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» Channels :: Mainboard
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Tuesday, 6th September, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


Whenever NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI chipset is mentioned, the words 'gamer', 'enthusiast' and 'high-end' all come to mind. Motherboards that have so far been released are all targeted with this user group in mind with most packing, over the top features and pricing as well. What if we told you all this is about to change, and very soon for that matter? Ever since NVIDIA announced their next chipset upgrade, the nForce4 SLI X16, prices have been expected to slip for the current nForce4 series, including the nForce4 SLI. Interestingly enough, this is happening even before the nForce4 SLI X16 has been released. Not only are we seeing price cuts in the horizon, basic and vanilla flavored nForce4 SLI boards have begin to emerge, leaving the top spot vacant for the imminent arrival of the nForce4 SLI X16.

Instead of the rush by third tier manufacturers to announce budget friendly nForce4 SLI boards, we have MSI leading the way with the announcement of their new K8N SLI. By stripping away most of the features that made their Diamond and Platinum versions, MSI gets ready one of the earlier 'no-frills' nForce4 SLI boards in the market that would occupy the same space of the nForce4 Ultra.

The MSI K8N SLI motherboard.

The packaging bundle of the K8N SLI came with the following items:-
  • 1 x SATA data cable
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 1 x rounded 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x rounded floppy drive data cable
  • SLI high-speed digital link interface bridge
  • USB 2.0 (2 ports) and MSI D-Bracket 2
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CD
  • Quick user's guide

    MSI K8N SLI Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports AMD socket 939 Athlon 64 CPU
    • Supports AMD socket 939 Athlon 64 FX CPU
    • Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP
      • Bi-directional 1GHz (2000MT/s) HyperTransport interface to processor
      • 20 lanes flexible PCI Express configuration
      • NVIDIA SLI Dual GPU architecture
      • Supports up to 6 PCI  v2.3 slots
      • Supports up to ten USB 2.0 ports
      • Dual controller SATA II architecture
      • Dual-channel Ultra ATA-133 IDE controller
      • IEEE 802.3 NVIDIA MAC for 1000BASE-T
    • Dual channel memory architecture integrated into processor
    • Four 184-pin DDR DIMM sockets
    • Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM DIMM modules
    • Supports up to 4GB using PC1600 (DDR200), PC2100 (DDR266), PC2700 (DDR333) and PC3200 (DDR400) unbuffered DDR SDRAM DIMM
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP
      • 4 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100/133 (data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)
      • 4 x SATA II (Serial ATA II 3.0Gbps interface)
      • NVIDIA MediaShield Technology
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1
      • Supports RAID Morphing
      • Supports cross-controller RAID
    • Realtek ALC850 8-channel audio CODEC
    • Coaxial S/PDIF Output
    • NVIDIA Gigabit LAN co-supported by Marvell Alaska 88E1111 PHY chip (Transceiver)
    IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    • VIA Fire IIM VT6307 Host Controller
    • 2 x 1394a ports @ 400 Mbps speed
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 2 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 4 x SATA connectors
    • 10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 2 x bracket, 4 x header)
    • 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (1 x rear, 1 x bracket)
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output 
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x CD-IN
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port (header)
    • 1 x parallel port (SPP/EPP/ECP)
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 2 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 2 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 3 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • D.O.T. Express (Dynamic Overclocking Technology)
    • CoreCell
    • Live Update 3
    • DigiCell
    • CoreCenter
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)

    The rear I/O panel of the K8N SLI features all the connectivity functions available to the motherboard including FireWire, Gb LAN, USB 2.0, analog and digital audio.
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