Socket 939 has provided AMD enthusiasts with a high-end platform without the concessions of Socket 940. Gone is the reliance on expensive and hard-to-find Registered DDR, and the new Socket 939 Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors have shuffled off this last connection to the Opteron architecture, and stepped out on their own. The key features of Socket 939 include supporting industry-standard DDR, a dual-channel DDR memory controller, and an upgrade to the Hyper Transport speeds.
The VIA K8T800 Pro is the natural evolution of the popular K8T800, and has been upgraded to match the Socket 939 specifications. The memory architecture supports the dual-channel DDR400 controller of the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX-based Socket 939 processors, and the upgrade to 1 GHz Hyper Transport speeds has also jacked up system and CPU bandwidth. There are also more esoteric improvements such as an improved chipset bridge and a valid AGP/PCI lock on the K8T800 Pro.
The ASUS A8V Deluxe uses the VIA K8T800 Pro chipset, and in terms of features and options, it is definitely positioned at the high-end of the AMD Socket 939 market. This board really has it all, and in addition to the standard chipset features like dual-channel DDR400, AGP 8X, SATA RAID, and USB 2.0, the A8V Deluxe really lives up to its name and piles on the hardware options. The A8V Deluxe supports both Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX-based processors using the Socket 939 package, and provides an excellent platform base for a high-end AMD64 system.
The A8V Deluxe features list is quite expansive and includes Serial ATA RAID functionality through both the VT8237 Southbridge and the onboard Promise controller, making a total of four SATA ports. The Promise 20378 also supports an extra PATA connector, and basic RAID capabilities. ASUS has also incorporated Realtek 8-channel audio, a Gigabit LAN controller, and Firewire/ IEEE 1394 ports into the A8V Deluxe, along with a sustained commitment to wireless networking. The "Wireless Edition" of the board includes WiFi-g (802.11g), which enables speeds of up to 54Mbps and is fully backwards compatible with 802.11b. This provides for seamless integration with an existing wireless network, or as the first step in a home or SOHO networking environment.
The A8V Deluxe also utilizes the AI Series of ASUS motherboard features: AI BIOS (CrashFree BIOS 2, auto BIOS load and recovery, Q-Fan, Post Reporter), AI Net (diagnoses and reports cable faults), AI Overclocking (jumperfree operation, full voltage selections, 1 MHz FSB, and CPU Parameter Recall), and AI Audio (automatically detects and identifies what types of peripherals are plugged in). In addition, the A8V Deluxe supports the AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology, and allows for automatic CPU voltage, frequency and HSF adjustments when enabled.
The ASUS A8V Deluxe retail box contains a nice selection of bundled hardware and software, and certainly deserves its "Deluxe" name. Along with the motherboard, the package includes one floppy cable, one ATA-33 cable, two ATA-66/100/133 cables (all four cables are black, ASUS-branded units), two SATA cables, one dual-prong SATA power adapter, one USB bracket, one Firewire bracket, one I/O Shield, a driver and utilities CD, a 117-page hardcopy user manual, a WinDVD Suite, and an ASUS case sticker. In the Wireless Edition, ASUS bundles an ASUS WiFi PCI card, an external antenna, a driver CD and aWiFi-g User Manual. This is another great retail bundle from ASUS, especially for the boards including wireless networking.