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Appeared on: Friday, May 14, 2004
Asus A8V motherboard preview

1. Page 1

ASUS A8V Preview - Page 1

ASUS is one of the first companies that announced support for the upcoming AMD Athlon 64/64FX socket 939 processor. Among the very interesting new features, the motherboard is based on the new VIA K8T800Pro+VIA8237 chipset.

The new Athlon 64 processor codenamed "Newcastle" with 939 pins (socket 939), supports dual channel DDR memory and integrates 512KB of L2, only half of the size incorporated into today’s 754-pin chips. However, the Newcastle series will benefit from very efficient dual-channel memory controller that is likely to decrease the impact of cut-down cache and even improve performance of 939-pin chips over 754-pin processors with 1MB on-die secondary-level cache. The AMD Athlon 64 FX parts will continue to have 1MB of L2 cache after the transition to Socket 939.

The available processor speeds vary from 1.8GHz to 2.4Ghz. AMD has announced the release of another 939-pin processor (codename Winchester), later in September-November timeframe. The Winchester will be build upon a 90nm process, while for the Newcastle series AMD used the 0.13-micron process .

The new CPU uses the AMD HyperTransport technology at 1000MHz, which is faster by 200 MHz than the usual clock speed currently found at 754 socket motherboard kits. Another interesting feature of the new 939 socket motherboard is that VIA's K8T800 PRO allows user to change the AGP/PCI values, which means that the board would be ideal for overclockers. On the other hand, the Athlon 64/64FX CPU multipliers are locked.

AMD will demonstrate the new Athlon 64/64FX in the upcoming Taipei Computex next month, according to online sources.

- ASUS A8V Deluxe Specifications Summary


Socket 939 for AMD Athlon 64/64FXS
Supports AMD 64 architecture that enables simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing
Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology

Chipset VIA K8T800Pro
VIA VT8237
System Bus 2000/1600 MT/s
Memory Dual-channel memory architecture
4x184-pin DDR DIMM sockets for up to 4GB unbuffered ECC and non-ECC PC3200/2700/2100/1600 DDR DIMMs
Expansion slots 1 x AGP 8X/4X
5 x PCI

SouthBridge Supports
- 2 x UltraDMA 133 Connectors
- 2 x Serial ATA with RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD
Promise PDC20378 RAID controller
- 1 x UltraDMA 133 connector
- 2 x Serial ATA connectors
- support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and Multiple RAID configurations

AI Audio Realtek ALC850 8-channel CODEC
Audio Sensing and Enumeration Technology
S/PDIF out interface support
AI Net Marvell 88E8001 Gigabit Ethernet controller
Virtual Cable Tester (VCT) Technology support
IEEE 1394 VIA VT6307 IEEE1394 controller supports 2 x 1394 ports
USB Maximum of eight USB 2.0 ports
ASUS Q-Fan 2 Technology
ASUS POST Reporter
AI Overclocking features CPU, Memory, and AGP Voltage adjustable
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) from 200MHz up to 300 MHz at 1 Mhz increment
ASUS JumperFree
ASUS C.P.R (CPU Parameter Recall)
Special features

ASUS POST Reporter
ASUS C.P.R (CPU Parameter Recall)
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2
ASUS MyLogo 2
ASUS Instant Music
ASUS Q-Fan2 Technology
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology
Multi-Language BIOS
Supports S/P DIF out interface

Back Panel I/O

1 x Parallel port
1 x Serial port
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port
4 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x IEEE1394 port
1 x Optical S/PDIF output port
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF output port
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x 8-channel audio ports

Internal I/O

2 x USB 2.0 connector for 4 additional USB ports
CPU/Chassis/Power fan connectors
20-pin/4-pin ATX 12V power connectors
CD/Aux connectors
GAME/MIDI connector
IEEE 1394 connector
COM2 connector

BIOS features 4MB Flash EEPROM
AMI BIOS with enhanced ACPI, PnP, DMI2.0, Green
Industry standard PCI 2.2, USB 2.0/1.1
Manageability DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME
Power Requirement ATX power supply (with 4-pin 12V plug)
Form Factor ATX form factor: 12in x 9.6 in (30.5cm x 24.4 cm)

- The package

Below you can see the ASUS A8V Deluxe retail package:

Information for the Asus features and technology patterns used for the motherboard are available on the back of the package.

The speed benefits of the DUAL DDR memory channels are yielded in the corresponding graphical presentation:

The contents of the retail package are the following:

The software CD-ROM includes:

In addition we really enjoyed the attached ASUS Wi-FI 802.11g PCI (WL-130g) card with an external antenna kit.

2. Page 2

ASUS A8V Preview - Page 2

- The Board

Below you can see the board layout. There are 5 PCI slots, 1 AGP 8X/4X, 4 DIMMs for PC3200 memory, 2 IDE channels, 1 Floppy connector, 4 SATA connectors and the IDE channel supported by the Promise on-board controller.

Removing the ASUS heat sink reveals the VIA K8T800Pro. There is no any extra cooling fan here, supposing the heat sink is enough for the VIA chipset. On the right you can easily recognize the CPU socket 939, and the plastic base for the retail AMD Athlon 64 cooling fan.

On the right bottom side of the board you can see the VIA VT8237 chipset, the Promise SATA controller, the floppy connector, the serial port 2 connector, the game/midi connector, and the additional USB 2.0 headers.

Right next to the PCI slots there is another VIA chipset (VT6307 for Firewire), the internal audio connectors and the IEEE1394 connector pins (red):

The back panel includes the usual connectors and an optical/coaxial S/PDIF output :

The stability of the CPU cooling fan is ensured by a metal base available on the other side of board.

- First impression

ASUS has a long tradition in the PC main board market and we always expect qualitative parts by this brand. The ASUS A8V offers all those basic features that a power user would expect from a motherboard and additionally the included Wi-Fi 802.11g is definitely an advantage of the kit. The question here would be whether AMD took the right decision when decided to change the CPU socket kit. The first performance benchmarks with the new Athlon 64/64FX (socket 939) will answer our questions soon. Stay tuned!

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