Some manufacturers build motherboards made for overclocking. Others build with stability in mind. Some concentrate on eye-candy; whereas others ditch aesthetics in favour of build quality. While one can debate who builds a faster board, it's generally agreed upon that ASUS manages to find a good balance of what is important to the enthusiast.
With AMD moving full steam ahead with their 64-bit Athlon 64 CPUs, we take a look at the . Featuring the VIA K8T800 chipset, the motherboard includes support for the Socket 754 based Athlon 64, as well as a host of features as outlined below.
||-One 754-pin socket supports one AMD Athlon 64 processor Built-in 1MB L2 cache
-AMD64 architecture enables simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing
||3 x 184-pin DIMM Sockets support max. 3GB un-buffered ECC and non-ECC PC3200/PC2700 / PC2100 DDR SDRAM memory
||1 x AGP 8X
1x WiFi slot
-2 x ATA133
-2 x SATA, RAID0, RAID1
Promise R20378 RAID controller
-1xUltraDMA133 supports two hard drives
-RAID0, RAID1, RAID 0+1
||ADI AD1980, 6-channel CODEC
S/PDIF out interface
||3COM 3C940 Gb Ethernet LAN
||VIA VT6307 controller with 2 IEEE1394 ports
||8 USB2.0 ports
ASUS POST Reporter
ASUS EZ Flash
Support S/PDIF out interface
ASUS CrashFree2 BIOS
ASUS Instant Music
ASUS Multi-language BIOS
-Memory, Vlink voltage adjustable
-SFS(Stepless Frequency Selection) from 200 MHz up to 300MHz at 1MHz increment
|Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1x Audio I/O
1x SPDIF OUT
|Internal I/O connectors
||-2x USB2.0 connector supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
-20-pin ATX power connector
-4-pin ATX 12V power connector
-CPU /chassis/Power Fan connectors
-CD/ AUX audio in
-IEEE 1394 connector
-GAME port connector
||-4Mb Flash EEPROM
-AMI BIOS with enhanced ACPI,DMI,PnP,Green
-ASUS EZ Flash, ASUS Mylogo2, ASUS Q-Fan, SM BIOS 2.3, Crash-Free BIOS2
||PCI 2.2, USB2.0
||WOL by PME, WOR by PME
-ASUS PC Probe
-Trend Micro PC-cillin 2002 anti-virus software
Like many other manufacturers, ASUS has that are guaranteed to work on the K8V Deluxe. We cannot stress enough that quality ram will make a big difference when you're trying to put together a fast and stable system. Remember that the memory controller is integrated into the Athlon 64, so memory support should be similar, if not the same across all manufacturer boards, regardless of platform.
Some nice box art decorates the K8V's packaging, as well as displaying useful information of all the motherboard features and support. Inside, the motherboard is packaged in a non-cushioned anti-static bag, with a thin foam insert at the bottom of the box to protect the board. Our Athlon 64 (A64) heatsink retention bracket was pre-installed though I've read reviews where it wasn't included at all. There are a couple SATA cables, a couple PATA cables, as well as a custom backpanel, SATA power splitter, and floppy cable. You'll also find a driver CD, DVD software, manual, motherboard map sticker, a keyboard "key", and extra jumpers. There are a couple brackets included as well, giving you four additional USB connections, and a FireWire connection.
The ASUS K8V Deluxe
For the most part, the K8V Deluxe is well laid out, though I am not terribly thrilled with the location of the CMOS jumper (located just below PCI#2). Though many PCI slots may go unused, given the onboard peripheral options, if you have some PCI cards installed, getting to that jumper will be quite a challenge.
The VIA K8T800 North Bridge is passively cooled by an aluminum heatsink, which isn't really the best choice, as through our experiences with the K8T800, the chipset can get quite warm. You'll also notice that the heatsink and CPU heatsink retention bracket are fairly close to one another. As it stands now, this won't cause any problems, but should you replace the North Bridge heatsink with something larger, you may have problems installing and removing the CPU heatsink. The capacitors shouldn't cause any problems, as ASUS followed AMD's guidelines, but the AUX12V connection isn't in our favorite spot. You'll have to do some cable routing to keep it out of the way of the CPU heatsink's fan.
There are three DIMM slots, and the K8T800 supports up to 3GB of PC3200 ram in Single Channel mode. Placement is good, as there is enough clearance between the ram and long AGP cards. Just beneath the ram slots is the ATX power connection, as well as two IDE ATA-133 connections.
Pictured above to the left is the VIA VT8237, and its two SATA 150 connections. The VIA South Bridge supports RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-0+1, and JBOD configurations. The VT8237 also supports 5.2 and 7.1 sound, as well as VIA Gigabit Ethernet, 10/100 Ethernet and up to eight USB 2.0 ports. The floppy is oriented along the edge of the motherboard, and just next to it are a couple more SATA connections, and a PATA connection handled by the Promise 20378 SATA controller.
The Promise controller supports RAID-0/1/0+1, and like the VIA VT8237, supports standalone SATA (up to two). It also supports up to two PATA drives with a single IDE connection. Unlike the VIA controller, the Promise can be disabled if it is not needed.
The VT6307 controller handles the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) chores for the motherboard. There are two connections handled by this controller. There is also an Analog Devices 1980 sound controller, which supports AC'97 and the SoundMAX Codec.
Networking chores are handled by the 3Com Marvell 940-MV00. It is a Gigabit LAN controller, and a PCI device, which means it'll share the bandwidth with other PCI based parts.
The back IO has your legacy PS/2 connections, one serial and one parallel. There are also four USB ports, one NIC, FireWire, S/PDIF output, and three audio ports. As mentioned, an additional FireWire and USB connections are included with a couple brackets.