Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal Motherboard
Benchmark Analysis and the Conclusion
Benchmark Analysis: Our testing of some of the more well-known manufacturer's motherboards left us with an indelible impression: they almost all perform at a similar level. Whether it's an Asus P5WD2 Premium using the i955X chipset, or any of the nForce4 SLI boards from Asus, Gigabyte, or MSI, you really can't go wrong. That being said, the Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI was typically just slightly ahead of the rest of the pack. Noticeable? Hardly, but still worth mentioning.
There's simply no denying that the Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI is ahead of the curve. Quad SLI is an enticing idea, but currently there are no drivers that exist that'll let you run four cards on this specific board for increased performance, and from what we've heard nVIDIA doesn't have any plans on changing that just yet. Perhaps modified drivers could do the trick, but we suspect anyone who invests in four graphics cards wants to know they're going to work properly "out of the box". Disregarding the thought of Quad SLI, the board supports up to 10 monitors when using five discreet graphics cards, a number that most people will find outstanding, if not impractical. There may be a very small segment of the market looking for such functionality, and this is one of the only boards that will suit that need.
If you're more rooted in the normalcy of PC setups, the GA-8N-SLI fits the role admirably as well. Dual LAN, dual-core CPU support, SLI X16 configurations, and RAID support are all found on this board, and there's really very little lacking from either the board itself or the bundle that accompanies it. All of this might make it sound like a hefty price tag should be attached, but from what we've seen online, the average price is not much higher than other nForce4 SLI X16 Intel Edition boards, which have far fewer options. We're going to mark the Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI as a solid 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, and hope that the few issues we found with overclocking get cleared up with a BIOS revision.
|•_Four PCI-e PEG slots
•_SLI X16 configuration
•_Attach up to 10 monitors
•_Expansive bundle incl. bluetooth dongle
|•_No Quad SLI drivers (yet?)
•_Some stability issues
•_Heavy-duty PSU required