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Asus A8N-SLI Premium or Asus A8N32-SLI?

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:36 am
by Tzupy
There is a 20 GBP +VAT price difference between the two.
In principle I would go for the A8N32 mobo, if the BIOS is mature enough.
It has better voltage regulation and more space between the memory and the gfx card. Which will be a 7800 GTX with the stock 4-heatpipe cooler, so ~40W of heat will go back to the case. With the Premium, that heat would go over the memory, but with the A8N-32 it would have more space (two slots I think).
The memory would be Corsair Twinx 2x1GB XMS3200C2PT. Processor would be Athlon X2 4800 with XP-120, case P180 with S12-600, WD Raptor 150GB (which I hope it's quiet enough).
Please help me choose for the new office computer.

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:03 am
by McBanjo
Both cards have 2 slots between the PCI-Ex slots. But if your only going to use 1 card it doesn't really mather.
What I can see both cards has basicly the same layout and from what I know they are both good cards but A8N32 is a bit bether for overclocking (I think that is the present champion)
If your worried about the ram getting some heat (doubt those cm does much difference) then buy a Artic cooling Silencer. Gets that heat out of the case and with much less noise

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:39 am
by kkzz
I have the Premium and considered upgrading to the 32 so I looked into it quite deeply. It appears the 32 is only worth it if you're going to SLI, the extra cooling is to cope with the extra chip needed to provide the extra bandwidth for the high speed SLI. I've had no problems cooling the Premium, the cooler never feels more than warm to the touch. The Premium has the advantage of more space around the CPU socket, increasing your choice of CPU cooling and personally I find the PCI/PCI Express slots better placed on the Premium. The 32 can take the higher speed PC3500 RAM but the differences in speed seem very small. When I was looking at the 32 a month ago the BIOS wasn't completely stable with all configurations and several people complained about there being fewer options than the Premium (but that's probably sorted by now). I think if you're going to SLI go with the 32, if not stay with the Premium

Asus A8N Sli Premium, 2GB Dual Channel OCZ Platinum, AMD 3500+, Thermalright SI 120 with Nexus fan, Seasonic 600w, Hitachi SATA 2 in Zalman cage, Creative X-fi Elite Pro, Asus 7800GTX Top, 2xAcousti Dustproof 120mm with gaskets, Akasa Fan Control Pro, Akasa Eclipse case, PLextor Premium CDRW, Samsung DVD

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:26 am
by Tzupy
I can't put a Silencer on the 7800 GTX, since it's for the office, and I must use stock cooling in order not to void the warranty. That's why I'm going for the 4-heatpipe solution that's used by a Leadtek 7800 GTX card and by Dell surplus 7800 GTX cards. There will be no overclocking, that's why I'm getting the expensive X2 4800. For myself I would have gotten the X2 3800 and overclocked it a bit. And no SLI setup, since the app I am using and maintaing wouldn't benefit much from it. The truth is that a 6600 GT with 256 MB would be fine for my work purposes, but I hope to game a bit in the evenings, so I wanted the 7800 GTX.
I thank you for the answers, but my concern about the maturity of the A8N32-SLI is not answered yet. Would the memory be OK, or should I go for the more expensive 3500LL?
kkzz, you have the Akasa Fan Control Pro, how is it? I have to choose between that one, the Zalman ZM-MFC1, TT Hardcano12, Aerocool Coolwatch and Vantec Nexus. Will be using Noiseblocker SX1 fans (1,200 rpm stock speed), and I hope the controller I will choose won't be inducing extra noises, like clicking.

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:58 am
by kkzz
If you have a choice beyond the Leadtek/ Dell 7800GTX the Asus 7800GTX Top is factory fitted with a Silencer and now Asus Smartdoctor works at last mine never gets above 40% fan speed/20% at idle so its very quiet. The Akasa Fan Control Pro is a good controller, introduces no noise but is 7-12v so won't take your fans to the very minimum speeds. Nice display, thermal probes if required. The Zalman has no display but includes pass through wires so motherboard software can display speeds. I use the Akasa just to control my exhaust fan so I can vary it when the weather's hot. My intake fan is set to 6v with the resistor Acousti supply.

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:04 am
by MikeC
IIRC, the Q-fan controller in the Premium's BIOS is much more flexible. Personally, I'd go Premium for this alone. Aside from this, and the supposed advantage of the power regulation on the 32 for SLI, there doesn't seem to be much difference.

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:48 pm
by hravn
Mike, have you tried all the fan headers on the A8N-SLI Premium? In the manual it says that the CPU, chipset and CHA1 headers are controlled by Q-FAN, but for me it seems like one my nexus fans are spinning slightly faster... I think I'm using the CPU and chipset headers.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:01 pm
by Tzupy
The quiet 7800 GTXs (4-heatpipe cooler) are out of stock! :cry:
And now the X2 4800 and the XP-120 went out of stock, too :shock:
I may have to settle for the 4400. Which is bad, since it's not me paying for it.
Will get the Zalman MFC1, I want to see the rpm of the fans, thank you kkzz. Unfortunately, the Asus TOP is not available, it was some 3 months ago, and at a good price :evil:

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:10 pm
by TooNice
I am deciding between those two boards as well.

The Premium does seem like it has more space around the CPU.

But I am enticed by the 32-Sli's better OC potential.

Would the Scythe Ninja be hard to fit on the 32-SLI?

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:46 pm
by MikeC
I strongly recommend the Premium. You pay a big price in power consumption w/the A8N32 -- it basically doubles the chipsets. Naturally the power consumption (and heat) jumps -- some 35W in idle and ~17W at full load w/a X2-3800+, even when only one vidcard is used.

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:54 am
by Tzupy
That's a good point, MikeC, but are you sure it happens even with only one card?

@TooNice: the reason I wouldn't use the Ninja is that the chipsets and voltage regulator would be better cooled with a XP-120.

But since the quiet 7800GTXs are out of stock (well, except the BGF 7800 GTX 512, priced at 550 GBP+VAT :shock:) I have to delay the build. Well, it's only one month until the 7900 GTX arrives, I'll have to bear a noisy Dell Prescott until then...

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:26 am
by MikeC
Tzupy wrote:That's a good point, MikeC, but are you sure it happens even with only one card?
Absolutely. You'll read about it in detail in the upcoming review.

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:49 am
by TooNice
Thanks. I just read the review. Appart from 16x SLI and eSATA, what else does the 32-Deluxe have over the Premium? I don't need 16x SLI, and I guess that I eventually be able to find stand alone eSATA adapter if I needed it (seems like a nice feature though, considering that one of my external HD enclosure supports eSATA).

The price difference now is a lil over £25, and since it'll be for (near) 24/7 operation, the Premium is looking ever more attractive (save a bit on the electricity).

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:07 am
by kkzz
The Premium comes with a 2 port SATA extension module that occupies one of your blank PCI plates

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:20 am
by TooNice
Is this the same thing as having eSATA?

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:29 am
by kkzz
Its a plate with two SATA sockets (which connect to the motherboard's SATA) and two SATA power sockets (which connect to your PSU)

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:58 am
by TooNice
Thanks. So:

Motherboard/PSU -> Plate -> External devices?

Do you know how is that different from the eSATA feature on the 32-SLI?


Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:18 pm
by Devonavar
Are they SATA plugs or eSATA plugs? Can you try plugging in one of your internal cables? If it fits, it's SATA, if it doesn't it's probably eSATA.

SATA and eSATA both use the same data format; the only difference is the robustness of the connection...

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:21 pm
by TooNice
I believe it is regular SATA:
After lots of reading around, I saw this: ... page4.html

What do you mean by robustness of the connection? The cables?

In a way, it is interesting to see that the Premium has more SATA ports (8) than the 32-Deluxe (5+1). Not that I would need more than 5 internals really.. unless optical drives move to SATA at some point.

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:30 pm
by Devonavar
Yeah, if they're powering bare drives it's not eSATA.

By robustness of the connection I mean everything to do with the cables: More EMI shielding, better, more resilient plugs, and better ground protection that makes hot-swapping safer.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:54 am
by TooNice
Thanks. How about the devices? Do they make the difference between eSATA and SATA? I have a HD caddy with a SATA port. Nowhere on the package does it say it is eSATA, but I've never seen anything labeled as eSATA. That is the main (and only) device I have right now which I think might benefit from eSATA. But if it is not eSATA compliant either, then I don't really have to think too much about this feature on the 32-Sli right now.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:08 am
by Metaluna
I recall reading somewhere that many of the motherboard peripherals (i.e. SATA raid controller, 2nd GigE port, etc.) on the A8N32 are PCI Express, whereas on the Premium they sit on the PCI bus. Probably not a big deal unless you are using them heavily, but it is a difference.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:31 pm
by Devonavar
As long as you can plug eSATA in, it should be compatible with regular SATA. The link interface is identical, the only difference is the wires it travels over. Chances are your HD caddy isn't eSATA unless it's new to the market. But, why not try plugging a regular SATA cable into it? If it fits, you'll know it's designed for SATA, not eSATA.

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:44 pm
by TomZ
Here's information about eSATA, including a list of differences between it and standard SATA connectors.

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:05 am
by TooNice
Ah well.. Looks like the retailer I was shopping from made the decision for me: I asked them to hold my order of the Premium until I investigate the differences. And they did... for a day. I have the Premium with me now...

This saved me some $40 + electricity, but I wonder whether I traded a significant number of Mhz (in overclocking).

That said... I am guessing that Asus will at some point release a A8N32-SLi-Premium and I can hold for that (see if they improve their power management for single card)... Or swap for a next gen crossfire board.

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:19 pm
by TomZ
ZipZoomFly has a deal now, where you can get either of these motherboards for free, if you purchase an FX-55 processor: ... 020805.jsp

Seems like a good deal to me!

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with ZipZoomFly, etc.