Asus A7N266-C in the test: The nForce 415-D now also without graphics

Asus A7N266-C in the test: The nForce 415-D now also without graphics


Even if it is certainly not one of the most important features of the A7N266-C, the first thing that caught our eye was the massive passive cooler of the northbridge of the nForce 415-D. Not only because of its enormous height and the silver paintwork. The SPP, rotated 45 ° to optimize the signal path, also played its part. Not far from the northbridge, we already came across a second feature of the mainboard that owners of extremely large CPU coolers should certainly enjoy: space. Except for two capacitors soldered outside the danger zone, the upper left corner of the motherboard is extremely empty. Certainly also a result of the audio connections banned on the ACR plug-in card. By rotating the CPU socket by 90 °, the assembly of the cooler was also easier than ever before. Despite the extremely 'high' position of the base, there were no conflicts with the ATX power supply in our midi case.

Northbridge cooler
Lots of free space around the base A

The three DIMM slots, each equipped with a maximum of 512MB up to 1 Allow 5GB of memory on the board. The division of the slots between the two controllers can be clearly seen. While slot 1 is separate, slots 2 and 3 are close together. By the way, the assembly of the board follows fixed rules. As Asus explains in the manual, the memory installation must begin in the first slot. Equipping slots 1 and 3 is not recommended for reasons of stability. During the boot process, the BIOS indicates whether the memory is being accessed with 64 or 128 bits.

RAM slots
RAM slots

The slots, USB ports and the EIDE- Controller. As in the past, Asus also relies on the AGP Pro slot on the A7N266-C, which is not yet of any benefit to normal end users. However, it cannot hurt to be prepared for the future. The five PCI slots are currently part of the quasi-standard and since the ACR slot, which we have always criticized up to now, has the already explained task of a sound center, we could easily get over the absence of a sixth PCI slot. If so, if that's not the problemwith the 'sharing' would be. The standard two EIDE controllers for up to four devices are available on the A7N266-C for connecting hard disks and drives. Asus did not use a raid controller in this case. In this context, we also noticed the placement of the ATX Power Connector positively. Its position right next to the EIDE ports prevents the cable from being passed over the CPU fan. The USB ports are also appropriate to the current standard. While two already firmly soldered connections lead out of the housing, there are plugs for four more. Two of them can be used immediately thanks to the included slot cover.

EIDE ports
Extension slots
USB connections

Another feature once again underlines the multimedia showcase performance of the nForce . In addition to the sound reproduction capabilities already mentioned, our copy has the optional 10/100Mbit LAN controller Realtek RLT8100. With the RJ-45 socket, you can do without a separate network card. However, optional means: There is A7N266-C version with and some without OnBoard LAN. So be careful when buying. Commissioning turned out to be straightforward. Without any additional software, the LAN was ready for use after the Win2K installation. The configuration of the DSL connection went without problems.

RJ-45 socket
RLT8100 Controller

The equipment is rounded off by a protective mechanism that protects the board to protect against damage by AGP graphics cards (SiS305) that are too old. As soon as you install an incompatible AGP card (3.3V), booting is prevented and the red message LED lights up. Finally, a picture of the Southbridge MCP-D, which, like the mainboard, can be adorned with the Dolby Digital logo.

Message LED

On the next page: Stability