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Case, Power Supply, Fan Reviews
  Product:     Albatron K8SLI Motherboard  
  Price:     $128 (CAN) / $110 (U.S)
  Supplied By:     Albatron
  Author:     Hi-TEK
  Date:     December 7th, 2005
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Tomasz from DFI for providing the K8SLI Motherboard for review.

Albatron

Introduction:

NVIDIA's SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology signaled a change in the way we approach the current PC gaming platform. By pairing two identical video cards via an SLI bridge; gamers experienced increased bandwidth of the PCI Express bus architecture using new a multi GPU solution. While SLI has been widely accepted, one of the drawbacks associated with implementing the technology is high cost factor. Albatron Technology based out of Taipei, Taiwan is a manufacturer and distributor of high technology products such as leading edge motherboards, monitors and video cards. The company is a key channel partner for NVIDIA developing both motherboard and video card product lines based on the NVIDIA's reference designs. Today in the MTB Labs, we will be evaluating the new Albatron K8SLI, an affordable SLI solution designed for the AMD platform.

Specifications:

The Albatron K8SLI is based upon the NVIDIA nForce4 chipset designed to accommodate an AMD Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 / Sempron Socket 939 processor at 2000MT/s HyperTransport interface FSB. The Albatron K8SLI delivers a solid gaming platform with features such as Dual Channel DDR 400, Gigabit LAN, 5.1 Sound, USB 2.0, SATA Raid, ABS (Albatron BIOS Security), and Watch Dog Timer. Here are some specifications taken directly from the Albatron website:

Albatron K8SLI Motherboard - Key Specifications
CPU AMD Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 / Sempron
Socket 939
Chipset NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
Supports NVIDIA SLI (Scalable Link Interface)
FSB 2000MT/s HyperTransport interface
Memory Four 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets
Supports dual channel (128-bit wide) memory interface
Supports up to 4GB system memory
Supports DDR266, DDR333 and DDR400 DDR SDRAM DIMM
SLI / Single VGA Mode SLI mode
- 2 SLI-ready graphics cards (use identical cards) on the PCI Express x16 slots
- The graphics cards are connected via the SLI bridge
- The bandwidth of each slot is x8; when the graphics cards are connected via the SLI bridge, it runs at x16 bandwidth
Single VGA mode
- 1 PCI Express graphics card on the PCIE1 slot will run at x16 bandwidth
- The other PCI Express x16 slot (PCIE4) will run at x2 bandwidth
BIOS Phoenix Award BIOS
4Mb Flash EEPROM
Award BIOS with ACPI, DMI2.0, PnP, WfM2.0, Green Suspend to RAM (S3), Suspend to Disk (S4) Wake on keyboard/mouse, Wake on LAN/RTC Timer
Power Management Supports ACPI STR (Suspend to RAM) function
Wake-On-Events include:
- Wake-On-PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse
- Wake-On-USB Keyboard/Mouse
- Wake-On-LAN
- RTC timer to power-on the system
AC power failure recovery
Hardware Monitor Monitors CPU/system/chipset temperature
Monitors 12V/5V/3.3V/Vcore/Vbat/5Vsb/Vchipset/Vdram voltages
Monitors the speed of the CPU fan, Fan 2 and chipset fan
CPU Overheat Protection function monitors CPU temperature during system boot-up
Audio High performance CODEC with high S/N ratio (>90 dB)
Compliant with AC'97 2.3 specification
Integrated S/PDIF transmitter
6-channel playback capacity (5.1 Channel Audio Effect)
3D Stereo Enhancement
LAN 10/100/100 Mbps Ethernet Support (Vitesse CIS8201)
IDE Two IDE connectors that allows connecting up to four UltraDMA 133Mbps hard drives
Serial ATA with RAID Four Serial ATA ports
SATA speed up to 3GB/s
RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and JBOD
Rear I/O Ports 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
2 x Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP)
2 x S/PDIF RCA jacks (S/PDIF-in and S/PDIF-out)
1 x RJ45 LAN ports
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
I/O Connectors 2 x connectors for 4 additional external USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x connector for 1 external serial port
1 x front audio connector for external line-out and mic-in jacks
1 x CD-in internal audio connector
1 x S/PDIF connector for optical cable connection
1 x IR connector
4 x Serial ATA connectors
2 x IDE connectors
1 x floppy connector
1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
2 x 4-pin 5V/12V power connectors (FDD-type and HDD type)
1 x front panel connector
2 x fan connectors
Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slots
2 x PCI Express x1 slot
2 x PCI slots
PCB ATX form factor
(293mm x 198mm)
 
NVIDIA nForce4 Chipset Overview at a Glance:
NVIDIA's nForce4 chipset based platform integrates a DDR memory controller along with 8 PCI Express lanes for single x16 or SLI dual graphics (2 x16 at x8 mode) The remaining three are at x1 for PCI-e ports. The nForce4 MCP has 7.1 sound but not SoundStorm, 8 USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet including a integrated hardware firewall called ActiveArmor. There are a two 32-bit PCI slots while the storage side has two Ultra-ATA 133 channels and four SATA ports with full support for native command queuing and 3GB/s operation.

Albatron K8SLI Motherboard
Click image for larger view
Albatron K8SLI Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 

The K8SLI Motherboard ships in an oversized retail box with military style camouflage colours all over the packaging. Albaton logos are clearly marked on all sides of the package. The rear portion of the package includes an extensive list of product specifications and highlights.

Albatron K8SLI Motherboard
Click image for larger view
Albatron K8SLI Motherboard
Click image for larger view
 
The Albatron K8SLI Motherboard comes bundled with an assortment of accessories which include the following:
  • Albatron K8SLI Motherboard
  • Users Manual
  • DIY Installation Guide
  • 1 x Serial ATA data cable
  • 1 x Serial ATA power cable
  • 2 x Round IDE cables
  • 1 x Round FDD cable
  • 1 x SLI Bridge
  • ATX I/O Shield
  • Mainboard Utility CD
The documentation included with the Albatron K8SLI Motherboard consists of two individual instruction manuals. A DIY installation guide provides an illustrated 14-step process which covers CPU installation, CPU fan installation, DIMM module installation, PSU installation, IDE/Floppy installation, connections for ATX PSU, BIOS setup and troubleshooting. The userís manual is quite extensive covers in more detailed information on what I mentioned above. Translation has been provided in four different languages with the English portion covering 53 pages in total.

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