Socket 939 Motherboard Roundup: ABIT, MSI, Gigabyte

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Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP-939: BIOS & Overclocking

Gigabyte's K8NSNXP-939 is equipped with a Phoenix / Award BIOS derivative, that's been customized to support all of the K8NSNXP-939's onboard features and peripherals.  And thanks to the Dual-BIOS feature, flashing to new versions is safe and easy.  A flash utility is built right into the BIOS, and because a backup is always available, recovery from a bad flash is only a few keystrokes away.

The BIOS: Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939
Pretty Complete



The standard BIOS screens will look similar to most other enthusiast-class motherboards. The Integrated Peripherals menu, however, has more options than most because each individual peripheral can be manually enabled or disabled, and this board has a lot of them! You may notice that the Advanced Chipset Features menu is missing from the main menu. To reveal the Advanced Chipset Features menu and a host of memory timing options, users have to press "CTRL-F1."  This can be somewhat annoying for veteran tweakers, but it'll probably help to keep some newbies out of trouble.

Overclocking Tools: Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939
Very Good - Not Great - But Very Good



The MB Intelligent Tweaker menu, or M.I.T, is where users will find all of the K8NSNXP-939's overclocking tools.  Using the M.I.T. menu, users can alter their processor's multiplier and select any processor bus speed between 200MHz and 455MHz, in 1MHz increments.  The AGP bus speed can also be dialed in manually, in 1MHz increments, which points to the fact that this board - like all other nForce3 Ultra-powered motherboards - has a fully functional AGP / PCI lock.  Processor, AGP, memory and HyperTransport voltages are also user configurable.  CPU voltages up to 1.7v are available in .05v increments, and +.1v, +.2, and +.3v options are available for AGP and the HyperTransport link.  Memory voltages can be increased by +.1v or +.2v.

Max OC=255MHz
Overclocking with the Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939 yielded some very good results.  As we did with the ABIT AV8 and the rest of the boards in this roundup, for that matter, we cranked our CPU voltage up to 1.7v, dropped the multiplier, and lowered the speed of the HT link.  Then we raised the memory voltage by the maximum .2v on this board and set out to find the highest stable processor bus speed.  The K8NSNXP-939 fared well, hitting a maximum stable bus speed of 255MHz.  Windows XP would actually boot at speeds in excess of 270MHz, but some applications would crash to the desktop until we brought the speed back down to 255MHz.

When we focused on overclocking the CPU alone, the K8NSNXP-939 was also able to take our CPU well over 2.6GHz.  Which, as we mentioned earlier, is the limit for our particular Athlon 64 FX-53 processor.


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