One day while browsing the Asus Global website, I saw something which I thought was
odd; an AMD Athlon64 socket 754 nForce4 motherboard with support for PCI Express... the chipset was released a while ago but apparently socket 754/nForce4 motherboards have only just recently become available. The board in question was the ASUS K8N4-E Deluxe, making it a potentially attractive upgrade option. At the same time, it
also breathes new life into socket 754 systems.
PCStats will be looking at the new Asus K8N4-E Deluxe motherboard.
It's so new that it's not even up
on Asus's North American website. Based around the nForce4 chipset, this motherboard supports Socket
754 AMD Athlon64 or Sempron processors. It's memory slots will accommodate up to 3GB of single
channel DDR memory. Graphics come courtesy of a standard PCI Express
x16 slot, which is the key selling point as far as we're concerned.
Onboard goodies consist of an extra Serial ATA/RAID controller, a
7.1-channel audio codec, IEEE 1394a Firewire and Gigabit LAN. Despite
all the integrated features the K8N4-E Deluxe shouldn't break the bank at about $142
CDN ($115 US). Expansion needs are cared for with an unusual arrangement of
three PCIe x1 slots and three conventional PCI slots. A total
of eight SATA 1 devices are supported, as well as four IDE devices.
||Asus K8N4-E Deluxe
Motherboard manual, Driver CD,
Quick Setup Guide, WinDVD Software Suite, two Ultra/133 IDE
cables, Floppy cable, Ultra/33 IDE cable, Six Serial ATA
Cables, Three Molex to Two Serial ATA Power cables, I/O
Shield, USB/Game Bracket, USB Bracket, IEEE 1394
K8N4-E Deluxe is a full size ATX motherboard, in a tan brown coloured
PCB, with a nice assortment of audio options like optical and composite SPDIF-out.
layout of components and sockets on the K8N4-E Deluxe is good, so working
with this board is a pleasure. All the headers are labelled, and
enthusiasts will appreciate the five well placed fan headers too. Three of them are free at
any given time, while one is used with the CPU heatsink, and the other by the chipset
drive prices falling through the roof, even the
average computer user may have more than one HDD. Myself, I have four Serial ATA HDDs
and I definitely appreciate the additional Silicon Image Sil3114 Serial ATA controller
on the K8N4-E Deluxe. I'm a JBOD type of guy, but if you wanted to use
RAID the Sil3114 is capable of running RAID modes 0, 1 0+1 and 5.
where Asus is a cut above everyone else is its awesome users manuals.
Looking at the one that accompanies the K8N4-E Deluxe, I thought it would
be multi-language since it was so thick, but to my surprise the whole thing was in
English. Asus covers everything from installing memory modules to BIOS settings
and it even has a detailed description on how to setup RAID on both nVIDIA and
Silicon Image controllers!
Those of you with current Socket 754
Athlon64 systems will probably notice that the K8N4-E Deluxe has the new 24 pin ATX
2.0 connector on the PCB, but not to worry. The motherboard will still work
with older 20 pin ATX power supplies assuming they can deliver enough power for the
About the only thing I have to
complain about is the chipset fan/heatsink that came on this board. The fan
is (apparently) notorious for failing. In fact, during the testing the K8N4-E Deluxe the fan stopped
working more than once... twice.... thrice... etc, etc.! In my main rig at home
I use an A8N-SLI DLX and the chipset fan has completely seized up after only a
month. Search around the various computer forums and you'll no doubt get an earful about this