Our Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: The Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLI and NI8 SLI motherboards both performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. Due to the fact that each board is designed for a different platform, the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI for AMD processors and the NI8 SLI for Intel processors, each one excelled in different areas, however. Video encoding, synthetic benchmarks, and 3D rendering applications ran best on the NI8 SLI / Intel P4 670J combo, while the gaming tests, content creation applications, and audio encoding tests ran best on the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI / AMD A64 4000+ combo.
Fatal1ty AN8 SLI: We really liked the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLI. This is a very streamlined motherboard with just the right feature set for hardcore gamers or overclockers. All of the features of NVIDIA's nForce 4 SLI chipset are put to use, like Gigabit Ethernet and SATA RAID, and Abit uses one of the better AC'97 audio codecs on the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI, namely Realtek's ALC850. The actively cooled Northbridge and power array are also excellent additions, and make this board a very good candidate for those of you that are into liquid-cooling your processors. At about $195+ on up, the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI is one of the more expensive AMD-based SLI motherboards on the market, but the board's top-notch performance, great overclockability, and jam-packed accessory bundle justify the somewhat higher price tag in our opinion. After using this motherboard for quite some time, with a variety of processors and video cards, we can also say with conviction that the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI is rock-solid stable. When used in conjunction with the right assortment of other hardware, the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI would make an excellent foundation to a high-end rig. We're giving the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLI a solid 8.5 on the Heat Meter.
|•_Actively Cooled VRM & Northbridge
•_Very Good Accessory Bundle
|•_Above Average Price|
NI8 SLI: The Abit NI8 SLI doesn't have the "flash" or refinement of the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI, but its unique features make it a motherboard also worthy of your consideration. The NI8 SLI remained stable throughout all of our testing, and its performance is right up there with other motherboards in its class. We took issue with some aspects of this motherboard's layout, like the placement of the floppy and additional power connectors, and its bundle was a little light, but those issues aren't deal-breakers by any means. The silent "Q-OTES" Northbridge cooler appealed to us, as did the heatsinks in the VRM and on the Southbridge. The NI8 SLI also has a top-notch BIOS, its feature set is very complete, and perhaps best of all, the board is priced well at about $150. Intel fans looking to move to an SLI capable motherboard should certainly take a look at the Abit NI8 SLI. We're giving this board a 7.5 on the Heat Meter.
|•_Some Layout Issues