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  • karlreading - Monday, August 30, 2004 - link

    i braught the chaintech vnf3-250 based on the review it recieved at AT and TBPH its a cracking motherboard, plus it easily gets my 2ghz a64-3200+ to 2.4 ghz and lets you run 1ghz HT if u running the cpu stock, something whic supposidly only the nf3 ultra let u do.all in all a very fast, very reliable, very overclockerbul motherboard which i have NMO regrets about buying :) Reply
  • lem79 - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    I have the Epox 8KDA3+ here with an Athlon64 2800+, runs nice, except for one quirk, which Anandtech failed to mention here (they probably didn't even know)..

    Cool'n'Quiet only works on this board when _one_ DIMM slot is in use (that is, DIMM1). If there's RAM in DIMM2 and DIMM3 slots, Cool'n'Quiet gets disabled by the BIOS (July revision, earlier BIOS images leave it enabled, but Cool'n'Quiet activation causes system instability and lockups). Epox themselves told me that this was the case.

    I think the review needs updating..
    Reply
  • operator - Sunday, June 06, 2004 - link

    I have the same question as #25. with a small addition.

    when will the msi k8n or the epox board be available in Canada?
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    This is a very good review Wesley, thanks. I really like how you went into detail with memory and boards FSB capabilites for the clockers out here.:) Looks like the Chaintech is the board for me. Cheap and a real performer. It's really to bad nVidia failed to have a decent sound solution though. Reply
  • Sk0t - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Nice review.... BUT Im unable to understand why the Epox 8KDA3+ was awarded gold, and MSI K8n Neo Platinum only awarded silver ?

    Epox pros over MSI:
    6th pci-slot
    Slightly better overclocking

    MSI pros over Epox:
    Firewire
    3 working dimm sockets (at 400mhz)
    Slightly better layout (dimm-sockets)
    Supports Cool&Quiet*

    *Since the review seems to completly ignore cool&quiet (unless i missed it?) I will stick to my current rule of thumb, that only Asus & MSI fully supports this feature

    Did I miss some wonderfull feature on the Epox ? or was slightly better overclocking considered more important than features & layout ?
    Reply
  • gmenfan - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Does anyone know when the MSI K8N Neo will be available? Thanks. Reply
  • mbf - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Nice review! I just have one question; how can there be boards *without* ECC support, when the A64 has the memory controller on-die and it *inherently* supports unbuffered ECC memory? I'm especially thinking of the Epox and MSI boards, since they interest me the most (hardware firewall et al).

    Actually, I wrote to MSI (US) about this and was told that indeed ECC is supported and the "non-ECC" statement on the product spec page was erroneous. The page was immediately updated (http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?mode... However, only the US site has been updated, and neither the manual (PDF) nor the BIOS available from the MSI Taiwan site state ECC support. Neither do the manual or BIOS for the Epox board.

    As ECC support is pretty important to me having had some bitter experiences with regular memory, I was wondering if some kind person at Anandtech might be persuaded to throw in a stick of unbuffered ECC memory into either the K8N Neo or the Epox 8KDA3 and let me know if the memory is detected as such? I'd really appreciate the effort!

    I know the ASUS K8N-E Deluxe (http://www.asus.com.tw/products/mb/socket754/k8n-e... states ECC support, but it's anyone's guess when that board will be out, since they cannot even make their mind up if the board is to be shown on their home page or not (right now it is, tomorrow it may not).
    Reply
  • l3ored - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    price is mentioned as a component in electing the epox as the gold winner, so whats the current street price? Reply
  • SilverRyu - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    Do you think shuttle will make a 250Gb or K8T800Pro XPC? Reply
  • cnq - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    Nice writeup...
    A question about overclocking: you tested at 1:1 ratios, meaning you didn't really find the bounds of the FSB/HTT so much as you found the bounds of the PC4400 RAM that you used. If you had dropped the RAM ratio, do you have any indication which boards could have topped 300 MHz? I am of course thinking of your great AK89 Max review from a few weeks back, where you made waves by showing FSB/HTT speeds of 347 MHz. Will you have time to do similar tests on these new boards? (Or, for that matter, can I ask why you didn't do similar tests on these new boards? Is it merely because ClockGen hasn't yet been ported to NF250?)

    I'd also like to second the suggestion made by posting #1 (he mentions aceshardware.com. techreport.com has also chimed in with recent articles on the subject. Not surprisingly, their conclusion is to just avoid cheap Realtek products if you want good CPU utilization. And sudhian.com found great ethernet performance with low CPU overhead from the NF250-GB chip's embedded controller.)
    Reply
  • Odeen - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    There is a difference between SATA native to chipset, and SATA native to the OS.

    SATA native to chipset means the chipset runs the SATA internally, off the Hypertransport or V-Link bandwidth, which is at least a gigabyte/second.

    Intel's implementation of SATA is cool because to the OS it emulates a standard IDE controller. (Thus it's "native" to the OS.) The downside of this approach is that every OS other than XP gets horribly confused seeing two primary and two secondary controllers. (i.e. your PATA1 is Primary, your PATA2 is Secondary, your SATA1 is.. again Primary) Without "compatibility" options in the BIOS, which limits you to four drives total (i.e. SATA channels become masters on IDE1 and IDE2, with PATA masters becoming slaves, and PATA slaves dropping off the map, or, as an alternative, PATA2 disappearing, and SATA1 and SATA2 becoming PATA1 Master and PATA1 Slave) Win2K and DOS-based utilities (such as bootable Antivirus or Partitioning program CD's and utilities like the drive test disks that you get with a hard drive,) fail on startup.

    Running SATA as a SCSI-over-IDE, requiring drivers, is a more flexible approach, but requires the use of driver floppies. Still, there's something neat about having four drives all hooked up as masters (2 SATA / 2 PATA) and installing XP without driver floppies.

    I'm not sure how it can be remotely possible with a 4 drive SATA controller, though.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    Does anybody know if the NF3 chipset has any functionality similar to Intel's SATA, like is SATA done natively without needing any special drivers or programs for the os to use or understand? Reply
  • rms - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    I also would have preferred to see feature benchmarking instead of cpu/memory benchmarking.

    rms
    Reply
  • Zak - Sunday, May 30, 2004 - link

    2 RAM slots on the Abit mobo??? They call THAT an improvement??? Why can't there be at least 4? With 1GB chips' prices being still very high that would be a major selling point for many. I'd upgrade my mobo instantly if I could stick 4 512MB DDR400 chips and not have them run at 333...

    Zak
    Reply
  • Odeen - Sunday, May 30, 2004 - link

    I'm very surprised that none of the motherboards except for MSI actually implemented all the features of their chipsets. Both the NF3-250GB and the K8T800 Pro support 4 chipset-level SATA ports, but only MSI has all 4. If it wasn't for that Corecell silliness, I'd be taking a long, hard look at the MSI board. Reply
  • Crassus - Sunday, May 30, 2004 - link

    Whats the point of showing benchmarks when all the boards perform within margin of error? When the memory controller is part of the CPU there's IMHO little point in benchmarking it.

    Why not go after the components that make a bigger difference, esp. HDD, Ethernet and stuff in terms of throughput, CPU utilisation and so?
    Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    #11

    In RAM, generally speed increases are more noticible in real world performance than timings.

    Obviously if you have 400 cas 3-3-3-8, versus 400 cas 2-2-2-11, 2-2-2-11 would win. Generally though, speed is more important than timings after a certain point.

    Reply
  • bigtoe33 - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    #9

    I think you may have one of these supposed 3000 boards that have non-pro chipsets that Abit says are pro chipsets but really appear to be not..

    I would take your issue to Abit.
    Reply
  • qquizz - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    Concerning the overclock. I can overclock the crap out of my XP2100+, but I keep it at levels where it's stable using Prime95 and Memtest. I wonder if these overclocks can meet my standards? Reply
  • gplracer - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    All of the ram in this comparision was CAS3. I wonder how the CAS3 at 270mhz compares to CAS@ at 250mhz. I run my corsair at that speed now. Reply
  • intercollector - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    I'm a little surprised to see why the MSI K8N didn't get the gold compared to the Epox. Both seem almost identical in every way, except that the K8N seems to include Firewire. Shouldn't this feature make it surpass the Epox board?

    The only downside of the MSI board seems to be the limit of a 300 max FSB, which is probably fine for 99.99% of overclockers.
    Reply
  • Klaasman - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    #7-
    Thanks for link, but my KV8 Pro still wont boot when selecting "fixed" in bios setup.
    Why wouldn't my board have the pro chip? Manufacturing screw up maybe?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    #6 -
    Bank Interleaving is not an option in any of the BIOS' tested here. Many current BIOS enable Bank interleaving by default. Where it is an option, we definitely enable the best interleaving option available and list what we set in the memory chart. We are not ignoring this option.
    Reply
  • bigtoe33 - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    If you are looking for the latest Abit KV8 pro bios have a look here. http://www.bleedinedge.com/download/bios/abit%20am...

    multi support and PCI lock inc. if your pro board won't lock the pci bus with this bios then your board may not have the pro chipset.
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    Well after finishing the article, I was wondering why none of the boards are run with bank interleaving on? Doesn't it increase memory performance for the ones that support it? Reply
  • Myrandex - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    On the KV8 spec page, it states:
    Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by nF3-250
    No FireWire

    Should be K8T800 Pro instead of nF3-250.
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • Klaasman - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    What revision of KV8 Pro were you using and what bios version?
    Nobody else with a recently purchased KV8 can get the locks to work. How come your board does?
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    Anandtech should have looked at the problem that the Chaintech VNF3-250 has with it's RAID and installing an OS, and the problem where the board refuses to boot from SATA if you enable RAID on any IDE HDDs. People've said they've been able to circumvent it, but I haven't got it to work yet, and Chaintech is worthless when it comes to customer service. I received an automated response about 6 or 7 days after my initial submission on their website (they have no US phone number.) And I still have not received an email from a representative yet. Reply
  • RyanVM - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    If there's so little variation in system performance between these, why not look at other aspects like USB throughput/CPU utilization, IDE/SATA throughput, ethernet throughput/CPU utilization, etc.

    Ace's Hardware just did a great article showing that the rather crummy components being used these days on cheaper motherboards have a pretty large impact in performance in those areas.
    http://www.aceshardware.com/read.jsp?id=65000298
    Reply

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