Gigabyte’s GA-K8NSNXP-939 motherboard

Manufacturer Gigabyte
Model GA-K8NSNXP-939
Price (street) $209
Availability Now

AS A DUAL OPTERON user running two monitors and a pair of hard drives in RAID 1, I’m a pretty firm believer that two is better than one. Maybe that’s why Gigabyte’s GA-K8NSNXP-939 Athlon 64 motherboard caught my eye. The GA-K8NSNXP-939 might only accommodate a single 939-pin Athlon 64 processor, but the board comes equipped with dual BIOS chips, a pair of Ethernet jacks, two Serial ATA RAID controllers, dual-channel memory, and even a six-phase “Dual Power System.”

Be still my beating heart.

And there’s more to the GA-K8NSNXP-939 than two of everything. The board also sports NVIDIA’s nForce3 Ultra chipset, a feature-rich BIOS, and a handy external Serial ATA adapter. What’s not to like? A couple of things, actually. Read on to see where the GA-K8NSNXP-939 shines and where it stumbles.

The specs
Before running the awkwardly-named GA-K8NSNXP-939 through the gauntlet, let’s quickly thumb through the board’s spec sheet.

CPU support Socket 939-based Athlon 64 processors
Form factor ATX
Chipset NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra
North bridge NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra
South bridge NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra
Interconnect NA
PCI slots 5 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1 AGP 4X/8X (1.5V only)
Memory 4 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 4GB of DDR266/333/400 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/133
2 channels Serial ATA 150 via nForce3 Ultra with RAID 0,1 support
2 channels Serial ATA 150 via Silicon Image Sil3512 with RAID 0,1 support
Audio 8-channel audio via nForce3 Ultra integrated audio and ALC850 codec
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard
1 PS/2 mouse
2 serial
1 parallel
USB 2.0 with headers for 4 more
Headers for 3 Firewire via Texas Instruments TSB82AA2
1 RJ45 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via Marvel 88E8001
1 RJ45 10/100 Fast Ethernet via nForce3 Ultra

1 analog front out
1 analog bass/center out
1 analog rear out
1 analog surround out
1 analog line in
1 analog mic in
2 digital S/PDIF output (TOS-Link and RCA)

BIOS Phoenix AwardBIOS
Bus speeds CPU: 200-455MHz in 1MHz increments
AGP: 66-100MHz in 1MHz increments
Bus dividers CPU:HT: 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 1:5
Voltages CPU: 0.8-1.7V in 0.025V increments
AGP: default + 0.1-0.3V in 0.1V increments
: default + 0.1-0.2V in 0.1V increments
HT: default + 0.1-0.3V in 0.1V increments
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

A couple of oddities jump off the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s spec sheet list off the bat. First, it doesn’t advertise any capability for ATA/133 RAID, despite the fact that the nForce3 Ultra chipset supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and JBOD arrays for ATA devices. The nForce3 Ultra even supports arrays that span both ATA and SATA drives, so I’m not sure why Gigabyte chose to leave this functionality off the board’s spec sheet. ATA RAID definitely works on the GA-K8NSNXP-939, though.

Another spec sheet curiosity pertains to the board’s dual Ethernet controllers, more specifically, the fact that the nForce3 Ultra Ethernet is only listed as 10/100 Fast Ethernet. The nForce3 Ultra has an integrated Gigabit Ethernet MAC, but Gigabyte is only implementing the on-chip Ethernet at a tenth of that speed.

Apart from those curiosities, which we’ll explore in more depth later in this review, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 looks pretty loaded.


Board layout
The GA-K8NSNXP-939’s aesthetic is anything but understated. With a bright blue board, near-fluorescent ports, slots, and headers, and enough bling to catch 50-Cent’s gaze, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 is about as garish as they come. If you want a flashy aesthetic, this board definitely delivers. For the rest of us, the pimpin’ look will be hidden away inside a case anyway.

As far as layout goes, Gigabyte has done a pretty good job populating the board with chips, ports, and slots. Power connectors are located on the edge of the board, near the top, which nicely cleans up cable routing around the CPU socket. The layout isn’t all roses, though.

For starters, there are a couple of Serial ATA connectors sandwiched between the processor socket and the AGP slot. There’s still enough room for stock Athlon 64 heat sinks, but it gets a little tight with a graphics card installed and a couple of Serial ATA cables plugged into the board. Having Serial ATA ports located so close to the AGP slot can also interfere with double-wide passive GPU coolers like Zalman’s ZM80.

In Gigabyte’s defense, the Serial ATA port placement is identical to NVIDIA’s nForce3 250Gb reference board, so NVIDIA’s reference design shares some of the blame. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Gigabyte to deviate from the reference design.

There’s another layout problem around the AGP slot, but thankfully, DIMM slot clearance isn’t it. Instead, it’s the proximity of the board’s nForce3 Ultra chip. The chip is so close to the AGP slot that Gigabyte is forced to use a low-profile cooler. This cooler has hardly any surface area, so it’s largely reliant on a tiny fan to keep the nForce3 Ultra cool. Unfortunately, the cooler’s fan guard is going to restrict air flow right off the bat.

I’m worried about fan noise, too. Although the chipset fan was nearly silent during testing, the tiny fans used in chipset coolers tend to develop an annoying whine over time. Normally, it would be easy to replace a noisy cooler with a larger passive heat sink, but the chipset’s close proximity to the AGP slot could make it difficult to find a replacement cooler that fits.

On a more positive note, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 DIMM slots are color-coded in dual-channel pairs. Under the DIMM slots, you’ll find the board’s ATA/133 and floppy ports, which are conveniently located near the edge of the board.

The location of the board’s third and fourth Serial ATA ports isn’t quite as convenient, though. Those ports are buried at the bottom of the board with the USB and Firewire headers.

As I mentioned earlier, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 employs a six-phase “Dual Power System” (DPS). Gigabyte is quick to point out DPS’s support for Intel’s latest Prescott Pentium 4 processors (on Gigabyte’s P4 boards), so DPS should have no problem delivering clean power to an Athlon 64. The DPS also incorporates a funky VRM heat sink, complete with a fan, to help keep the board’s power circuitry cool.

Around the back, the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s port cluster is loaded with goodies, including two Ethernet jacks, four USB ports, and a trio of audio jacks.

The board also comes with expansion brackets for two Firewire ports, an additional four USB ports (two not pictured), three more analog audio jacks, and RCA and TOS-Link digital S/PDIF audio outputs. The board also has on-board headers for a game port and an extra Firewire port, although Gigabyte doesn’t include brackets to take advantage of those headers.

And there’s more. The GA-K8NSNXP-939 also comes with a neat external Serial ATA adapter. This bracket extends two Serial ATA ports and one four-pin power connector to the rear of the case, allowing Serial ATA drives to be connected externally.

A smattering of chips
Although the nForce3 Ultra is a single-chip design, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 is also peppered with a wide assortment of auxiliary chips to power the board’s integrated peripherals.

The nForce3 Ultra is the brains behind this operation, though. With a 1GHz/16-bit HyperTransport processor link, AGP/PCI lock, and support for both Serial and “parallel” ATA RAID, the nForce3 Ultra chipset is packed to the gills with goodies. Sadly, though, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 doesn’t take advantage of a couple of the nForce3 Ultra’s more notable features.

First, Gigabyte has gone with a PCI-based Silicon Image Sil 3512 Serial ATA RAID controller to augment the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s SATA RAID capabilities instead of milking all four of the nForce3 Ultra’s Serial ATA ports. Tapping all four of the nForce3 Ultra’s SATA ports requires a couple of PHY chips, but users would be able to span RAID arrays across up to four Serial ATA drives. Given how well NVIDIA’s RAID implementation scales up to four drives, it’s really a shame that Gigabyte isn’t taking full advantage of the nForce3 Ultra’s SATA RAID potential.

Not that the Sil3512 is a horrible SATA RAID chip; it just can’t do four-drive arrays on the GA-K8NSNXP-939. The Sil3512 also sits on the PCI bus, so it has to share 133MB/sec of bandwidth with other PCI devices, including the board’s Firewire and Gigabit Ethernet chips.

That’s right, this board has PCI-bound Gigabit Ethernet. Half of the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s networking duties are handled by Marvell’s 88E8001 GigE chip. The other half are tackled by the nForce3 Ultra’s integrated Gigabit MAC, which would be great were it not for Gigabyte’s puzzling decision to pair the nForce3 Ultra’s Gigabit MAC with a 10/100 Fast Ethernet PHY. The move caps the nForce3 Ultra’s otherwise speedy integrated GigE controller at 100Mbps—an order of magnitude slower than it should be.

Handicapping the nForce3 Ultra’s integrated GigE controller is bizarre, but at least it doesn’t cripple NVIDIA’s firewall. You can read more about the firewall, which is bundled with NVIDIA’s ForceWare drivers, here.

Moving to audio, it’s NVIDIA’s turn to take a little heat. Because NVIDIA left the SoundStorm APU out of its nForce3 chipsets, a decision that drew the ire of many enthusiasts, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 is stuck without hardware-accelerated 3D audio solution. Realtek’s ALC850 codec handles digital-to-analog signal conversions, serving up eight channels of audio at resolutions up to 16 bits and sampling rates up to 48kHz.

Hardly anyone integrates Firewire capabilities into chipsets these days, so Gigabyte uses Texas Instruments’ TSB82AA2 Firewire controller to serve the board’s three Firewire ports. The TSB82AA2 joins the Silicon Image RAID controller and Marvell GigE chip on what amounts to a very crowded PCI bus.

Two chips that won’t crowd the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s PCI bus are the board’s dual BIOS chips.

DualBIOS keeps a handy backup BIOS waiting in the wings should the board’s primary BIOS fail to flash properly or otherwise become corrupted. If the primary BIOS fails a checksum on boot, the board will boot from the backup BIOS and you can fix things from there. Nifty, huh? Gigabyte also supplies software to allow users to easily flash the board’s BIOS from Windows, which will be handy for less savvy users.


What about the BIOS itself?

It’s actually pretty loaded, although you have to press Ctrl+F1 to unlock most of the tweaking options. Once you do that, you’ll be treated to an array of memory timings, a full set of AGP tweaking options, and even HyperTransport frequency dividers that should keep the HT bus in spec when overclocking.

The GA-K8NSNXP-939 supports CPU bus speeds up to a whopping 445MHz and locked AGP bus speeds between 66 and 100MHz, both in 1MHz increments. Multipliers in 0.5x increments are available, as are CPU voltages up to 1.7V in 0.025V increments. The CPU voltage options are a little disappointing considering the board’s swanky six-phase power circuit, though. A CPU voltage ceiling of 1.7V is only 0.2V above stock—hardly enough headroom for extreme overclocking.

For the paranoid like me, the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s BIOS serves up warning options that can be triggered by fan failures or CPU temperatures. The BIOS doesn’t go so far as to offer temperature- or fan failure-triggered shutdown conditions, but it’s halfway there with warning alarms.

To keep noise levels to a minimum, the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s BIOS also has a smart CPU fan that ramps up RPMs as CPU temperatures rise. The smart fan has four different fan speed settings, but the temperature triggers are hard-coded into the BIOS, so you can’t fiddle with them yourself.

Finally, the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s BIOS offers an ambiguously-named “Top Performance” option, which produces the following warning:

As far as I can tell, the Top Performance setting does little more than overclock the HyperTransport bus by 8MHz. That’ll be good for a small performance boost, but Gigabyte should indicate that the setting will run a system processor out of spec. After all, running a processor at faster than stock speeds will void its warranty.

For those who are timid about tweaking motherboard settings from the BIOS, NVIDIA offers a system utility application for Windows. The system utility works hand-in-hand with the board’s BIOS, so it’s up to mobo manufacturers to expose timing, tweaking, and overclocking options to the application.

With the GA-K8NSNXP-939, Gigabyte has exposed a handful of memory timing options and access to the board’s CPU and AGP bus. That’s a good start, but for more involved fiddling, it would be nice to have control over CPU multipliers and voltages.


Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz
Front-side bus HT 16-bit/1GHz downstream
HT 16-bit/1GHz upstream
Motherboard Abit AV8 Asus A8V Deluxe Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP-939
BIOS revision Version 12 1006 F3
North bridge VIA K8T800 Pro NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra
South bridge VIA VT8237
Chipset drivers Hyperion 4.53 ForceWare 4.27
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev 2 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
CAS latency 2
Cycle time 5
RAS to CAS delay 2
RAS precharge 2
Hard drives Western Digital Raptor WD360GD 37GB SATA
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X 40GB ATA/133
Audio VT8237/ALC658 VT8237/ALC850 nForce3 Ultra/ALC850
Graphics ATI Radeon 9600 XT
Graphics driver CATALYST 4.8
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

Today we’ll be looking at the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s performance against a couple of K8T800 Pro-based boards, Asus’ A8V Deluxe and Abit’s AV8.

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with memory for our testing. If you’re looking to tweak out your system to the max and maybe overclock it a little, OCZ’s RAM is definitely worth considering.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. Most of the 3D gaming tests used the Medium detail image quality settings, with the exception that the resolution was set to 640×480 in 32-bit color.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.


Memory performance

Although the boards are locked in a virtual tie in Sandra, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 falls behind in Cachemem’s memory bandwidth test. The board’s write bandwidth is particularly disappointing, especially since all three platforms are sharing the same on-chip Athlon 64 memory controller.


Office productivity

The GA-K8NSNXP-939 scores first and last in our Winstone tests, but its margin of victory in the Multimedia Content Creation test is more than double its margin of defeat in the Business test.


The GA-K8NSNXP-939 wins all but one of our gaming tests, but never by a significant margin.


Cinebench rendering

Scores remain tight in Cinebench.

Sphinx speech recognition

And in Sphinx.


Audio performance

The GA-K8NSNXP-939’s audio performance is nothing to write home about; it’s right up there with other software-accelerated solutions.

Audio quality
For RightMark’s audio quality tests, I used a Terratec DMX 6fire 24/96 for recording. Analog output ports were used on all systems. To keep things simple, I’ve translated RightMark’s word-based quality scale to numbers. Higher scores reflect better audio quality, and the scale tops out at 6, which corresponds to an “Excellent” rating in RightMark.

The GA-K8NSNXP-939’s performance in our audio quality tests is middle-of-the-pack, too.


Disk controller performance
ATA performance was tested with a Maxtor 740X-6L ATA/133 hard drive using HD Tach 3.01’s 8MB zone setting.

The GA-K8NSNXP-939 scores a bit of a breakout performance in our ATA write speed tests, where it outdistances the competition by more than 2MB/sec. The board also registers the lowest CPU utilization of the lot during PATA transfers.

Moving to Serial ATA, we tested performance with a Western Digital Raptor WD360GD SATA hard drive. Again, we used HD Tach 3.01’s 8MB zone test.

The GA-K8NSNXP-939’s performance with Serial ATA drives looks pretty good, too. Both the board’s SATA controllers perform well, especially in the write speed test where the nForce3 Ultra leads the pack again. The nForce3 Ultra SATA controller also has the lowest SATA CPU utilization of the lot.


USB performance
Our USB transfer speed tests were conducted with a USB 2.0/Firewire external hard drive enclosure connected to a 7200RPM Maxtor 740X-6L hard drive. We tested with HD Tach 3.01’s 8MB zone setting.

The GA-K8NSNXP-939 performs well in our USB tests, although it’s not the fastest board on the block when it comes to read speeds.

Firewire performance
Our Firewire transfer speed tests were conducted with the same external enclosure and hard drive as our USB transfer speed tests.

Firewire is a whole other story, though. The GA-K8NSNXP-939’s Firewire transfer speeds are embarrassingly low, suggesting that something is very wrong. Tests were conducted using Windows XP’s standard Firewire drivers on all boards, and since the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s driver CD doesn’t have anything for the board’s Firewire chip, I suspect this could be a hardware problem.

Ethernet performance
We evaluated Ethernet performance using the NTttcp tool from the Microsoft’s Windows DDK. The docs say this program “provides the customer with a multi-threaded, asynchronous performance benchmark for measuring achievable data transfer rate”.

We used the following command line options on the server machine:

ntttcps -m 4,0, -a

..and the same basic thing on each of our test systems acting as clients:

ntttcpr -m 4,0, -a

Our server was a Windows XP Pro system based on Chaintech’s Zenith 9CJS motherboard with a Pentium 4 2.4GHz (800MHz front-side bus, Hyper-Threading enabled) and CSA-attached Gigabit Ethernet. A crossover CAT6 cable was used to connect the server to each system.

Although the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s PCI-bound Marvell GigE controller performs reasonably well in our Ethernet throughput test, the nForce3 Ultra’s crippled GigE controller is embarrassingly slow. 10/100 Fast Ethernet doesn’t cut it, and that stings all the more considering the nForce3 Ultra’s untapped GigE potential.

Update 6/13/2005 — We recently discovered that the ntttcp CPU utilization results included in this review were incorrect. The CPU utilization results have been removed, but they didn’t factor prominently into our overall conclusion, so that remains unchanged. A full explanation can be found here.


For our overclocking tests, I swapped out my test system’s OCZ PC3200 2-2-2-5 memory in favor of some of the company’s PC4400 sticks, which are rated for 2.5-4-4-8 timings at 550MHz. These DIMMs nicely remove memory speed as a possible overclocking bottleneck. The PC4400 sticks carry higher latencies that could hinder performance at stock speeds, though. I’ve provided scores for the AV8 system running at stock speeds with 2-2-2-5 timings, 2.5-4-4-8 timings, and overclocked speeds with the 2.5-4-4-8 sticks.

In testing, I was able to get our GA-K8NSNXP-939 sample stable with a system bus speed of 245MHz. I used 9x CPU and 4x HyperTransport multipliers to isolate the motherboard rather than the CPU as the limiting variable. The board wasn’t stable in DOOM 3 or Sphinx with faster bus speeds, and in some cases, it wouldn’t even post.

As is always the case with overclocking, your mileage may vary.

Sphinx sees a big performance boost going from a system bus of 200MHz to 245MHz, at least when we look at the 2.5-4-4-8 scores. DOOM 3 appears to be indifferent to faster bus or memory speeds. Given the high frame rates and low graphics quality settings, I suspect DOOM 3 may be CPU limited in this case.

I’ve had boards like the Abit AV8 stable with bus speeds as high as 260MHz, so the GA-K8NSNXP-939 is by no means the best overclocking board I’ve had in the Benchmarking Sweatshop. Still, the board fared better than the Asus A8V Deluxe, whose initial release lacked a working AGP/PCI lock.


At first glance, the GA-K8NSNXP-939 looks like an attractive Socket 939 board. With a capable nForce3 Ultra chipset, mostly great performance, every integrated peripheral one could ask for, a well-equipped BIOS, and neat extras like DualBIOS and an external SATA adapter, there’s certainly a lot to like. However, there’s also a lot of untapped potential lurking just under the surface, potential that Gigabyte could have tapped to create a much better board.

For starters, Gigabyte’s use of a 10/100 Fast Ethernet PHY cripples the nForce3 Ultra’s integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller, reducing potential peak throughput by a factor of 10. That’s inexcusable, and PCI-bound GigE doesn’t do much to ease the pain.

A slightly less offensive instance of untapped potential is Gigabyte’s use of a PCI-bound Serial ATA controller instead of all four of the nForce3 Ultra’s Serial ATA RAID ports. Not only does the PCI-bound SATA controller have to compete with other devices for bandwidth, it also prevents users from creating RAID arrays that span four Serial ATA drives. Having two Serial ATA RAID controllers might look better on paper, but a full four-port nForce3 Ultra SATA RAID implementation would have offered superior functionality and potentially better performance.

And then there’s the board’s horrendous Firewire performance. While few may actually need or use the board’s Firewire port, I expect better from a product that sells for $209 online. That price tag is really the key. Were the GA-K8NSNXP-939 more affordable, I could excuse a poor performance here or there, or even some untapped potential. However, on a board that costs almost twice as much as the Abit AV8, the GA-K8NSNXP-939’s flaws are too glaring to ignore. 

Comments closed
    • rob128k
    • 14 years ago

    i want to use one of the nvidia SATA ports for just a storage drive, i have 2 drives in the other ports but bought another to use in the one of the spare ports, however , the drive wont show up in windows xp, tried it in other ports , all fine, please say i have to set up a raid to see this drive ! please shed some light on this for me .

    Thank you

    • Klyith
    • 16 years ago

    Well, at least this is good news for Nf3 on socket 939 as a whole. If the Gigabyte board, which looks pretty poor, still beats the via based boards.

    The Gigabyte 754 is so messed up. It ought to come with only 3 pci slots, there is so much extraneous crap intregrated on the board in PCI. This one is a bit better, but not much. What the hell are you thinking, adding a pci SATA controller that only provides two ports that the chipset could be doing anyway? Profoundly mentally retarded!

    • ripfire
    • 16 years ago

    Bet you can’t say “GA-K8NSNXP-939 ” 5 times fast!

    • Ruiner
    • 16 years ago

    The mosfet cooling solution looks pretty at least.

    • leor
    • 16 years ago

    I have this board and have absolutely no problems with it. It is very fast, the sound from my audigy zs is crystal clear, and I have a SCSI card on my PCI bus, that is not only running my OS from my 15k.3 drive, but also accesses my external RAID.

    I have a crossover gigabit connection to my secondary workstation (based on the A7n8x-e) and I transfer files at around 60 MB per second between the two machines, so i imagine the hard drives are the bottleneck there.

    The only thing I have not been able to do is get a great overclock from his machine, but i suspect that’s because i have all 4 dimm slots populated.

    • just brew it!
    • 16 years ago

    I’ll bet all the crap they’ve got piled on that poor overloaded PCI bus also makes it nearly impossible to get a 3rd party sound card to play cleanly (i.e. no stuttering), if you’re using the onboard peripherals. If the nForce3 had Soundstorm support, this could be overlooked… but under the circumstances, I’d say it’s a big concern (along with the other stuff mentioned in the article).

    • Ryu Connor
    • 16 years ago


      • RyanVM
      • 16 years ago

      Isn’t that the M.O. of motherboard manufacturers these days? Cut corners wherever possible to save a few pennies here and there. The absolutely craptastic audio implementations on pretty much every board out there is evidence of that.

      • Chryx
      • 16 years ago

      It’s frickin’ stupid to save money by crippling the FAST gigabit ethernet implementation that’s integrated into the chipset you’ve used anyway, and then to implement a seperate, pci bound gigabit chipset and giving that the fast PHY anyway.

      what’s with all the dual ethernet on boards anyway, does anyone actually use it? seriously, does anyone anywhere use a high end machine built around an expensive mainboard as a frickin’ router ?

        • leor
        • 16 years ago

        as i said below, i’m using the extra gige pors on my 2 boards for an ultra fast crossover connetcion

        it’s pretty cool.

          • Chryx
          • 16 years ago

          I have a gigabit switch ๐Ÿ™‚

        • just brew it!
        • 16 years ago

        Having dual LAN ports isn’t /[

          • RyanVM
          • 16 years ago

          How do you go segmenting the traffic like that?

            • just brew it!
            • 16 years ago

            2 different IP addresses, connected to 2 different physical network segments.

            • Chryx
            • 16 years ago

            okay, so that’s a couple of uses..

            but still, to cripple the better of the two ethernet chipsets on the board doesn’t make much in the way of sense.

    • RyanVM
    • 16 years ago

    So Diss, is the K8N Neo2 next on the docket?

    • Chryx
    • 16 years ago


    And there was me hoping for something comparable to my GA-7NNXP in l33tness factor.

    Nice work goofing it up gigabyte ๐Ÿ™

    I’m really quite dismayed at the selection of Socket 939 mainboards ATM, can we get an Nforce3 250GB Ultra board that ISN’T crippled by a cackhanded design decision please?

      • Thresher
      • 16 years ago

      I was thinking the same thing.

      They also screwed up their 754 board by pairing it with an Nforce3 250, non-Gb and pricing it at a premium.

      Not sure what Gigabyte is on lately, but they sure have been screwing up their AMD64 offerings.

        • Chryx
        • 16 years ago


        give me

        Nforce3 250gb Ultra
        4 dimm slots
        AGP 8x Pro
        (a gap under the AGP slot) for heatsink clearance
        3 PCI slots
        use the Nforce3 Gigabit Ethernet
        lots of SATA ports
        VIA Envy24 sound chip with digital output (?)
        Firewire 800/400 controller
        * intelligent fan management with dedicated control silicon *

        Something that that, at a not too silly price.. and I’m there.

          • RyanVM
          • 16 years ago

          The MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum is the closest you can get to that. And I somehow doubt you’ll see anything Envy24-based on an nForce motherboard, call it a hunch ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Kilroy1231
            • 16 years ago

            I believe Chaintech has an NForce3 board with some form of Envy24 based sound on-board. Alas, I don’t think it actually uses the NF3 250Gb

        • RyanVM
        • 16 years ago

        Their Socket A boards aren’t much better. I’ve got a GA-7N400Pro and it’s one of the biggest pieces of crap I’ve ever used.

          • Chryx
          • 16 years ago

          The machine I’m using right now has a GA-7NNXP in it, and I have no major complaints.

          it’s certainly preferable to the occasional possessed A7N8X-E-Deluxe I’ve encountered (the post reporter wouldn’t shut the hell up, it’d be going ‘CPU FAILED POWER ON SELF TEST’ over and over as it was sat in windows or whatever.. even if the post reporter was turned off in the bios.)

    • GodsMadClown
    • 16 years ago

    Bravo. Excellent work pointing out Gigabyte’s overpriced dud. It’s work like this that makes me fold for TR.

      • indeego
      • 16 years ago

      Better yet: donateg{

    • LicketySplit
    • 16 years ago

    Who are the 2nd and 3rd place guys?

    • Hizpanick
    • 16 years ago

    Lookin at the conclusion, it’s apparent Gigabyte’s not doin enough tappin’ hehe.

    • blitzy
    • 16 years ago

    nice review, i like how the negatives are also taken well into consideration

      • spuppy
      • 16 years ago

      That’s what makes TR one of the two or three good hardware sites around ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sativa
    • 16 years ago

    One page one: y[

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      Well, no. That would imply that the board is only capable of 10/100 and it has a PCI GigE chip. I’ve made a small change to make things more clear.

        • sativa
        • 16 years ago

        oh so Gigabyte says that the nForce3 Ultra, as a chipset, is only capable of 10/100. i understand now.

          • Dissonance
          • 16 years ago

          Well, the chipset, as they implement it on the board. They’ve effectively turned the nForce3 Ultra’s GigE controller into 10/100 by pairing it with a Fast Ethernet PHY.

    • sjankech
    • 16 years ago

    i’ve read that the drivers for 1394b (firewire 800) transform them into firewire 100 so you might want to check into that

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      That appears to be the case with SP2, although Microsoft doesn’t seem to offer any official comment on the matter. Gigabyte doesn’t offer drivers that get around the issue, either. Neither does TI, as far as I can tell.

        • adisor19
        • 16 years ago

        For Firewire 400 1394a, no drivers are necessary as the windows ones are OHCI compatible and should cause not problem whatsoever.

        The REAL problem with Firewire800 1394b is that it is NOT OHCI compliant and microsoft were pricks to not make another driver for it. An alternative to the forced 100 mode that SP2 imposes on Firewire 800 would be to use the 20$ drivers from Unibrain :

        ยง[<<]ยง which in my opinion are worth their money just for the diagnostic utilities included. They also support Firewire 400 just fine. Highly recommended. Adi

    • indeego
    • 16 years ago

    Same IP on transmit/receive test for ntttcps? Something looks awfully wrong there other than that, of courseg{<.<}g

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      What looks wrong? They used a 10/100 Fast Ethernet PHY, so the nForce3 GigE’s effectively capped.

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