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Review: ASUS K8N-E Deluxe

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 3 November 2004, 00:00

Tags: ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), AMD (NYSE:AMD), VIA Technologies (TPE:2388)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qazt

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Introduction

ASUS never made a K8N back when Athlon 64 was introduced on Socket 754. K8 obviously denotes AMD's K8 CPU architecture, the definition behind the Opteron and Athlon 64 implementation. N would have denoted the use of NVIDIA's supporting chipset, which was nForce3 150 at the time. So while ASUS created the K8V (VIA chipset, Socket 754 for Athlon 64) and SK8V (VIA chipset, Socket 940 for Athlon FX and Opteron), along with an SK8N (Socket 940, nForce3 150), there was no K8N.

And that's probably a good thing, given what a stinker the SK8N turned out to be. NVIDIA's initial nForce3 offering was pretty underwhelming, stacked up against VIA's instantly-mature K8T800 chipset. When chipset refresh time rolled around for both companies, combined with a new socket introduction, everyone waited with baited breath to see which chipset the major board vendors would pair with the pair of consumer sockets.

nForce3 250 in its various guises turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, combining strong performance with great features. Initial testing bore out the introduction of a first-time PCI lock for the chipset, allowing overclockers to get their teeth into new boards based around it.

Also, given the strong following the ASUS SK8V and K8V had, and rightly so (I'm using the SK8V to type this, the board happily powering a VapoChill-cooled FX-53 at a speedy 3GHz), it's a shame to see them abandon Socket 754 and Socket 940 using VIA's K8T800 Pro chipset, instead creating a solitary Socket 939 offering called A8V. Updates to those boards would have been great.

That leaves owners of Socket 754 processors, looking to keep their investment in that socket type, wondering if ASUS would also pass them by with nForce3 250, allowing them a solid upgrade path for the time being.

So with ASUS dropping Socket 754 and Socket 940 with VIA chipsets, and their reluctance to bring nForce3 250 to Socket 940 either, it's a great sigh of relief to see them finally give birth to a K8N, pairing Socket 754 and nForce3 (in the 250Gb form no less), to give loyal ASUS Socket 754 followers a means to new features and a bit more performance.

ASUS might be quiet in the AMD64 world right now, but as long as the couple of boards they are committing to are decent, I don't think anyone will mind.

Tarinder looked at the A8V. It's my turn with the other one. Enter the K8N-E Deluxe.