Tyan Tomcat K8E-SLI S2866
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 3 December 2005. Page 5 of 10. Add A Comment


When we had attempted to overclock the Tyan K8E S2865 this past Spring, our plans were quickly foiled by its inability to run stable with a FSB higher than 223MHz, however, using the same CPU as we had done with the K8E review, we had absolutely no troubles maxing out the CPU frequency at a moderate 250MHz. Unfortunately, the present v1.00 BIOS doesn't allow the manipulation of the FSB higher than the 250MHz marker so we were unable to tell if the motherboard could possibly be pushed any further. Running at 250MHz the memory ran at PC-4000 speeds at 2.5-4-2-8 1T timings. When using the Winchester Athlon 64 we only needed to provide the CPU an extra +0.050V, and with this overclock, no stability was sacrificed in our Memtest86+ v1.60 trials as well as our usual Linux slew of testing. Keep in mind, the S2866A2NRF uses the NVIDIA nForce Professional 2200 Chipset and not the nForce4.


The hardware components we had used in our testing for the K8E-SLI review as well as our software versions for major Linux packages are listed below. The hardware is also that of which we used during the overclocking process.

Hardware Components
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Winchester)
Memory: 2 x 1GB OCZ EB PC-4000
Graphics Card: Leadtek 6600GT 128MB
Hard Drives: Western Digital 160GB SATA2
Optical Drives: MSI 16x DVD-ROM
Power Supply: SinTek 500SLI 500W
Software Components
Operating System: OpenSuSE 10.0 OSS
Linux Kernel: 2.6.13-15-default
GCC (GNU Compiler): 4.0.2
Graphics Driver: NVIDIA 1.0-7676
Xorg: 6.8.2

With the motherboard coming from Tyan, and testing the K8E previously, we had a reasonable level of certainty before we had performed a fresh Linux install that all onboard components would function accordingly. As expected, our hopes were verified when using the 2.6.13 kernel with SuSE 10.0; all Tyan components were detected and operational. With this being our first SLI motherboard review, due to the availability of the Linux NVIDIA 1.0-8XXX series, the Tyan K8E-SLI S2866 is a bit different from our traditional motherboard reviews. For testing, we had planned to display the SLI advantages at this present time under Linux using our benchmarks. Due to the less than pleasurable results using the leaked 1.0-8168 drivers, which are plagued by a large memory leak and other bugs, we have since delayed our results pending the official NVIDIA release. As we have been reporting for quite a few months now in regards to the expected features for NVIDIA's Linux Rel80, the driver was originally targeted to be released in October that launch date then turned to the beginning of November, and then the end of November, but we still have yet to see any official release being the first week of December. Our hope at this time, as we have not yet heard any revised scheduled launch date from NVIDIA, is that the drivers will finally be delivered before Christmas of 2005 but we do have reason to believe that it will be out as early as Tuesday, December 06, 2005. We have been able to properly run Scalable Link Interface under Linux using the 1.0-8168 drivers (built on October 20, 2005), as can be seen from our articles entitled NVIDIA Linux SLI Primer and NVIDIA 1.0-8168 Drivers Leaked. Unfortunately, our Linux SLI results with these drivers have been less than favorable considering there has been any noticeable performance frame-rate boosts compared against a single card setup. NVIDIA SLI can be enabled by using the nvidia-xconfig utility and enabling the Heads-Up-Display from nvidia-settings. Partially due to the lackluster Linux SLI results are due to no application/game profile setup or any additional tools to configure the SLI specifics. Upon the official NVIDIA1.0-8XXX launch, we will be delivering new benchmark results from a single-card as well as a multi-card SLI setup using the Tyan K8E-SLI as well as from various other systems. Due to the SLI problems, we used the 1.0-7676 drivers in our benchmarks as well as delivering stock and overclocked results from the S2866. The overclocked speed was a 250MHz FSB that resulted in the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ running at 2.25GHz. Additionally, we had run benchmarks again on the Tyan K8E S2865 with the same hardware setup for comparison purposes. Encompassing the K8E S2865, it will also be interesting to note any other performance differences between the nForce4 Ultra and nForce Professional 2200. For the traditional motherboard benchmarks, we used Enemy Territory, Doom 3, Quake 4, Hdparm, Gzip, LAME, BlueSailSoftware Opstone Sparse-Vector Scalar Product and Opstone Singular Value Decomposition, and FreeBench. With that said, let us move onto the results.

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