Abit NF8 - Page 4

Written by John Chen    Sunday, 27 February 2005 11:00
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Motherboard Layout Continued

At the back I/O are your usual in and out ports for your typical peripherals.  The back I/O includes the PS2 keyboard and mouse ports, 1 serial, 1 parallel, audio input and output jacks for 6-channel surround sound, 4 USB, 1 Firewire, and 1 RJ45 jack for Gigabit connection.  Just like the KV8 Pro, the NF8 uses Realtek's ALC658 audio controller.  While not the top end sound solution from Realtek, the 6-channel surround sound solution is good enough for average music listening and gaming.  The audio controller does support digital input and output, but the NF8 does not provide the connections.  Abit's website says that the NF8 comes with SPDIF in/out, but the board doesn't physically support it.  They should update their website before more people are misinformed.  There is an additional Firewire header on the motherboard controlled by VIA's VT6306, instead of the higher end VT6307.  It's no matter to me, though.  I've never used a Firewire port anyway.  On the board are two extra USB headers for an additional 4 USB ports.  With the 4 at the back I/O, there is a total of 8 total USB ports.  Remember the days when having 2 USB ports was considered high end?  Right next to the USB headers is the CMOS jumper.  Abit's known for using jumpers with a handle extension, and this little extra effort makes clearing CMOS just so much easier.  It's also a good thing that the jumper is located towards the bottom of the motherboard. 

There seems to be ample space around the CPU socket on the NF8.  The DIMMs are a little too close to the socket, but I didn't have any troubles installing the Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu.  As usual, next to the CPU socket are the MOSFET's.  A little while back, many complained that capacitors started blowing up on old Abit motherboards.  Abit has fixed that problem by using 100% all Japanese capacitors.  Around the MOSFET area are what Abit calls "overclocking strips".  These tracings are thicker and wider to allow better heat dissipation and maintain stability under stress.  These strips can also be found on the back of the motherboard, near the CPU socket area.  The 12v 4pin connector dedicated for the CPU is located towards the top left corner.  This is a prime placement, because it doesn't require the power cable to be stretched around the CPU area.

Like the KV8 Pro cousin, the NF8 comes supplied with a whopping 5 onboard fan headers.  This is great, because now you can monitor the RPM's of the two intake fans, two exhaust fans, and the CPU fan.