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The remaining bits in the box consist of a quick setup guide, a manual, a WiFi@home manual, driver CDs, interVideo WinDVD Suite, a full set of IDE and floppy cables, two S-ATA cables and an S-ATA power cable. At least Asus doesn’t make you feel like half of the accessories have gone missing from the box, which is sometimes the case with other motherboards.
In terms of board layout there are no major issues, apart from the positioning of the power socket towards the front of the board which can cause problems in smaller cases. Asus gets an extra plus point for fitting a passive chipset cooler and keeping the holes around the CPU socket for oversized CPU coolers. The choice of colour is somewhat dull, but Asus seems to stick with its brown/yellow PCB colour across its entire range.
Asus is also one of few motherboard manufactures that uses AGP Pro slots on its motherboards, but sadly this is a standard that never took off outside the workstation graphics market and is thus pretty useless to most of us. Another feature that Asus seems to stick with is the voice error reporter, which can be really scary if you don’t expect your motherboard to speak to you. Personally I’d rather have some sort of LED system found on many other motherboards, but then I scare easily.
In terms of performance the A7N8X-E doesn’t disappoint as it’s one of the fastest Socket-A boards we have tested. Comparing the SYSmark 2002 score to the boards in the group test from a few months back it’s on a par with the fastest board there. The remaining benchmarks are just as conclusive, so it doesn’t matter if you’re going to use the A7N8X-E for everyday office applications or for gaming, it will give you the best performance available.
The Asus A7N8X-E is a good motherboard with a great set of features which usually indicates a correspondingly high price. However, this board will only set you back £84.60, which is very reasonable considering what it has to offer. Taking this into account it’s impossible not to recommend Asus and the A7N8X-E Wireless Edition.
Even if you don’t use half of the features that the A7N8X-E sports, it’s still a first class motherboard and if you want to save some money there is even a cheaper version available without the WiFi@home card. The A7N8X-E is truly the best Socket-A motherboard I have seen and I think you’ll have a hard time finding a better performer with more features for this kind of money.
The Asus A7N8X-E Wireless Edition is truly the cream of the crop of Socket-A motherboards and it won’t cost you a fortune either.
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