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VIA K8T800 Performance Motherboard Shootout - Gigabyte, MSI and ABIT

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Dec 29, 2003 5:00 am

Features of the Gigabyte K8VNXP


- Monster Package!


The box at first glance is amazing. You then proceed to open the box just like a book and you find detailed information containing absolutely everything you need about the motherboard and its features. The packaging would cost Gigabyte a few extra dollars compared to others but if you walk into a store and see this box sitting on the shelf, it's definitely going to get a closer look when compared to others.



Gigabyte has been creating a beautiful package for some time now and we find all the usual bits and pieces included: manuals, drivers, floppy cables and IDE cables. Pushing all that aside we also find some more exciting extras including the Dual Power System Module (DPS) that gives the motherboard the best voltage lines to make it as stable as possible, we also get external Serial ATA brackets, Firewire ports, USB 2.0 ports and an audio bracket.




The package is huge and this is the reason for such a big and heavy box. Shipping of this motherboard would not be the cheapest around but it follows the quality line up of extras that Gigabyte has given us for quite a while now.




Good on you Gigabyte!


- Motherboard Features and Layout


Looking straight down on the motherboard you notice the trademark Gigabyte green AGP port and purple RAM slots which we have been seeing for quite a while now. Placement of the main power connector is excellent with the extra 4 pin power connecter being closer to the processor to give that little bit of extra juice.



The motherboard uses a 5/1 (PCI/AGP) layout. Normally when we see motherboards that follow a 5/1 design, they have the first PCI slot further away from the AGP slot for those who use a video card that takes up multiple slots - unfortunately this motherboard doesn't follow suit. In this case, if you're using a video card that takes up multiple slots, you are going to lose the first PCI slot which brings you down to a 4/1 setup. Not many people will need that many PCI slots as the motherboard has everything you need onboard and you may find yourself only installing a better sound card in one of your spare PCI slots.



Looking around the motherboard you notice the four Parallel ATA ports as well as two Serial ATA ports giving you maximum support of 10 drives in total. While not everyone will find themselves using this many, it is nice to know that you don't have to worry about running out of places to plug your hard drives in to and having to run down to the local PC store to pickup a separate PCI controller card. The only foreseeable problem you may have is that if you're purchasing more then two Serial ATA drives, you're going to run out of room to plug them into pretty quickly.




The Gigabyte K8VNXP motherboard comes with active cooling on the Northbridge which is something the Epox and the Albatron Athlon 64 motherboards were lacking which we looked at previously. Continuing in Gigabyte tradition, the motherboard comes with the famous Dual BIOS support to help prevent the motherboard from not working due to a bad BIOS flash.


As far as layout goes, everything has its own spot and the worst thing is the placement of the AGP slot and the first PCI slot. Since a lot of people won't use all the slots it's not a huge deal but people finding themselves with a lot of PCI devices may run into some trouble which is worth taking note of for future reference.



Despite the features we have already mentioned, the Gigabyte K8VNXP motherboard has a lot going for it and a fair few of them stand out brightly. First up one of the most noticeable features is the DPS otherwise known as the "Dual Power System".



Also included is dual networking for people who run an ADSL or cable modem through their computer as well as being on a network. Dual networking was quite common among some of the nVidia nForce 2 motherboards and it's good to see Gigabyte implementing it into their next generation Athlon motherboard.



Thanks to the new Texas Instruments Firewire controller, we now have the new IEEE 1394B controller implemented which gives you support for the latest Firewire version which brings a maximum transfer rate of 800Mbps.


Let's now see how the MSI competition compares!


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