ABIT's AN8-SLI offers everything you expect in the form of ABIT's uGuru overclocking and system monitoring chip, ABIT Q-OTES with heatpipe technology, ABIT AudioMAX daughter card and ABIT CPU ThermalGuard technology. As the name depicts the AN8-SLI is based on NVIDIA’s nForce4 SLI chipset with two PCI-Express x16 slots (in either 16x1 or 8x8 configuration), SATA2 RAID, IEEE 1394a Firewire and Gigabit Ethernet.
ABIT also produce the recently released KN8-SLI for consumers who want to run NVIDIA's SLI on a budget, while the Fatal1ty AN8-SLI is a full-featured board for the hardcore gaming enthusiast. We find out how ABIT has landed their middle ground AN8-SLI between these two extremes, and how it stacks up against other SLI boards out there at the moment.
ABIT uGuru, OTES and CPU ThermalGuard technologies;
Supports all socket 939 AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 CPU with Cool 'n' Quiet;
Four DDR memory slots supporting up to 4GB of DDR400;
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP;
Physical Layer Gigabit Ethernet;
Two PCI-Express x16 slots (either 16x1 or 8x8), two PCI-Express x1 slots and two PCI expansion slots;
SATA II RAID, supports 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD;
IEEE 1394a Firewire supporting a maximum of two devices
7.1 Channel AudioMAX daughterboard with AC'97 audio provided by Realtek ALC850. Includes jack sensing and S/PDIF in/out;
Support for ten USB 2.0 ports (4 on back I/O panel and 6 onboard pin-outs);
Two IDE ATA133 connectors;
One floppy connector;
POST LED readout.
Four, grey SATA cables;
One, black ATA133 cable;
One, black, single ended floppy cable;
SLI bridge and retention bracket;
Rear I/O bracket;
PCI bracket for two extra USB ports and two extra IEEE 1394a Firewire ports (4 or 6 pin);
Installation manuals, driver CD and floppy disk.
ABIT include a good selection of additional extras in the box; you get a complete complement of SATA cables, an SLI bridge and retention bracket and floppy cable if you need one. However, there is only a single one IDE cable, when there are two connectors on the motherboard. There are only enough USB ports for six out of the ten supported, with four on the back I/O panel and two via PCI expansion bracket.
You do get the option of either 4 or 6 pin IEEE 1394a Firewire as both are supplied on the same PCI expansion bracket, but only one extra pin-out is supplied onboard. We would prefer it if ABIT focused more on providing a full complement of USB 2.0 ports, as USB 2.0 is generally more popular than Firewire.
Since this isn't a 3rd-eye edition ABIT motherboard, there isn't the ever useful desktop LCD readout. It's disappointing ABIT don't offer an SLI edition with 3rd-eye seeing as nForce4 SLI represents the most enthusiast-orientated chipset NVIDIA offer. You can, however, buy a standard nForce4 edition of the AN8 (not even the Ultra variant) with 3rd-eye if you so wish.