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The rear I/O consists of two PS/2 ports, a parallel port, coaxial and optical S/PDIF out and the SATA II connector, though without a power connector. There are six 3.5mm audio jacks but sadly Asus has yet to integrate a high quality audio chip as the nForce 4 chipset only supports AC97 sound - four USB 2.0 ports and two Ethernet connectors. Both of the network chips onboard operate at Gigabit speeds, one being part of the nVidia chipset and the other being a PCI Express part from Marvell.
Extra brackets are also supplied for a serial port, two FireWire ports – one four and one six pin – and one with two USB 2.0 ports and a game port. A further two USB headers are available for case mounted USB ports. Asus also offer a wireless version of the A8N32-SLI Deluxe where the USB header towards the rear of the board is replaced by a small wireless card. This works via the USB bus and as such you lose one USB header. As the board is passively cooled there are four free fan headers once you’ve connected the CPU cooler.
The remaining accessories in the box consists of two IDE cables, a floppy cable, five SATA data cables and three SATA power adaptors – of which two offer connectors for two devices. Let’s not forget the all important SLI bridge connector which in this case is made of a soft flexible material, rather than the hard PCB ones we’ve seen in the past. Asus also provides a copy of WinDVD Suite from InterVideo as part of the package.
So far so good, but the A8N32-SLI isn’t perfect as our tests showed that it’s was not much faster than its little brother, the A8N-SLI Premium. However, this is an early board with an early BIOS. Asus supplied a couple of BIOS upgrades but neither seemed to make any real difference. My main gripe here is that no matter what BIOS settings I used the memory wouldn’t run faster than 200MHz – or 400MHz DDR – which means that you wouldn’t get the most out of the Corsair modules. Also, if you own an FX processor the current BIOS version won’t allow you to change the CPU multiplier, even though these processors are unlocked.
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