Gigabyte K8 Triton GA-K8NS Pro
|Gigabyte K8 Triton GA-K8NS Pro|
|CPU Support||All Athlon 64 and Sempron Socket 754 processors|
|Northbridge||NVIDIA nForce3 250|
|Memory Support||3 slots, DDR400, 3GB max, single-channel|
|AGP||One 8X slot|
|Audio||Realtek ALC850 from 250 feed|
|Audio Connectivity||6 port backplane speaker. I/O S/PDIF optical output and digital coax output, possible support for 8 speakers with extra cable (not supplied)|
|PCI||5 x 32-bit 33MHz PCI 2.1 slots|
|IDE||2 ATA133 compliant ports from 250, 2 ATA133 compliant ports from IT8212F|
|IDE RAID||RAID0, RAID1, RAID0+1, from 250 and IT8212F|
|SATA||2 ports from 250, 2 ports from Silicon Image 3112|
|SATA RAID||RAID0, RAID1, RAID0+1 on 250 ports, RAID0, RAID1, RAID0+1 on Sil3112 ports|
|Networking||Marvel Yukon 88E8001, 32-bit PCI, single port Ethernet adaptor, 10/100/1000Mbit.|
|USB||8 possible, 6 supplied. 4 backplane USB2.0, 2 I/O USB2.0|
|FireWire||FireWire400, 2 x I/O (powered, unpowered) from Ti TSB43AB23 OCHI controller|
|Other I/O||PS/2, Parallel, 2 x Serial|
The K8NS Pro's feature set reads a little like the ASUS K8N-E's, a board that I had the pleasure of looking at recently, and that's no bad thing. While it's not as strong in places (only 6-speaker audio out of the box, and none of the integrated firewall and packet filter features of the 250Gb version of nForce3), it's a little more capable in others, depending on what kind of setup you plan to build around it.
You see the ASUS neglects to use any more ATA ports than the two that are supplied by the 250Gb, instead equipping the K8N-E with four SATA ports from a Sil3114 controller. So you get support for two ATA devices and six SATA devices on that board.
Gigabyte choose a slightly different route in their disk support, using an IT8212F ATA RAID controller to add support for a couple more ATA devices than the K8N-E. The tradeoff is in the SATA disk support, with only four total devices able to be run, two from the 250Gb and two hanging off of a Sil3112 2-port SATA RAID controller. So if you're dead set on running more than two ATA devices on your system, the K8NS Pro is the better option.
It doesn't sport the integrated hardware firewall and packet filter that the ASUS K8N-E does, due to using the plain version of the 250 core logic, and it also drops the speaker count that the ALC850 AC'97 CODEC supports to six (from the K8N-E's support of eight). Eight speaker support is possible with the K8NS Pro, but it requires an extra cable that isn't supplied (why?).
It matches the K8N-E in USB2.0 and FireWire400 port count, allowing you plenty of scope for peripheral attachment of devices to your K8NS Pro.
So the feature set is strong, whilst not going to the extremes that its main competitor does. It might very well appeal to you though, depending on your ATA disk requirements.