The K8NNXP features a
good-sized heatsink on the nForce3 150 chipset. The heatsink seemed adequate to
keep the single chipset running within acceptable temperatures during operation.
After all, unlike other solutions for the AMD
Athlon64 , the nForce 3 is a single chipset with north and south
bridges combined, so maintaining good operational temperatures is important.
The thermal pad that interfaces
the NF3 heatsink with the chip made little contact with the typically uneven surface
of the BGA chip. In our experience a good quality, low creep white silicon thermal paste
is the best solution as long as the blend is prone to drying out. Silver-based thermal compounds are neither recommended
nor necessary for an application such as this.
I'm sure you all know that I like to see the IDE/Floppy drive connectors and
the main ATX power connector located to the right of the DIMM memory slots. This layout
means it is less likely for large cables to cause problems with airflow or get
in the way of the other system devices.
To make things easy for the end user, the K8NNXP has all
its extra device headers and other ports (IEEE 1394, Serial ATA, USB 2.0, etc)
located along the very bottom edge of the PCB. Always
helps to keep the random wires in one place. The K8NNXP is a full
size ATX motherboard, so it is best installed in a mid-tower, or full tower
case where there is plenty of extra room.
The layout of all the different components on the board
is pretty good, with a few distinct differences that are specific to K8
motherboards, and Gigabyte specifically. Little annoyances like having to remove
the videocard to add memory are not a problem here, nor are there any
obvious issues with long PCI peripherals interfering with board mounted cables or components.
||The K8NNXP comes with a power supply daughter card, and a Serial ATA PCI bracket for use with external SATA devices. Power, and two SATA jacks are provided.
Gigabyte has long been a pioneer in customer care and
the K8NNXP is one of the easiest motherboards to use. Every port and connector
is labelled (and colour co-ordinated), and if you're confused about something
during installation you can simply refer to Gigabyte's awesome users manual. The icing on the cake is easily Gigabyte's inclusion of Norton
Internet Security 2003 software with the motherboard. As long as that software suite
is updated, you shouldn't have to worry about virus's and worms, or
other people attacking your system.