Price Guides, February 2005: Motherboardsby Kristopher Kubicki on February 12, 2005 3:00 PM EST
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Welcome back to another edition of the Price Guides. For those of you who need some advice on new motherboards, we have a complete look at today's market segment along with our recommended picks. As another reminder, the RealTime Price Guides is leaving the beta testing phase, and moving into production real soon! Please send us your comments and suggestions on how we can improve our engine! Of course, you can always view the existing release of the engine here. Furthermore, you can view the still beta QuickSearch RSS feed forum thread here.
This has been an excellent month for AMD users as nForce4 boards are finally starting to show some availability on the A04 silicon and VIA's PCIe solution is also shipping. Some of the late blooming nForce3 motherboards are also picking up in availability – which is important if you aren't ready to make the transition to PCIe just yet. We also have details on availability for next generation Intel motherboards.
Athlon 64 PCIe
nForce4 motherboard options went from 2 to 20 almost overnight. ASUS and Gigabyte managed to control the entire nForce4 market for the month of January (with some help from Chaintech as well), but the heyday of AMD AGP is clearly coming to an end. Pricing on the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe [RTPE: A8N-SLI Deluxe] has dropped nearly $20 in the last week alone, and other comparable boards. All three Tier 1 manufacturers have SLI boards available now, but the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe is still clearly the leader in the price/performance category for now.
That being said, don't forget to check out Wes's review of DFI's attempts to rise into the elite nForce4 club. Although the SLI LanParty board isn't available yet, our merchants do show it preordering. For those of you who like to live dangerously, you may wish to check out the DFI nForce4 LanParty UT-D [RTPE: LanParty UT Ultra-D], which Wesley mentioned could be modified into an "SLI-like" motherboard very easily. Of course, you won't get any driver support from NVIDIA, and if you feel the need to run an SLI configuration, you may be better off paying the extra $25 for the rock solid ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe.
However, for those no-nonsense types who still want the versatility of PCIe, there are some pretty awesome choices. The veteran of value nForce4 motherboards, Chaintech, has two offerings available right now – both with reasonably good price points. Chaintech's nForce4 Ultra motherboard is selling at the same price as most of the other nForce4 4X boards right now, and they clearly have a competitive solution for the price point.
Don't rule out VIA based PCIe just yet. The K8T890 motherboards have started shipping en masse, with the exception of the ASUS AV8-E Deluxe [RTPE: A8V-E Deluxe] that hit the market a little bit early; certainly par for the course at ASUS. We will have more details and benchmarks on K8T890 in the coming weeks.
Just to give a great example of how some motherboards like the A8N-SLI Deluxe are affecting the retail market space, take a look at how the price of this motherboard has dropped – particularly since the New Year.