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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  • superkdogg - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    If you had been working for half the time you have been whining on every forum you can find, you could have bought two SLI-Experts or whatever motherboard you think has no problems.

    Dude, get over it. The A8R was not exactly as reviewed here. Is that disappointing? Yep. Unfair? Maybe. Fact is, anybody who bought it for the "serious overclocking" that you're referencing would do a vMod and get on with it. I have two A8R's. One is dead because I was stupid and tried a vMod. My soldering needs work. I bought a second one on refurb for $75 because I realized that in the best case, that vMod might get me another 150 MHz. You know what else would get me 150 MHz? Dusting off a Pentium Pro in my basement. I could also get the 2% benefit that 1T timing would give me from chance, since most 'marks are + or - 2-3%.

    I was burned by the same problem you were. I have learned to live with it and am currently happily running 300x9 with ram @ 2.5-4-4-9, 2T (166/200). That's not bad for standard blue heatspreader Patriot that runs about $80 per gig.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Omid, is that you? Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Should have run the 3DMark benches with the 7800GTX like all the other boards so at least we could see if the board itself (the object of review) offered any particular performance gain or loss. :[ Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    oic now, thanks. :)

    green bars. tricksy hobbitses!
    Reply
  • Missing Ghost - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    I am unhappy with the pictures of the board included in this review. I can't see anything on them because they are too dark. I couldn't even tell if they were a firewire port on the back. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    The pictures are not overly dark on several monitors we tried in reading the review. I'm sorry I don't have advice in that area.

    As stated in the review, both Firewire ports are on an accesory bracket included with the motherboard. The bracket will fit in an empty slot or can be routed to case firewire ports.
    Reply
  • Googer - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    What Phase Power is this motherboard using? 2,3,4,8,24? Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Any properly designed 3-phase or greater CPU vcore circuit that complies with AMD's VRM64/T specs will work just fine. If however a mfg. delivers a poor circuit design or uses inferior MOSFETS, caps, etc., then you experience Vcore instability which causes all kinds of operational Hell. More phases just lowers the ripple and spreads the load across more MOSFETS. Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    BTW, if you check the A8R-MVP, the A8N series and the Asus P5GL-MX you'll see that all of these mobos have been confirmed to have vcore instability problems when tested at the mobo with a DVM or scope. Asus seems to have some significant mobo engineering issues they can't resolve... and that are not present on other brands of mobos using the same chipsets. Reply
  • Ecmaster76 - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Do you work for DFI or Abit or something? This is the third site where I have ran into you flaming Asus constantly!


    (where did I put that troll repellant)

    Seriously, link some proof of said Vcore instability. Show me scope printouts of the Vcore lines (and the 12v rails that were used to drive it)
    Reply

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