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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  • BPB - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    This doesn't make sense: "there will never be another Asus product purchased by our company". Why would a business care about overclocking? A business should care about STABILITY. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    They should have moved the only PCI-E 1x slot to the left. They way it is now, you lose that slot when using a dual slot cooler in the PCI-E 16x slot closest to the processor. Hopefully that will be changed on the AM2 version of the board. Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    a 7800 and 1900 this way we can better gauge the mean performance of the "board" with identical comparison to other previously tested boards because not everyone is going to run out and get a $600 1900 ATI just for this board. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    We DID test the A8R32-MVP with both the X1900XT and the 7800GTX. If you closely at the standard gaming performance graphs on p.9 you will see the orange bars are the A8R32-MVP test eith the X1900XT and the green bars are the same A8R32-MVP tests with the 7800GTX. The other board results are with the 7800GTX so if you compare the green bar to all the blue bars you are comparing 7800GTX performance on ATI and nVidia. In addition, all the bars are labeled with the test board and test video card to prevent confusion.

    This is explained in Test Setup on p.6, and in my comment above, "We reported both results so you could compare 7800GTX performance to the previous boards also tested with the 7800GTX. Since the X1900XT is the latest and fastest video card the results were included for Reference only. As someone else pointed out, when testing Dual X16 Video you have to run SLI on nVidia and Crossfire on ATI (or Intel)."
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    never mind, I see someone asked the same question, but were not given a reasonable answer anyways Reply
  • BPB - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    This is exciting news. But I plan on getting the X1900 AIW, which won't do Crossfire. So, when are we going to see non-Crossfire (Xpress 200-type) versions of this chipset? In the end I may get this board, but I'm hoping I can save a few bucks by getting one without the added cost of Crossfire. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    RD580 is only available as the dual x16 version. With both x16 lanes off the north bridge you can't really leave out a chip, as you can in the nVidia version right now, and lower the price. The single X16 slot and dual x8 Crossfire will be provided by RD480. Reply
  • n7 - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    Looks like a superb motherboard for the price! Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    Look perfect to me. Black, high clocker, built like a tank and relativly inexpensive. I wish they had this two months ago - U seen my DFI chipset mod what a PITA to get silent chipset sitting right under card.:( Not only is ATI chispet seemingly cooler leaving us with passive solutions they clock at least as well if not better.

    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, February 17, 2006 - link

    Also the gap between PCIe cards is perfect to run water blocks too and well as nV/ATI silencers w/o touching or being cramped.. Reply

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