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Home > Hardware Reviews > PC Parts

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium

1. Introduction

Some months ago, we tested the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard and we suggested that it would be great if the SLI selector card could be replaced with an easier approach. It seems that ASUS read the review and decided to make it reality with their latest motherboard supporting the AMD64 CPUs (including Dual Core X2 processors), the A8N-SLI Premium.

Except for SLI support and some more advanced features, "AI Cool-Pipe technology" comes to complete the image of an excellent featured motherboard. ASUS used a fanless design, offering noiseless operation and better thermal dissipation. The Premium edition also has all the goodies that the Deluxe version has to offer, all packed in a stylish eye-catching box.

It also utilizes NVidia's new nForce4 MCP (Media and Communication Processor), offering a whole bunch of features implemented at the hardware level.

- Features

The complete list of features that the A8N-SLI Premium motherboard offers can be seen below.

Supports AMD Socket 939 Athlon 64FX/Athlon 64, which are based on AMD's 64-bit and 32-bit architecture. These processors provide a dramatic leap forward in compatibility and performance.
The NVIDIA nForce4 Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology allows two graphics processing units in a single computer. This technology takes advantage of the PCI Express bus architecture and features intelligent hardware and software solutions that allows multiple GPUs to work together and achieve exceptional performance.
NVIDIA introduces built-in NVFirewall, a high-performance firewall application, and NVActiveArmor engine that provides advanced data packet inspection.
The A8N-SLI Deluxe supports AMD's Cool'n'Quiet technology that will automatically monitor and control VCore voltage, CPU speed and power, and adjust it accordingly to CPU demands.
HyperTransport technology increases the communication between integrated circuits in computers and networks, and can achieve 48 times faster communication. It basically is a high-speed, low-latency point-to-point link.
Double Data Rate (DDR) memory technology is supported, offering ultra-fast memory bandwidth
Next-Generation Serial ATA 3GB/sec is supported, providing twice the bandwidth of current Serial ATA products. Additionally, Serial ATA allows thinner and more flexible cables with lower pin counts and reduced voltage requirements. RAID controllers provide Dual-RAID functionality that allows you to select the best RAID solution.

The A8N-SLI Deluxe supports 8-channel audio through the onboard ALC850 CODEC with 16-bit DAC, a stereo 16-bit ADC, and an AC97 2.3 compatible multi-channel audio designed for PC multimedia systems.

The motherboards offers up to 10 USB2.0 compatible ports, and 2 IEEE1394a (Firewire) ports.

It's no longer either quiet operation or low system temperature. The A8N-SLI Premium, with AI Cool Pipe, lets you have the best of both worlds. This unique heat pipe design provides heat dissipation performance comparable to that of cooling fans without the annoying rotation noise.
AI Selector enables easy switching between single-GPU and dual-GPU modes by simply clicking on the mouse under Windows operating system. It begins the era of electronic SLI switch, allowing users to enjoy both SLI and non-SLI applications with ease.
Except the AIAudio feature described above, ASUS uses several others AI Proactive features to further improve network and overclocking performance of this motherboard.
ASUS Non-delay Overclocking System (AI NOS) will monitor CPU demands and overclock the system automatically, only when it is needed.
AI NET2 will reports all Ethernet cables faults and shorts. During the boot-up process, AI NET2 will check cables' condition and report back all problems found.

The features list does not end here! There are more ASUS innovative features:

ASUS EZ Plug is a 4-pin auxiliary +12V connector that is used to ensure voltage stability for your motherboard and for other installed peripherals.
CrachFree BIOS 2 will protect you from bad BIOS flashing, giving the ability to restore the BIOS to its original state from the installation CD.
On the other hand, with ASUS Post Reporter you can forget all these annoying beeping sounds if something is wrong with your hardware. The A8N-SLI will inform you for any hardware failure with pre-recorded voice messages.
Asus QFan will adjust the fan rotation speed according to the system's temperature/load to reduce noises and ensure quiet, cool and efficient operation.
You can also turn your computer to a stand-alone CD player, with ASUS InstantMusic, since you do not have to turn on your PC to use your CD/DVD player for audio playback.

You can see the full, detailed specification table below:

- Socket 939 for AMD Athlon 64FX / Athlon 64 /Sempron/Athlon 64 X2
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet
- AMD64 architecture enables simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing
- Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
Chipset NVIDIA nForce®4 SLI
Front Side Bus 2000 MT/s, 1600MT/s
Memory - 4 x 184-pin DIMM Sockets support max. 4GB DDR400/DDR333/DDR266 ECC/ non-ECC un-buffered DDR SDRAM memory
- Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Expansion Slots - 2 x PCI Express x16 slot
*SLI mode : x8 , x8
*Default(Single VGA) mode : x16, x1
- 2 x PCI Express x1
- 3 x PCI

- Under SLI mode : support two identical SLI-ready graphics cards
- Under Default(Single VGA) mode: supports all PCI Express graphics cards
- ASUS EZ Plug
- ASUS SLI Warning LED
- ASUS SLI Selector (software/BIOS based)
- ASUS two-slot thermal design
- ASUS PEG Link for dual PCIe graphic cards

Storage/ RAID nForce4 Storage:
- 4 x SATA 3Gb/s
- 2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
- NVRAID : RAID0, RAID1, RAID 0+1 and JBOD span cross SATA and PATA
Silicon Image 3114R RAID controller:
- 4 x Serial ATA with RAID0, 1, 0+1, and RAID5
LAN nForce4 built-in Gbit MAC with external Marvell PHY :
- NV ActiveArmor
- NV Firewall
MARVELL PCI Gbit LAN controller :
Audio Realtek ALC850, 8-channel CODEC
Jack Sensing and Enumeration Technology
Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF out ports on back I/O
IEEE 1394 TI 1394 controller supports 2 x 1394 ports
USB Max. 10 USB2.0 ports
ASUS AI Proactive Features AI NOS(Non-delay Overclocking System)
AI NET2 network diagnosis before entering OS
Overclocking Features AI NOS (Non-delay Overclocking System)
AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
ASUS PEG Link for single/dual graphics cards

Precision Tweaker:
- vDIMM: 9-step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.0125 increment
- SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection): allowing FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCIe Frequency: allowing PCIe frequency from 100MHz up to 200MHz at 1MHz increment

Adjustable FSB/DDR ratio. Fixed PCIe/PCI/SATA frequencies.
ASUS PEG Link for single/dual graphics cards
ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
ASUS Special Features
ASUS AI Cool-Pipe
ASUS AI Selector
ASUS SLI warning LED
ASUS AI Overclocking
ASUS PEG Link for single/dual graphics cards
ASUS Precision Tweaker
ASUS MyLogo2
ASUS POST Reporter
ASUS Multi-language BIOS
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2
ASUS Instant Music
BIOS 4 Mb Flash ROM, AWARD BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Parallel
2 x RJ45
1 x 1394
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors - 3 x USB 2.0 connector supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x IEEE1394 connectors
- 1 x Parallel connector
- 1 x COM connector
- 1 x GAME/MIDI connector
- CPU Fan / 2x Chassis Fan/ Power Fan/ Chipset Fan connectors
- Front panel audio connector
- Chassis Intrusion connector
- CD audio-in connector
- 24-pin ATX Power connector
- 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
Support CD Drivers
ASUS PC Probe - PC Health Monitoring Software
ASUS LiveUpdate Utility
ASUS AI Booster
ASUS Cool ' n' Quiet Utility
NVIDIA nTune Utility
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Accessories SLI connector
1 x 1-port IEEE1394 module
1 x SLI retention bracket
8 x Serial ATA cables
1 x SATA Extension module for external devices
4 x 2-port SATA power cable
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / Game module
1 x 2-port USB2.0 module
1 x COM Port module
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x IDE cable
1 x FDD cable
1 x I/O Shield
User's manual
Instant Music
Setting Sticker
WinDVD Suite
Form Factor ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

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