WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS Motherboard Review

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SLI on a budget: Winfast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS Overview and Specs

The Winfast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS Motherboard

Just about everywhere you look, you can see reviews and ads for the latest, greatest, and most expensive hardware that is out there.  There is not a forum that you visit where those that are involved are talking about the newest technology.  We all like to hear about it, but in reality, there are very few of the masses that can afford to go out and get the latest and greatest every time that it is introduced.  I have spent my share of $$$ of the newest.  And in the end, though I may have been one of the first to have it, most of the time, the only thing it really did for me was inflate my ego to be able to post huge numbers first… only to have those numbers crushed by those that are even more extreme than I am within a few days or weeks.

One of those technologies is SLI.  I went out and bought two BFG 6800GT’s and ran them in SLI within a few days of their release.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, and it was cool to see such high benchmark numbers.  But after a solid week of benching and tweaking, I was sitting at my desk and looking at my box, and I thought to myself, “I have $900 worth of video cards in that box, why?”  Big numbers were great, but it did not make me enjoy the few games that I play any better.  It did not make anything really look any better as I played.  So what did I do?  I sold one, and wrote up a review that said that SLI, though useful in the future, is really not needed and way to expensive.  I still think it is, but what has made it even more expensive is the hardware (motherboard) that you had to have to go with it.  SLI motherboards have not been cheap, and SLI motherboards that overclock well certainly have not been cheap. 

Enter Foxconn.  They have introduced a series of affordable motherboards in the WinFast lines that are perfect for those that are budget conscious.  Even the SLI board that we have on the bench today comes in at a modest price ~ $100 or under!  That is a super price for an SLI capable board, and will help you stretch your dollars as far as you can.  But as we will see in this review, you can have your cake and eat it too!  Most budget boards leave a lot to be desired when it comes to any extra performance you might get in the realms of overclocking, so you usually do not expect much.  While this board was not the greatest overclocking board on the block, it was able to keep up, and allowed us to reach very decent overclocking levels for a sub $100 board. We will talk more about that later, for now, let’s look at the specs of the WinFast NF4SK8AA-8EKRS (that is one long name!  Henceforth, in this review, it shall lovingly be called the WinFast!)

  • Processor – Supports compatible AMD Socket 939 processors.
  • Chipset – NVIDIA nForce4 (CK8-04) SLI
  • Memory – Dual channel, unbuffered, 2.5V DDR266/333/400, (4) 184-pin DIMM sockets, max 4GB
  • Graphics – Discrete (non-integrated) – use expansion slot
  • Expansion Slots – 2 x PCI Express x16 (function as 1 x16 or 2 x8), 1 x PCI Express x1, 3 x PCI
  • IDE/ATA Support – 2 x ATA/133 + 4 x SATA/300 (w/ cross-controller RAID 0, 1, and 0+1) + 2 x SATA/300 (w/ RAID 0, 1)
  • Audio – Integrated, 7.1 channel High Definition (Realtek)
  • LAN – Dual integrated Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000) MACs + PHYs, dual ports (Marvell)
  • IEEE-1394 – 2 via internal headers
  • USB – Up to 10; 4 in rear I/O area + 3 internal 2-port headers; includes 2-port rear cable/bracket; ver. 2.0
  • Rear I/O Ports –
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard
    1 x PS/2 mouse
    1 x RJ45 (LAN)
    4 x USB 2.0
    1 x line-in/line-out/mic (audio)
    1 x parallel (SPP/ECP/EPP)
    1 x COM (16550-compatible UART)
    Additional line-outs for 7.1 channel audio
    Second RJ45 (LAN)
    2 x S/PDIF (1 x coax out + 1 x optical out)

    • Internal Connectors/Headers

    1 x floppy disk drive
    Front audio header
    3 x USB 2-port headers, ver. 2.0
    2 x IEEE-1394 headers

    • BIOS – 4Mb flash EEPROM w/ LAN boot, PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI 2.0, 
  • Special Features – Wake-on-LAN (WOL), suspend-to-RAM (STR, S3), suspend-to-disk (STD, S4),SuperUtilities – SuperBoot, SuperBIOS-Protect, SuperRecovery, SuperSpeed, SuperStep, SuperLogo, and SuperUpdate
  • Overclocking Features –
  • Adjustable bus speeds
    Adjustable memory timing
    Adjustable voltages (may be Vcore only)
    Adjustable ratios 

    • Form Factor – ATX, 12.0” x 9.6” or less – see User’s Manual
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