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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  • Beenthere - Monday, February 20, 2006 - link

    No flames at Anandtech. Asus is the mfg. and the one responsible for delivering a proper vcore circuit design, using quality components, etc.

    Don't shoot the messenger for stating the facts. If Asus didn't have design and engineering problems their mobos wouldn't have these confirmed issues reported by numerous hardware review sites.
    Reply
  • arswihart - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Do you have to use the same color RAM slots on ASUS boards for dual-channel, as shown in the pic in this review? Reply
  • Shimmishim - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    it's good to see you catch your mistakes from your previous reviews. i hope next time you'll take users comments/emails more seriously than just brushing it off simply as "others can do it..." other than that. this board looks great! its a shame all this good stuff is coming out 1/2 quarters before AM2 is being released. Reply
  • godrod - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    I need to know on this board if you only have one video card (x1800XT) can you put it into the upper PCI-E slot closest to the CPU socket or does it have to go into the lower slot like the SD480 boards. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    A single video card can go into either x16 PCIe slot. We tried both slots and it will work wekk in either. Reply
  • arswihart - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    this looks nice, I haven't moved from AGP yet, this may just make me do it Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    After Asus's false advertising of the A8R-MVP as being designed for "Serious Overclockers"; After Asus's failure to fix the long list of defects on the A8R-MVP which include 1T memory, Vcore instability, BIOS issues, etc.; After Asus's failure to acknowledge the known problems with the A8R-MVP; After Asus's refusal to even discuss the problems of the A8R-MVP with customers; After Asus's refusal to provide a proper BIOS upgrade to correct the defects in the A8R-MVP; After Asus's denial that the A8R-MVP mobo even existed after people bought it; After Asus's refusal to provide the same BIOS to consumers that they provided to Anandtech...

    there will never be another Asus product purchased by our company. Asus can stick their entire product line where the Sun don't shine. They've burned us for the last time. They may think they got away with defrauding consumers with the defective A8R-MVP mobos but they are in for one big surprise.
    Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Sunday, February 19, 2006 - link

    Refusal to provide the same BIOS...
    Hey, that gives me an idea! I wonder if Anandtech still has their A8R-MBP -- if they do, they should make a bios backup and post it!
    Reply
  • matthewfoley - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    If any of you read the article they offered anyone who emailed them a copy of the same bios that they used. If you really want it I can get it for you. Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Sunday, March 05, 2006 - link

    Oh, I don't even have the board, but shouldn't it be easy to post the BIOS on the site rather than just through e-mail? Reply

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