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

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You get the usual AGP slot as well as five PCI. Below the fifth, you'll notice a small black connector that doesn't appear on most other boards labelled Wi-Fi. Before you get all excited, the Wi-Fi option does not come standard on the K8V Deluxe SE, meaning you have to pay extra for it.  What's worse is that Asus' proprietary card is a lowly 802.11b. A g card at a good price and I might have been interested but since you lose the fifth PCI slot using this card anyways, why not just get a regular PCI 802.11g card? If it came with it in the box, I doubt I would complain.

In terms of board design, the K8V is a mixed bag. The kind that gives you caviar and then garnishes it with lard. There's a row of capacitors along the left side of the CPU socket which may post some problems for larger cooling solutions. The large ATX power connector is BETWEEN the RAM slots and the IDE connectors. Not a massive problem but there are more convenient places to put it. The smaller 2x2 power connector is located near the top of the board.

The good news is that the RAM slots are a good inch or so above the AGP slot, giving you ample clearance to play around with different sticks of RAM without having to remove your AGP card beforehand. Also, all the case connections for the power and reset buttons, LEDs and whatnot are color coded and almost idiot-proof, depending on exaclty how much of an idiot you may happen to be.

The K8V comes equipped with AMI BIOS which gives you just about the EXACT same settings as the Albatron board we left moments ago. The only real difference is that instead of selecting CPU timings, you select a clock speed. You can still up the FSB from 200 to 300MHz in 1MHz increments.

Asus also has a few features that cater to those of us who just HAVE to customize every aspect of our rigs. You can use your own logo when the system starts up and instead of hearing miscellaneous beeps when something is wrong, you can configure it to play your own personalized pre-recorded messages. Cool but I'm guessing just about all of us won't bother.  You can also play music CDs using the BIOS but why would you want to? It requires a PS/2 keyboard and a seperate PCI soundcard to function as well.

Did I mention the PCB is black? And we all know black is badass and the K8V does look pretty badass even though it appears brownish in certain lighting because of all the traces. Badass.

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