Asus A8N-E vs. Asus A8N-SLI Premium

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.

Thanks in advance for your advice! :D

Here's what my build is looking like so far:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice Processor $135

ASUS A8N-E motherboard $94
A8N-SLI Premium $155

In need of suggestions! Was going to go with the
connect3D 3041 Radeon X1800GTO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCIe x16 Video Card for $170 (after $60 rebate), but the rebate deal on NewEgg just ended. :(

OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 Dual Channel $150 (after $40 rebate)

Seagate 160GB 7200RPM SATA-300 OEM Hard Drive $50 (after $40 rebate)

Lite-On SHM-160P6S Dual Layer Internal 16x DVD±RW Drive $30 (after $20 rebate)

Antec SONATA II Case w/ 450W PSU $95
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  1. 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.

    Since the GPU you wanted is no longer on sale, how about spending $10 more and get the SAPPHIRE Radeon X1800XT (OEM)? For another $10 you can get the retail version of the SAPPHIRE Radeon X1800XT.

    Also, why rely on crappy onboard sound? The Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS has Firewire.
  2. Have you considered the Abit KN8 SLI?
    It has a passive chipset cooling solution, firewire & it's inexpensive.
    It's also a decent overclocker if you want it to.
  3. Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

    If I go with a SLI card but don't want to use two graphics cards, can I use the open PCIe x16 slot for a PCIe x1 card? It appears to be possible on the A8N-SLI Deluxe, but what about other SLI boards?

    Also, other than graphics cards, are there any other types of cards that utilize a PCIe x16 slot?

  4. 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. :D 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.

    Thanks for all the help, everyone!
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