Overclocking and Final Thoughts
Playing around with the available overclocking options, we were able to raise the reference HT frequency to 265MHz, up from the default 200MHz, while keeping the CPU Multiplier set at 9. This gave us a peak overclock of 2.385GHz. We had to raise the vDimm to 2.8V, and the vCore to +40mV(which gave us 1.47V according to speedfan). We also had to set the memory speed at 166MHz, and use timings of 2.5-3-3-7, and lowered the HTT multiplier to 3x. Overclocking any further would cause the system to reboot when running some of our games. At 2.385GHz though, the system was able to survive 3 hours of Prime95 stress testing, and 3 hours of a Counter-Strike: Source bot match. We also played through a few levels of Doom 3, Far Cry, the F.E.A.R. Multiplayer demo, and received zero problems.
To give you an idea of the performance gains, we ran a timedemo benchmark of Far Cry's regulator level, and compared them with our earlier results. A 26.59 increase in FPS is certainly a welcomed improvement. Only the stock cooler was used when overclocking our 3000+ Winchester core Athlon. Remember though, even with the same hardware, similar results aren't guaranteed.
Thanks to nVidia's nForce 4 SLI chipset, there are a number of excellent motherboards currently on the market for both the AMD and Intel platforms. SLI support has become crucial as demand has risen for the flexibility it brings. SLI Support, onboard 7.1 channel AC97 sound, and Gigabit Ethernet, combined with an ample amount of SATA and USB ports is a great combination. Foxconn knows this. and Foxconn also knows people don't always have the money for boutique products. Producing a streamlined Socket 939 nForce 4 SLI board for under $130 helps make the prospect of having an SLI system a bit more feasible to the more financially challenged among us. With some enthusiast-class boards reaching the $200 mark, Foxconn has opted for a basic and more affordable solution, giving the performance of the nForce 4 Chipset without some of the extras found on a few more expensive boards.
While you can certainly overclock with the NF4SK8AA-8EKRS, it's not going to be setting any records. However, being able to get our 3000+ to 2.385GHz certainly offered an excellent performance improvement. The bundle Foxconn provided is basic, and included only the cables, disks, and manual you'll need to get everything running. To put it plainly, the overclocking features and bundle weren't terribly exciting. However, looking at the NF4SK8AA-8EKRS from the standpoint of performance, a little excitement is warranted when considering the low price tag on this NF4 SLI solution. We have mixed feelings on this product. What it comes down to though, is that SLI is not cheap. While some may argue that if you can afford two video cards, you can afford a more expensive, fully-loaded motherboard, but this simply isn't true for some people. Buying one video card now and waiting until later to add another will be a path well traveled, we suspect. With all things considered, we liked the Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS. And we feel the board would be a nice fit for those of you who want the option of SLI, but can't afford the extra bells and whistles of some more expensive boards. Despite our lack of enthusiasm for the bundle, the price / performance ratio the Foxconn WinFast NF4SK8AA-8ERKS provides is more than enough to earn it a solid 8 out of 10 on our Heat Meter.
|•_Cheap SLI solution
•_Decent overclocking ability
|•_Less than exciting package
•_BIOS is lite on OC features