I'm debating between the A8N-E and the A8N-SLI Premium for my first build, and would like everyone's input on these two boards.
I like the A8N-E because it's relatively cheap and has just about everything I absolutely need, such as one PCIe x16 slot, SATA support, enough PCI and PCIe x1 slots for future upgrades, and RAID 0/1 support.
However, the A8N-SLI Premium is attractive because it has a built in firewire port (I'd have to buy a PCIe x1 firewire card for the A8N-E). The A8N-SLI Premium also has RAID 5 capability, which I might take advantage of in the future. The second PCIe x16 slot for SLI isn't too big a deal to me, as I hear the performance gains just aren't worth it. Can I use the second x16 slot for something other than a graphics card? Another question I have is what is the purpose of a dual LAN connection, and how would I utilize it and set it up?
Maybe I've just answered my own question between these 2 mobos, but I'd still like to hear your opinions on these boards. Maybe you guys can address some issues I'm not aware of, such as stability, inherent problems with each board, intuitiveness of the BIOS, power consumption, overclocking capabilities, etc. I've never been into OCing, but I might if my rig is capable and the benefits are worth the effort.
Before I decided to postpone my new rig for Conroe, I too was looking at the A8N-SLI Premium as well because of the passive cooling solution. Since you will not be using a SLI setup I recommend the A8N-E instead. Some people have said the fan died within a year. But that's okay because I recommend replacing the noisy fan anyway. Replace it with the ZALMAN ZM-NB47J and enjoy a quieter PC.
I've decided to go with the EPoX EP-9NPA+Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard. It's relatively cheap, doesn't have SLI (unneeded in my case), overclocks well, has firewire, has RAID support, and it has more PCI and PCIe x1 slots than I'll know what to do with. It's not passively cooled, but oh well. If one of those Zalman northbridge heatsinks won't interfere with my graphics card, then I can get rid of the northbridge fan.