The Asus A8R-MVP created quite a stir when Asus introduced the $100 AMD Socket 939 motherboard based on the ATI RD480 chipset. This was a mainstream motherboard that featured the ULi M1575 Southbridge for full SATA2 3GB/sec drive support and uncompromised USB performance. In addition, the A8R-MVP turned out to be an outstanding overclocker. We were very pleased with the value of the A8R-MVP and praised the board in our A8R-MVP launch review.

However, some realities set in as the A8R-MVP made its way to market in volume. Many complained that a 2T Command Rate was required for overclocks above 260/265 clock speed - something that we initially missed due to 2T being the Auto default on reset of the A8R-MVP. The A8R-MVP was very fast at 2T, but everyone expected that it would be even faster at 1T. In addition, the high overclocks required a slow progression to the overclock speed in 5 to 10 MHz increments, as we had reported in our initial review. We had seen this on other boards, but this overclocking requirement is often a real time-waster with serious overclockers.

The great news with the A8R-MVP was that it had no difficulty whatsoever with ATI Dual x8 Crossfire. The simple paddle design seemed to succeed where more complicated designs often failed with 2 ATI video cards in Crossfire mode. The A8R-MVP, therefore, became the board of choice for ATI Crossfire video.

Fast forward to today's launch of the ATI RD580 chipset. Asus is now shipping the updated Asus A8R32-MVP, which is widely available for purchase at the launch of the ATI RD580 chipset. Asus has certainly updated their ATI chipset board with the RD580 chipset and Dual x16 capabilities to compete with the best AMD chipsets available, but they have done more than merely update the A8R-MVP with a new chipset. Asus has listened to buyers and answered the concerns, complaints, and suggestions of A8R-MVP buyers. The result is an Asus A8R32-MVP that is definitely worth your attention.

We said in our A8R-MVP review that we really hoped that Asus would deliver a super high-end board, much like the Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe, which is an 8-phase Asus design. The A8R32-MVP is still not that top-end design, but Asus has added enough to the A8R32-MVP to move it to the Deluxe name. When we talked to Asus about the positioning of the A8R32-MVP, they were clear that the board performance had been improved and the board is a superb overclocker. However, we will likely not see the full-blown treatment until the AM2 version of the A8R32.

In checking with other major motherboard manufacturers, DFI and Abit will be launching top-end RD580 motherboards, but many vendors like MSI and ECS will not have an RD580 offering until the AM2 launch. This makes some sense, since RD580 fully supports AM2 and AM2 is now expected within 3 months of this official RD580 launch. However, we are grateful that Asus, DFI and Abit decided to go ahead with a Socket 939 version of RD580, since it is looking as if RD580 will be an outstanding chipset for the AMD processor.

Two things stand out about the Radeon Xpress 3200 chipset:
  • RD580 is a true Dual x16 PCIe design with both x16 PCIe slots off the north bridge.


  • The RD580 was designed from the ground up for high-speed overclocking. In fact, most RD580 boards will be able to run at around 300 clock frequency at the base 5X (1000) HTT frequency instead of having to drop to 3X (600) as on other chipsets.
This a review of the shipping A8R32-MVP Deluxe. This is an important and much talked about update to the popular Asus A8R-MVP. As a result, we wanted buyers who are trying to make an AMD buying decision to know what will is now in the market. The RD580 was broadly covered in our ATI RD580: Dual x16 Crossfire Preview last November.

Asus A8R32-MVP: Board Layout
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  • ocyl - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Page 4 mentions that there is an Asus board called "A8N32-MVP." Does anyone know where to find more information about this board, if it does exist?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    It should have read A8N32-SLI and has been corrected. Thank you. Reply
  • Darthb0b0 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    I'd like to see numbers of both X1800 and X1900 Crossfire, on both the A8R and A8R32 (four sets of numbers for those who are math impaired). I am much more interested in how this new board, and its price premium, affect Crossfire performance. Reply
  • nicolasb - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Can we have some comparable benchmarks for 7800GTX 512 as well as 7800GTX? And 7800GTX 512 in SLI mode too. Reply
  • whippingboy79 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    **"The NVIDIA 7800GTX and ATI X1900XT are readily available for purchase in the marketplace. Since the 7800GTX 512 is not available for sale anywhere and has not been available for weeks, it seemed unfair to compare x1900XT results to products that are not available for purchase."**

    Please don't take this personally Anandtech but your reviews are seriously flawed...
    This article should of only been written if the proper hardware was available for testing.

    If that was the case then the article should review a X1800XT Crossfire vs the 7800gtx 256 SLI in the A8R32-MVP.... These cards are based on competing technologies 2-3 quarters ago..... The X1900 series cards are based on current technologies as are the new 7900 from Nvidia and some might throw in the 7800gtx 512-
    Back in december the 7800gtx 512 was readily available on launch- give the 1900xt another 2 months and we will see what the availability of the product looks like. Even now the 1900xt is in low quantities.. give it another 3 weeks and well you get the picture.

    I have been finding that some of the Anandtech writers are not objective enough. They have a habit of allowing thier personal views and tastes on hardware flaw their testing and results. Sadly I can still recall the days when Anandtech was a viable resource.....

    Reply
  • dali71 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    That's funny, I just checked three of the main reputable online vendors and found that they all appeared to have plenty of the X1900 series in stock and priced reasonably as well (reasonable being a relative term when referring to high end video cards). I then checked the same three vendors for the 7800GTX 512. Only one actually had listings for the cards, but they were all backordered and ridiculously overpriced as well. So since you are obviously a biased Nvidia fanboi, why don't YOU give it another 3 weeks to 2 months and see if you can extract your foot from your mouth when X1900s are still readily available. Reply
  • Sh0ckwave - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Seriously you guys need to stop flaming every article Anandtech publishes. Get over it, if you don't like their reviews don't read them. IMO Anandtech is still the best and always has been. Reply
  • Matthews316 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    I would have liked to see a side by side graph comparison of these two boards with crossfire enabled. That way we could get an idea if the dual x 16 PCI-E slots on the A8R32-MVP made any significant gaming performance improvement over the dual x 8 PCI-E slots on the A8R-MVP. Otherwise I really enjoyed the review, and I'll probably be purchasing one of these boards once the price settles down a little. Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Well, well, well - the disappearing Asus Mobo Hype. I lost count is this the forth or fifth hype posting in the past ten days that has been up, down, up, down, up, down and a real jerk around?

    After the abortion A8R-MVP Asus shipped as a designed for "serious overclockers" piece of garbage, they can stick the A8R32 where the Sun don't shine. The A8R-MVP was the most over-hyped under performing mobo ever sold and IMNHO a fraud as it doesn't come even close to delivering the advertised performance Asus claims.

    I find it amazing how Asus feeds Anandtech all the info. they desire but Asus can't or won't fix the defective A8R-MVP mobos that have documented memory incompatibility issues, 1T timing issues, vcore voltage issues, MVP card issues and more. Asus has the balls to dump the defective A8R-MVP mobo into the marketplace and then flat refuse to even support this malfunctioning mobo or even discuss with their customers any solution to the long list of problems. Asus completely ignores its customers and has provided no BIOS upgrades that fix any of the listed problems above. Once upon a time we had good Asus mobos but for the past several years Asus has been unable to deliver any reliable, properly functioning mobos. It took them four different SLI models to get an SLI32 mobo that performs equal to every other mobo companies SLI X16 mobo, so you gotta believe Asus has engineering issues.

    As if to illustrate how gullible some consumers are the A8R32 addresses some but not all of the problems on the A8R-MVP that according to Anandtech and Asus were not problems at all. This must be like with MICROSUCKS where bad security code isn't a defect it's a "feature". It's amazing the B.S. that is published to suck up to unscrupulous manufacturers. The disguised damage control is for the naive who don't have a clue. If a S939 mobo can't run standard industry DIMMS in 1T and the vcore voltage varies 100 mV or more, the mobo is a problem child. The fact that Asus still deletes the proper vcore voltage options in BIOS on the A8R32 tells me they still have engineering problems IMNHO.

    Sorry Wes but these Asus reviews are not objective scientific tests any more they are just marketing hype. It looks like you're way too close to Asus to tell the whole story instead of regurgitating the glowing marketing hype. When Asus recalls all of the defective A8R-MVP mobos and replaces them with properly functioning A8R-MVP mobos, then they'll prove they have their act together and that they care about their customers. Otherwise IMNHO they are just an unscrupulous company dumping defective goods into the marketplace to defraud consumers.

    Looks like there is little value in reading Anandtech any more as it's become unreliable just like THG did after Tom left. We ain't buying the hype and Asus can shove their entire product line where the Sun don't shine. They may have made short term profits by defrauding A8R-MVP buyers with defective goods, but in the long term they will lose a lot of customers to other mobo makers.
    Reply
  • theprodigalrebel - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    i was almost paying attention to your post, but you lost me when you wrote 'microsucks'.
    stupid troll.
    Reply

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