Tyan Tomcat K8E-SLI S2866

Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 3 December 2005 at 01:00 PM EST. Page 1 of 10. Add A Comment.

Up until the leak of NVIDIA's 1.0-8168 display drivers, the possibilities of running NVIDIA SLI (Scalable Link Interface) under Linux could have only been a figment of everyone's imagination. Although the ForceWare Rel80 drivers bring fourth a great deal of NVIDIA advancements as well as specific improvements to SLI, Windows users have had interim SLI support since November 09, 2004 with the release of the 66.93 drivers. In this time since the conception of Scalable Link Interface, the technology has improved greatly through periodic driver releases that now allow for creating custom game profiles, mixing-and-matching graphics cards from different vendors, and eliminating the need to reboot ever so often as well as hardware advancements by means of the nForce4 SLI X16. However, what is there in store for Linux SLI? Today, we will be investigating these possibilities as we tamper with Tyan's K8E-SLI S2866. The K8E-SLI from Tyan is based upon the K8E S2865, which we tested nearly a year ago, and has proved to be a reliable motherboard, so the S2866 should be the perfect candidate for our testing. In addition, the K8E-SLI is based off the nForce Professional 2200 rather than the nForce4 SLI. Beyond Tyan's strong background for the workstation market they have always had a soft spot for GNU/Linux users being among the few manufacturers to acclaim any alternative OS support. Without any further ado, let us proceed with our Linux SLI crusade.


· µPGA 939-pin socket; supports AMD Athlon 64 4000+, Athlon 64 FX, X2, and Socket 939 Opteron 100 series processors
· Up to 1 GHz Hyper-Transport link support
· Single and Dual Core support

· nVIDIA nForce Professional 2200 (S2866A2NRF), w/ SLI technology support
· SMSC DME1737

· Dual memory channels
· Supports up to four DDR-400/333 DIMMs
· Up to 4GB of unbuffered, ECC/Non-ECC memory

Expansion Slots
· One x16 PCI Express connector (#6)
· One x16 PCI Express connector (#4) support SLI technology for x8 PCI Express signal
· One SODIMM socket for SLI card (#5)
· Three 32-bit, 33MHz PCI v2.2 slots

System Management
· SMSC DME1737 with hardware monitoring
· Total of six 4-pin FAN connectors
· Temperature and voltage monitoring
· Watchdog timer

Integrated Serial ATA Controller
· Serial ATA-II Host controllers embedded
· Supports four Serial ports running at 3Gb/s
· NV RAID RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD support
· SATA activity LED connector

Integrated PCI IDE
· Single ch. master mode supports two IDE devices
· Support for ATA-133/100/66/33 IDE drives and ATAPI compliant devices

Integrated LAN Controllers
· One Broadcom BCM5705 GbE controller
· One integrated nVIDIA MAC with Marvell 88E1111-CAA GbE PHY

Intelligent Platform Management Interface Header
· Tyan Server Management Daughter card M3291

Integrated PCI 1394a
· VIA VT6307 PCI FireWire (1394a) controller

Integrated Audio
· Realtek ALC655 audio CODEC
· AC'97 Rev.2.3 supported
· CD-in connector

· Award BIOS 8Mbit Flash
· Supports APM 1.2 & ACPI 1.0
· PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0 Power Management

· ATX 12V support, on board 4-phase VRM
· Universal 24-pin + 8-pin power connectors
· 4-pin auxiliary power connector

Form Factor
· ATX footprint (12" x 9.6" - 305mm x 244mm)

· FCC Class B (Declaration of Conformity)
· CE (Declaration of Conformity)


When it comes to packaging, Tyan is not as eccentric as some manufacturers who bundle every possible accessory with their motherboard, which often inflates the MSRP, while they are not lacking as ASRock's generic bundle but instead they include just the accessories you will need to get started. Similar to past Tyan products, the K8E-SLI is available in two SKUs - S2866G3NR and S2866A2NRF. The differences between these two models is that the S2866G3NR simply provides a single Gigabit ethernet port and no Firewire or audio but on the contrary it provides an onboard XGI Volari Z7 (XG20) 16MB PCI graphics controller where as the S2866A2NRF provides audio, two Gigabit ethernet controllers, and Firewire support. Furthermore, the RF variant utilizes the nForce Professional 2200 Chipset rather than the nForce4 Ultra without SLI support. Ultimately, the S2866G3NR is designed more for a server environment due to its lack of onboard audio but is complemented by onboard video support where as the RF offers onboard audio, Firewire, and an additional Gigabit networking port. The model we have with us today is the S2866A2NRF. Included inside of the packaging, in addition to the motherboard, is one ribbon floppy drive cable, four SATA cables, two SATA power adapters, one IDE cable, one IEEE-1394a (Firewire) expansion header, one USB2.0 expansion header, Tomcat K8E user's manual, Tomcat K8E quick reference guide, Tyan driver CD, one I/O shield, and the SLI components. The included SLI components are one SLI card, one SLI bridge, and one SLI bracket.

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