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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [12.06.04]
Manufactured by: GigaByte 
Test CPU (A64 3000+) supplied by

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Like most of their high end boards, Gigabyte didn't skimp out in the least on the K8NXP-9. First, let's take a look at the board itself:

And like most of their high end boards, they used an external module to handle the 6 phase power system, which would normally take up a lot of space on the board.

This should make for a very stable system, especially with the active cooling. We saw Gigabyte use a passive cooler on their 925x board, and I wish they would have done the same here. I guess space constraints didn't allow for it.

Every time I review a board from Gigabyte, I am impressed with how well laid-out they are. All of the connectors are placed along the edge of the board, including the THREE internal USB2.0 connectors, and both FireWire connectors. To compliment the awesome RAID capabilities of the NF4 SATAII controller, Gigabyte included an extra SATA adapter; the Silicon Image Sil3114. This one is not quite so robust - it only features basic SATA (with no support for NCQ), and basic RAID features. Still, this allows for a total of EIGHT SATA drives, which is pretty impressive.

I also like how Gigabyte uses color-coded front port connectors. It makes what is usually the most annoying part of installing a system a breeze, and is especially useful when turning the board on and off while it's sitting on a test bench (although I have to admit, I have grown to love the buttons DFI installs on their boards).

No longer bound by the constraints of the AGP port, Gigabyte decided to move the PCI-E X16 connection as far away from the CPU as possible. We don't even need to check if there is room to install RAM now! The seldom-used PCI-E X1 connectors sit above the video card, which will not be a problem at all.

Gigabyte's fantastic board layout continues to the top of the board, where the ATX connectors are placed along the edge of the board, where they present the least interference possible. I especially like the placement of the 2x2 header; it will be easy to route that cable below or behind the power supply, far out of the way. Since this is a PCI-E platform, the new 2x12 main ATX header is used. This header is backwards compatible with today's 2x10 PSU's, but I expect that to change eventually, as hardware evolves (and requires more power).

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