Back when Socket 940 was in its prime we looked at the Asus SK8V and found it to be the best motherboard we had used on any platform. It had excellent stability and performance straight out of the box and was as feature packed as you could hope for. To this day I still recommend it to people building 940 based systems (and its little brother the K8V for Socket 754 systems). With the move to socket 939 Asus have a new board for Athlon users in the shape of the A8V. We were lucky enough to receive a review sample of the new A8V from Asus and with high hopes we built a system around it.
The impressive bundle continues with the tech specs, here they are:
As you can see all the standard K8T800Pro features are in place on the A8V and the motherboard doesn't lack anything. The now expected GB Lan and 7.1 audio are present as are the two raid controllers. USB slots are in abundance , both onboard and through add in brackets. The availability of wireless networking in the bundle does go some way to making the board stand out over other manufacturers boards. The board also has useful features for overclockers and recovers well if you exceed the maximum settings. If your system fails to boot through overclocking on the next restart the system informs you of this and lets you enter the BIOS to tweak your settings. No reset of CMOS required. As for CPU support, the A8V will handle all available socket 939 CPU's and with the correct memory configuration will run in dual channel mode.
From a design perspective the A8V is well laid out, there is more than enough room around all of the slots for the addition and removal of components, my only issue with the board was the placement of the Via northbridge. If your a modder and want to add better cooling to it (and maybe your AGP card) such as a fan or watercooling your going to be running into space issues as the northbridge cooler will be sitting very close to the AGP card and even closer to the CPU heatsink. There are also some capacitors right next to the northbridge that may also cause issues with adding a new cooler. This is a minor inconvenience however and shouldnt affect the majority of people.
Next: The Bios