCI Express - to get more bandwidth. While this is only a personal opinion, I feel that extra performance is only a BIOS and driver update away.


- Pros


Packed full of features


Roomy SLI ports


3 x PCI slots


Heat Pipe Cooling


Future-proof design


Good overclocker


Great bundle with in the motherboard


AMD Athlon X2 support out of the box


No SLI selector adapter anymore


- Cons


X16 performance is up and down


No pointing upgrading unless you're an ultra high quality and high resolution gamer


The A8N32-SLI is for people who upgrade their graphics card regularly but not their motherboard and want the highest resolution with extreme AA and AF settings and is not for people who don't venture past 1600 x 1200 with AA or AF turned off. In other words, it's for extreme gamers who are really going to want to push as much data through the PCI Express slots as possible.


Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award



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