Asus is once again ahead of the competition and is the first company out with a dual x16 SLI motherboard. The A8N32-SLI Deluxe is one of the first motherboards with two PCI Express graphics card slots that offer the full bandwidth of 16 lanes to each slot. Rather than releasing a new chipset altogether nVidia made a 16 lane PCI Express controller called the SPP 100.
This enables both graphics cards to get the full PCI Express bandwidth, although whether this results in higher performance with today’s hardware is debatable. According to nVidia the 512MB 7800 GTX cards are those that benefit the most from having the full x16 bandwidth in SLI mode. Sadly, I didn’t have two 512MB cards at hand when I tested the A8N32-SLI Deluxe so there was no way to verify this claim.
Another interesting point is that Asus has worked closely with Corsair when developing this board and as such both companies are recommending each others products. In this case it’s specifically the Corsair XMS3500LL Pro memory which has been designed to work in conjunction with the A8N32-SLI Deluxe. This memory has a latency of 2-3-2-6 and the modules are rated at 438MHz.
However, the standard is PC3200 or 400MHz memory, so it might seem odd to have only a slight clock increase. The reason for this is that the latest stepping of AMD processors have a new memory controller that allows for a new range of multipliers to be used. As such the XMS3500LL Pro modules can be run at the rated speed without any parts of the system having to be overclocked.
This only brings a slight performance increase, but if you’ve already decided to build a high-end system you’d want to squeeze every little bit of performance out of it. For most people this means overclocking and although this is something TrustedReviews isn’t generally into, the benefits are there for those that want to pursue them and the A8N32-SLI Deluxe is more than up to the job.
The reason why I mention this is because this is the first motherboard with eight phase power regulation I’ve come across. Gigabyte is offering six phase with the help of an external module, but in the case of the A8N32-SLI Deluxe this is all onboard. It is hard to prove how much this reduces ripple and other “dirty” elements in the power without having access to some fairly sophisticated equipment, but it’s definitely not a bad feature.