The upper half of the motherboard
For the GA-8KNXP, Gigabyte fuses Intelís 875P North Bridge with the ICH5R South Bridge, bringing native Serial ATA support to the chipset, and ultimately, to the GA-8KNXP motherboard itself. Weíve been looking forward to Serial ATA since it was first announced at Intelís Developer Forum a few years ago, thankfully itís finally here thanks to ICH5. RAID functionality of the ICH5R chip is limited to RAID Level 0 (striping) and with one hard drive supported per port, therefore youíre limited to just two hard drives. Fortunately, thatís where Gigabyte steps in with additional storage controllers, one of the six miracles we mentioned previously.
Serial ATA RAID
For connecting additional Serial ATA storage devices to the GA-8KNXP, Gigabyte has integrated Silicon Imageís very popular Sil 3112 controller. Like Intelís ICH5R the Sil 3112 supports up to two hard drives, but goes one step beyond the ICH5R South Bridge in its support for RAID Level 1 (mirroring). The dual Serial ATA RAID controllers should bring grins to the faces of many storage gurus. You can setup multiple RAID arrays for your brand new Serial ATA hard drives, or run them as independent units if you wish. This gives end userís an incredible amount of flexibility in the disk subsystem department.
Storage/Firewire controllers, DualBIOS,
& ICH5R up top
Serial ATA header
External Serial ATA
One of Serial ATAís advantages is that itís hot-swappable, meaning you can connect or disconnect the Serial ATA drive without powering the system off. When you couple this with the capacity of todayís Serial ATA hard drives, this enters in a new era of semi-portable storage capability. But how can you take advantage of this if your Serial ATA ports are built on your motherboard? Simple, provide an external Serial ATA header!
This is exactly what Gigabyte has done with the GA-8KNXP and we can see all kinds of cool ramifications for Gigabyte owners with this feature. Itís actually surprising that more motherboard manufacturers havenít done this.
While Serial ATA is the storage interface of the future, there are still millions of consumers with multiple parallel ATA hard drives in their systems. What if these end users need more than the four hard drives the ICH5R natively supports? Or what about the consumer who doesnít want to pay the premium for Serial ATA drives, opting for storage on the cheap instead? For these users, Gigabyte has also integrated the ITE IT8212 ATA RAID (GigaRAID) controller.
The GigaRAID controller supports RAID Levels 0, 1, and 0+1. In addition, GigaRAID supports JBOD (spanning). Up to four hard drives can be connected to the GigaRAID controller, and since the controller supports the ATAPI-6 specification, end userís can even connect their CD-ROM drives to the controller.
If you make your own home movies, or use your system as a PVR (personal video recorder for television programming) youíve probably noticed how quickly you eat away at your hard drive space. Those of you who download MP3s and videos off the Internet are probably running multiple drives as well. For these consumers, the GA-8KNXP would be an ideal solution: you can conceivably connect up to twelve hard drives to this motherboard and it wonít break a sweat!
The CPU interface