Benchmark Summary & Conclusion
The quick take-away from the performance metrics we've laid out with the ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe is that in standard business, desktop publishing, content creation, and multimedia applications, this motherboard has all the horsepower of other motherboards based on NVIDIA's original single-chip nForce4 SLI implementation. However, the real sweet spot, as we expected, appears when running the board in high-end gaming applications in multi-GPU SLI configurations, and more specifically SLI-AA modes, where the board outpaced the standard ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe by as much as 5 - 15%. The benefits of dual X16 PCI Express graphics slots are not fully realized, however, until requirements for PEG link bandwidth are increased, as is the case with the data-sharing requirements of NVIDIA SLI-AA.
What can be said about the ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe that hasn't already been proven out under our large battery of test conditions? Frankly, there are a few caveats with this new ASUS motherboard, but beyond that, the numbers speak for themselves. First, those considering this motherboard should be very aware of its current mechanical limitations, should you want to run a pair of graphics cards in SLI mode. And again, we're not sure why you would opt for this motherboard if this wasn't at least a consideration for you in the future. So with that in mind, just make sure you only need two extra PCI slots (preferably one if you want things thermally comfortable inside your chassis) before taking the plunge on the A8N32 SLI Deluxe.
Mechanical challenges aside, our performance testing with the ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe started as a somewhat understated but precision-tuned melody and ended on a triumphant crescendo. Our thought process in this product assessment began with a ho-hum sort of feel, but we finished off whole-heartedly impressed.
In fact, if you're considering going the way of an SLI rig, we see no reason why not to spend a bit more on a full-up nForce4 SLI X16 solution, and the ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe, with an MSRP of around $195 USD, is a very good option to consider.
We'd just caution on the use of single-slot graphics cards and remind you to think about chassis real estate management first. However, for delivering in all our performance test scenarios and then taking the lead in certain NVIDIA SLI-AA driven modes, we're giving the ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe a 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.
._General performance on par w/ legacy NF4 SLI
._Silent heat-pipe chipset cooling solution
._8-phase power array
._Faster SLI-AA performance in certain situations
. Potentially more future-proof
._Mechanically challenged PCI slots w/ SLI setup
._More expensive for now over standard NF4 SLI boards
._Significantly more expensive than the A8N SLI and other X8 nForce 4 SLI series boards