Avant-Garde: Four boards for AMD's Athlon 64 FX

Asus SK8V

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Board Revision: 1.00

BIOS Version: Beta

The SK8V came to us as a pilot series model and will carry a higher version number in retail stores. Among the changes is a wide range of possible CPU voltages and the option of changing the multiplier.

Unlike the SK8N the SK8V uses the VIA chipset, which we observed to have somewhat better performance. However, the Asus board with the K8T800 chipset is still slightly behind the MSI K8T Master. This might change with the version shipped, but surely huge advances can no longer be expected.

What really stands out about this board is the virtually unlimited functional scope - Asus has integrated practically every feature and component possible. Starting with controllers for UltraATA/133 and Serial ATA, a RAID chip from Promise, Gigabit Ethernet controller from 3COM/Marvel, two FireWire 400 ports, and a sound system, all the way to a wireless LAN option (in the Deluxe version) they thought of everything.

Even the package contents are generous: all cables and adapters are included, from SATA and IDE cables to slot modules for the FireWire and USB ports.

Gigabit Ethernet from 3COM and FireWire 400 from VIA.

Color-coded ports make it easy to recognize each connector.