The K8N Diamond Plus comes equipped with Creative's
CA0106 chip; the same chip as found on the K8N Diamond and P4N Diamond. This
chip supports up to 8-channel and SPDIF audio effect and allows you to attach 2,
4, 6, or 8 speakers for better surround sound effect. Still one of the major
pluses for the Diamond-series is the sound capability. While it does not appear
to be much more than a Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit solution it does offer
improved sound capability over the competition. In addition, it seems to offer
slightly more improvement over previous offerings in the series with a better
signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. The SNR ratio lists a 106 dB rating compared to the
previous 100 db rating on the K8N Diamond and P4N Diamond.
Onboard USB 2.0 Connections
Located at the bottom of the board are an
additional three on-board USB 2.0 connection (JUSB1, JUSB2, JUSB3), just like on
the P4N and K8N. These are great for adding more USB connections at the rear of
the case using the supplied bracket but more so if your case has provisions for
front-mounted USB connections. I will be using my newly acquired Antec P160W
aluminum case so these three connections will be provide up to six more USB 2.0
ports making a total of 10 USB connections provide by the motherboard.
Front Panel Connections
Front panel power switch, HDD LCD, reset switch, and speaker connection are
neatly arranged and color-coded located in a relatively easily accessed position
at the right lower corner of the board.
Serial ATA Connections
The six SATA2 connections are all in a row at the right edge of the board.
The labeled SATA1 thru SATA4 connectors are for NVIDIA SATA2/RAID compatible
drives and the extra listed SATA5 and SATA6 are Silicon Image SATA2/RAID
solutions. All SATA2 connections are rated 3Gb/s capable.
The now familiar Core Cell chip is present and provides a number overclocking
and monitoring solutions through the Core Center software program available on
the utility disk.
Four DIMM slots providing up to 4 GB installed system ram are located on the
top right side of the board. Color-coded with channel 'A' as 'green' and channel
'B' as 'purple' makes me think I must be color-blind. Looks more like an aqua
color and a pale blue. Nevertheless, to avoid confusion I like to see Dimms of
the same color represent dual-channel combinations. This, however, is not the
case as dual-channel is represented by Dimms of different color and different
channel. This is clear once the manual has been consulted and pages 2-6 and 2-7
have been carefully read. The paragraph on page 2-6 identifies required
populated Dimms for dual-channel and the following chart on page 2-7 further
In the pic above, orientation of the Dimms numbering scheme begin with Dimm #1
at the top and continuing to Dimm #4 at the bottom. That makes Dimm #1 and Dimm
#3 Channel 'A' and Dimm #2 and Dimm #4 as Channel 'B' (this is clearly
silk-screened on the motherboard at the top-left of Dimm #1). I installed one
double-sided PC3200, 1GB memory module, in Dimm #1 (green, Channel 'A') and one
of the same memory modules in Dimm #3 (purple, Channel 'B') to achieve a working
dual-channel configuration for this review. In addition, I tried matched pairs
of 512MB memory modules that I have on-hand from Mushkin, OCZ, Corsair, and PDP
without any problems in dual-channel configurations and the motherboard properly
identified each configuration installed as dual-channel.
Also, in the pic are shown the two yellow IDE slots, the white 24-pin power
connector, and the black FDD slot.
VDIMM Jumpers - Before and After
This is interesting, it's like a DON'T TOUCH warning. For the curious, myself
included, I removed the seal so you won't have to and risk voiding the warranty.
As you can see under the seal are the jumpers for increasing the VDimm on the
system memory. I will max the voltage supplied to the ram at probably 2.8V and
leave it at that. What is surprising, and a little scary, is that you can up the
voltage to as high as 4.1 volts by manipulating these jumpers...can you say WOW!
Think I will delay playing around with these for a while and keep my ram. But
for you extreme overclockers, here it is!