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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [08.23.04]
Manufacturers: Abit, Albatron, Asus

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Asus K8V Deluxe SE

This Taiwanese (but then again, who in the computer industry ISN'T from Taiwan?) company gave us one of the most popular motherboards for the previous generation of Athlon processors with the A7N8X-series and so I personally regularly associate the Asus name with reliablity but not much in terms of bells and whistles or pulsating ground effects & neon lights.

A little bit has changed.

Asus crams all the good stuff that we've come to expect like Gigabit LAN, eight USB 2.0 ports, two IEEE1394 firewire ports and 3 DIMM slots for a maximum of 3GB of PC3200 DDR. The only real interesting part of the motherboard is actually in the fact that you could possibly cram 10 hard drives and optical bays on it. In addition to the regular two ATA-133 and two SATA ports built into the motherboard's southbridge, the K8V Deluxe SE integrates a Promise controller which adds one more ATA-133 and two more SATA, allowing for RAID 0 and 1. Ever think of running three separate RAID 0 arrays? Well, you can do it with this board.

The onboard audio solution comes courtesy of the ADI AD1980 chip which supports six channels and does have SPDIF out. While not as advanced as the Envy24HT on the Albatron, it is totally good enough for everyday stuff.

Gigabit LAN is controlled by a Marvel 88E8001 controller which has a built-in CAT5 cable tester that will tell you if any cable up to 100 meters in length is faulty.

A quick look to the right side of the board and you'll notice that the floppy drive connector is sitting 90 degrees from the rest of the connectors. It would've been great if they did this with all of them since it would help in hiding cables. It's a minor gripe but if you're going to tease us by doing it to the floppy which no one really even uses anymore, then why not to the IDE?

Included in the package are all the PCI brackets you'll need for additional USB 2.0 and firewire ports, a set of very nice black ATA-133 ribbons, a SPDIF bracket and a couple red SATA ribbons.

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