The Game Pros: SLI Motherboards For Athlon 64

Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe

Board-Revision: 1.02

BIOS-Version: 1006

The A8N-SLI can be considered the classic Athlon 64 SLI motherboard, since it was one of the first models available. There's also now a premium version of this board in stores, which uses the BIOS to switch the x16 PCIe slots to two x8 connections rather than a plug-in hardware module.

Among the strengths of the Asus board are unproblematic handling, combined with a large number of up-to-date features and possibilities; the A8N-SLI Deluxe also follows suit. The included equipment includes two Gigabit network controllers, with one based on the NVIDIA chipset with integrated hardware firewall. In addition to the four SATA connections of the nForce4, Asus is also planning a Silicon Image Sil3114, which makes available four additional SATA 2.0 ports sporting a bandwidth of 300 MB/s and Native Command Queuing. Also on board are Firewire, digital outlets for the sound system, a sufficient number of useful USB 2.0 ports, and three connections for additional cooling fans.

Speaking of fans, the North Bridge ventilator still works a bit too much - another solution would be better here. Three PCI slots accommodate expansion cards, and there are two x1 PCI Express slots. The component package is also hard to criticize, since in addition to innumerable cables there are slot modules for USB, Firewire, COM and game ports.