Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe twin x16 SLI mobo

The heatpipes are blocking access to certain parts of the motherboard and a graphics card with a large passive heatsink on the back might not work in the top slot. However, something like the Asus' dual-chip Extreme N7800 GT Dual does fit in the lower slot. This might sound odd, but as this is the primary x16 PCI Express slot it makes sense.

Another problem that might occur is that some very large CPU coolers would be hard to fit to the board, as there isn't a lot of space between the heatpipes and the CPU socket. Generally this shouldn't be a problem, but it is worth bearing in mind if you plan to use an oversized CPU cooler. For those wanting to use a passive heatsink or a watercooling kit on the A8N32-SLI Deluxe a fan is provided that has to be fitted to the heatsink where the heatpipes terminate. This is because it won't be sufficiently cooled in such a system. This is easily installed by clipping it in place.

The rest of the board is up to Asus' usual standards, although the layout gets crowded at times. Starting from the top working our way down, the power connectors are placed towards the top of the board with the 24-pin ATX connector located between the memory slots and the top IDE connector. The second IDE connector is angled at 90°, something that can help keep cables tidy in your case if there's enough room in it.

There are only four Serial ATA II connectors at the front of the board, but a further two are located at the rear, one internally and one externally. In terms of expansion slots there is a x4 PCI-E slot and three PCI slots as well as the two x16 PCI-E slots.

The rear I/O consists of two PS/2 ports, a parallel port, co-axial and optical S/PDIF out, and the SATA II connector, though without a power port. There are six 3.5mm audio jacks, but sadly Asus has yet to integrate a high quality audio chip as the nForce 4 chipset only supports AC97 sound. Four USB 2.0 ports and two Ethernet connectors complete the array. Both of the on-board network chips operate at Gigabit speeds, one being part of the Nvidia chipset and the other being a PCI-E part from Marvell.

Extra brackets are also supplied for a serial port, two FireWire ports - one four- and one six-pin - and one with two USB 2.0 ports and a game port. A further two USB headers are available for case-mounted USB ports. Asus also offer a wireless version of the A8N32-SLI Deluxe where the USB header towards the rear of the board is replaced by a small wireless card. This works via the USB bus and as such you lose one USB header. As the board is passively cooled there are four free fan headers once you've connected the CPU cooler.

The remaining accessories in the box consists of two IDE cables, a floppy cable, five SATA data cables and three SATA power adaptors - of which two offer connectors for two devices. Let's not forget the all important SLI bridge connector which in this case is made of a soft flexible material, rather than the hard PCB ones we've seen in the past. Asus also provides a copy of WinDVD Suite from InterVideo as part of the package.

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