AMD64 platforms offer high-end performance in both the 32-bit and 64-bit areas, with the Athlon 64 providing a mainstream alternative to the enthusiast-level Athlon 64 FX-51, and allowing a more economical option for interested buyers. The platform selection is the real question, and for Socket 754 Athlon 64-based systems, the VIA K8T800 has emerged as the overall performance champ. These high-end K8T800 motherboards offer an incredible combination of top performance and very attractive prices, and this area has experienced significant growth over the past few months. Today we're taking a look at one of the most popular K8T800 motherboards, the ASUS K8V Deluxe, and putting it through the standard usage, design and performance tests.
The ASUS K8V Deluxe is the high-end option in the ASUS Socket 754 line, and goes well beyond the basic package of entry-level models. There are the standard VIA K8T800 features such as AGP 8X, DDR400 and a full 800 MHz bi-directional HyperTransport link. ASUS has also added in onboard features like Gigabit LAN, 5.1 audio, Firewire, Parallel and Serial ATA (2x VIA, 2X Promise) options. The K8V Deluxe also features Serial ATA RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 support, and there is a third Parallel IDE channel through the Promise controller. The K8V Deluxe also includes a wide array of overclocking options, including FSB tweaking, and core, AGP and DDR voltage selections.
The K8V Deluxe also includes the AI Series of ASUS motherboard features: AI BIOS (auto BIOS load and recovery, Q-Fan, Post Reporter) AI Net (diagnoses and reports cable faults), and a CPU Parameter Recall (auto-reset post-OC hang) feature, though it does leave out AI Overclocking. The K8V Deluxe fully supports the AMD Cool 'n' Quiet feature, which allows for automatic CPU frequency and HSF cooling adjustments. ASUS has also joined some other manufacturers in offering an Instant Music option, which provides audio playback without needing to load the Windows operating system.
The ASUS "Deluxe" brand name carries with it an expectation of a high-quality retail bundle, and the ASUS K8V Deluxe matched these expectations, along with including a few extras like ASUS-branded black PATA and floppy cables. Along with the motherboard, the retail box includes one black floppy cable, one black ATA-33 cable, two black ATA-66/100/133 cables, two SATA cables, one dual-prong Serial ATA power connector, an I/O Shield, a Firewire bracket, an S/PDIF audio bracket, a USB bracket, a driver and utilities CD, an InterVideo WinDVD suite CD, and a 117-page hardcopy user manual. In terms of bonus extras, ASUS also slaps in an Instant Music keyboard label, an ASUS case sticker, and even a bag of jumper caps. There is also a special Wireless Edition that includes a proprietary Wi-Fi adapter, which sells for around $20 separately.