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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

2. A Closer Look

The Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8KRS is a well designed motherboard on an orange Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The interface connections are laid out so as to make them easily accessible and the colour coding helps in identifying them.

The 939 socket for the AMD64 CPU...

The FAN of NVIDIA's nForce 4 SLI chipset ...

The WinFast is equipped with two PCI Express slots. The primary slot with 16X bandwidth and the other with 8X, so when you connect two NVIDIA cards in SLI mode, the bandwidth is 8X. The board uses an SLI selector card to enable SLI mode. You should set this card accordingly, depending on whether you want to work in Single VGA mode or in Dual VGA mode.

The memory module slots are colour coded. Simply install two memory modules of the same memory size in the same coloured slots, to enable Dual Channel's symmetry mode support, or use two memory modules of different memory sizes for asymmetric mode.

The IDE connectors and the 24-pin power Connector are shown below.

Below are the four SATA connectors for installing HDDs or CD/DVD drives...

There are also additional USB 2.0 connections on the motherboard:

The 4-pin 12V Power connection:

The three extra fan power connections:

The IrDA Connection:

The board also has provision for two FireWire and an extra two SATA connections, which unfortunately are not populated, possibly to keep the price down but may be available on the more expensive WinFast mainboards.

The Audio connector and the Realtek ALC850 chipset:

Rear panel connections:

  • PS/2 mouse port (green)
  • PS/2 keyboard port (purple)
  • Parallel port
  • Serial port
  • S/PDIF Coaxial Out Port
  • S/PDIF Optical
  • Line In, Line Out, Microphone, Rear and LEF/CEN ports
  • LAN (RJ-45) ports
  • 4x USB 2.0 ports

- The package

The retail package for the WinFast NF4SK8AA includes the following accessories:

Accessories User's manual
2 x Serial ATA cables
2x power SATA cables
2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
FDD cable
Support CD

nVIDIA nForce Drivers, DirectX 9.0,
Audio Drivers, Adobe Reader 6.0,
SuperUtilities, Norton Internet Security,
MainBoard Manual, RAID Manual

For this review, we populated the WinFast NF4SK8AA-8KRS motherboard with two ASUS Extreme N6600GT graphics cards and compared it with the MSI K8N Diamond, which is also an NVIDIA nForce4 SLI 8X based board.

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