Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS

September 13, 2005 | 07:54

Tags: #4 #nforce #review #sli #winfast

Companies: #foxconn #nvidia

Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS The Board

Foxconn WinFast NF4K8AA-8EKRS Features:

  • Support for all AMD Althon 64 Socket 939 Processors with 2000MT/s HyperTransport Interlink;
  • NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI chipset;
  • Four PC3200 DDR DIMMs (2.5v, 184-pin, 4GB max);
  • Ten USB 2.0 ports;
  • Two IEEE Firewire ‘a’ (400MBit) ports;
  • Four SATA2 ports with 300MBit and NCQ support;
  • Two ATA133 IDE ports;
  • NVIDIA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD across Serial and Parallel ports;
  • Two SATA ports on Silicon Image 3132 RAID controller with support for RAID 0 and 1;
  • One Marvell PCI-Express x1 and one NVIDIA Gigabit Ethernet ports;
  • 8-channel audio from Realtek’s ALC850 audio chip with RCA digital and optical S/PDIF outputs;
  • Two PCI-Express x16, one PCI-Express x1, three legacy PCI expansion slots.
The orange PCB appears simple and misleadingly spacious when compared to other chameleon like boards available. The USB 2.0 and IEEE1394 Firewire pins are simply blue and orange respectively, although the black front panel pins that are rather frustratingly unmarked and are not colour co-ordinated.

As a general rule of thumb all the major components are easily accessible and well laid out towards the edges of the board. The 24-pin ATX power connector is backward compatible with older 20-pin models, so you’ll be able to use your existing power supply provided that it is powerful enough.

Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS The Board Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS The Board
The heatsink and fan on the chipset gets pretty hot during operation, but the whole machine remained completely stable throughout our testing. Whilst not silent, it is necessary to actively cool the MCP, however the heatsink is held in by a set of pushpins and uses a standard 3-pin power plug so is possible to swap it out if required. Looking at that piddly thing on the MCP, it shouldn't be too hard to find something nicer.

Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS The Board Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS The Board
The four DDR DIMM slots are clearly colour co-ordinated according to DDR channel, with the two yellow slots being channel one, and blue; channel two. If you are planning to use a CPU heatsink bigger than the standard width of the AMD Athlon 64 specification, you might run into problems with the set of capacitors that are on the opposite side of the socket to the memory slots.

The mini-PCB for selecting between normal (16x1) and SLI (8x2) mode of the PCI-Express x16 slots is pretty fiddly and very close to the lower PCI-Express x16 slot. You’re also more likely to loose a little PCB rather than a fully integrated digital switch however an average user is likely to change it only a couple of times in the boards lifetime and it’s very securely held in, so unless you have fat fingers or no nails it isn’t really an issue.
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