The Board & BIOS
Before installing the Asus A8V Deluxe into our test system, we gave it a thorough physical inspection to assess its build quality and to see what we liked (or disliked) about the board's layout in general...
At first glance, the A8V Deluxe didn't strike us as being a particularly "flashy" motherboard. Asus did not build the A8V Deluxe upon a brightly colored PCB, and all of its connectors are either blue or black. The single AGP slot and five PCI slots are also "standard" colors (brown and white). The Northbridge is adorned with a basic, blue aluminum heatsink with "Asus" branded in the center. The Socket 939 is equipped with the standard plastic heatsink mount, but looking at the underside of the board revealed a metal reinforcement that should eliminate any motherboard flex when mounting a heatsink with a particularly stiff clip mechanism. The I/O connectors on the rear of the board consist of a single parallel and a single serial port, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, an RJ45 LAN jack (powered by 3COM's Marvell Gigabit controller), 4 USB ports, a single firewire connector and 6 audio related jacks, including digital coax and S/PDIF outputs.
The DIMM slots are located far enough away from the path of the AGP slot to make replacing memory possible without having to remove the video card, and the ATX and 12v power connector placement is also good. There are four SATA connectors, two powered by the VIA 8237 Southbridge and two powered by the on-board Promise controller, both capable of RAID 0, 1 and JBOD. There are also three PATA connectors, and a singe floppy connector. Just about all of the connectors are located in good positions, except for the floppy connector which is mounted flush along the front edge of the board. Granted, floppy drives aren't the necessity they once were, but we would have liked to have seen the floppy connector grouped with the primary and secondary IDE connectors near the top of the board.
The Asus A8V Deluxe is equipped with an AMI (American Megatrends, Inc.) BIOS, that is as complete as we have ever seen. From within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the on-board components, and can monitor fan speeds, voltages and clock speeds. The A8V also had the most complete set of memory options we have seen to date (fifth screen shot, at the upper right).
Asus also furnished the A8V Deluxe with a full compliment of overclocking tools. CPU, Memory, AGP and Chipset voltages can all be altered, the CPU multiplier can be changed (up to 20x), and the "FSB" can be increased all the way up to 300MHz, in 1MHz increments. The CPU voltage can be set as high as 1.8v, in .025v increments, the memory voltage can be set to 2.6v, 2.7, or 2.8v and the AGP voltage can be set to 1.5v or 1.6v. The V-Link (chipset) voltage can be set to 2.5v or 2.6v.
There are plenty of manual overclocking tools, but Asus also has some pre-configured 'Auto' overclocking options available. By selecting a single option from within the BIOS, users can overclock their systems with the A8V Deluxe by 3%, 5%, 7% or 10%.