Author Topic: The ASUS A8N5X 939socket motherboard.  (Read 1024 times)

Offline Carskick

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The ASUS A8N5X 939socket motherboard.
« on: Jul 02, 2006, 07:53 PM »
The ASUS A8N5X motherboard is a fantastic start to any low to mid range computer. It is standard ATX size and has many features to boot while being rock stable, well performing, and economical.

Layout 8.5/10

The layout of the board is mostly logical and well thought out, but I think some optimizations could be made without too much issue. The 24-pin power plug is in the front of the board near the top, keeping it out of the way of airflow mostly. If space was available, I think moving it up on the board and flipping it 90 degrees would keep this mess of cables as close to the PSU and out of the way as possible. The 4-pin connector is in a good spot, though the wire may go right past some PSU fans, though the small set of wires should not be of issue. The heatsink is not as easy to put on as on the Epox board I had before, but it's not terribly difficult. The locations of fan hookups is perfect, as is the IDE hookups, though they can be tough to get to in smallish casses, esspecially once Hard Drives are in place. The memory will be difficult to remove with large video cards in place. The chipset is in a great location for airflow, and SATA ports are very easy to get to. However, the front panel pins (power, reset, LEDs, speaker, etc) are difficult to put on, and hard to read. Color Coding could be a little better to.

Performance 9/10
The board allows for quick booting, and teamed with the NForce4 chipset, performance is very good. The nforce4 chipset and the nvidia network card keep CPU utalization low when using integrated network and sound solutions. While they still don't compete with high end external cards, intense sound processing or large network tranfers don't put big strains on the CPU. I was transfering several GB of info from one computer to another on a 100mbit network, and average 85% network utalization, CPU utalization remained below 20% while auto underclocked to 1.2Ghz. The built in sound solution has SPDIF and optical outputs as well, yet I have not tested them.

For those who attempt overclocking in any form, this board can probably do it while remaining stable. I have lowered memory timings without issue, and I have overclocked the HTT FSB from the stock 200Mhz to a little over 300Mhz, just to see if it would do it, and it did, though I did not do a full boot, as I did not want to damage any parts. The memory can be put on dividers to make the memory bus faster or slower than the CPU bus, and this is done by setting The DDRxxx speed. ie, standard Athlon64 memory is DDR400. Setting it to DDR333 as I have it makes the memory bus run at 166Mhz while the CPU FSB remains at 200Mhz. This means when you overclock the CPU FSB, the memory does not overclock as much, which is good if you do not have overclockable memory, or you do not want to chance it. My CPU FSB is set to 245Mhz, and my memory comes out to about 203Mhz on the DDR333 setting. Going the other way, if you have DDR500 memory, but do not want to overclock your CPU, you can set the memory on DDR500, and the CPU FSB will remain 200, while the memory bus will be 250. Voltages on the CPU, chipset, memory, and much more can be pushed up or down quite a bit, which allows flexablity, but can be dangerous.

The BIOS is very good, and easy to use, though some things can be a little difficult to find. There is a hardware monitor that monitors voltage, temps, fan speeds, etc., which works well in the BIOS, but the ASUS Windows version did not work at all for me. However, the board works great with speedfan.

Upgradability 9/10
The board gives the user many capabilities both for now and the future. The board has 3PCI slots, 1PCIe 16x slot, 2PCIe 1x slots, and a "universal" PCIe 4x slots. This means traditional PCI cards to future express card should be compatible. I have heard some rumors that Nforce4 boards have some issues with PCI cards, and that some ASUS Nforce4 boards were not giving some PCI cards enough power, but I have not seen any proof of either of these claims, though I have not tried a PCI card in my board. This may have also been more directed towards the first Nforce4 boards.

Also, the board has 4 SATA connectors, and is RAID capable using IDE or SATA, so this allows for future upgradability as well.

This board, however, does NOT have SLI capabilities, although buyers of this board should know that going in. I personally do not find it to be good for value builders, and for a motherboard in this pricerange, it should not be expected. It also does not have built in IEEE1394, but that could be added with a card.

Value 10/10
All though the board is not perfect or have ever feature imaginable, it gives you tons of features, capabilities, and options at a very low price point, allong with ASUS stability and quality. This is a great board for the midrange user, someone who wants features and capabilites without spending an arm and a leg or ending up with an unstable poorly made board. This is not the ultra value user, as it is not cheap enough to be, nor does it have integrated video solutions. However, for the price, it is a fantastic board!

Here is a link to newegg where I bought it. It ends up being about $80 shipped.


« Last Edit: Jul 03, 2006, 02:59 PM by Carskick »
Athlon64 X2 3800+ Machester@2.45Ghz, 4x1GB A-DATA PC3200@204(2.5-3-3-6), XFX 8800GT, ASUS A8N5X NF4, Antec 300 case, Antec EarthWatts 650w, 640GB 16MB and 200GB 8MB 7200RPM SATA WD HDDs, NEC3540, NEC3550, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate<br />Photos: