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  • Term - Monday, September 27, 2004 - link

    Uhm.. the new ASUS bios fix the OC stability problem with SATA right? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, September 18, 2004 - link

    #34 - The Asus K8N-E manual does state 3MB of memory as the maximum capacity. The specifications have been corrected in the review. Reply
  • LocutusX - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    Daxzus,

    For more accurate "real-world advice" concerning the K8N-E, please see the unofficial thread for that mobo at the Anandtech forums. There are people there who have been using it extensively for the last 2 months, who have tried a wide variety of components/overclocking on it.
    Reply
  • justly - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    #27 – Wesley
    Thank you for the explanation about your testing methodology, now I feel more comfortable knowing that you do check for these minor deviations when comparing new products against older ones.

    #28 – Wesley (again)
    I agree about it being a shame that SiS seems to always get dumped on by big name motherboard manufactures and that even when a good product hits the street it seems to get forgotten about or overlooked. The thing is I still think you are just as guilty as many others reviewers. If you don’t understand what I mean then just look at #32 (by PrinceGaz) since I would have said the EXACT same thing.
    This might be a little arrogant of me, but would it really hurt to mention their product when talking about a section of the market that they perform so well in (non-overclockers).
    Reply
  • Daxzus - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    also...I was wondering if anyone has a good powersupply and case that might work good for me for a good price. Reply
  • Daxzus - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    I read every thing that was in the review about the 3 diffrent motherboards and I have some questions.

    In the review it was said that the Asus K8N-E deluxe maxed out at 2GB of memory, but at newegg and some all the other places I can buy it from-and even Asus homepage, say that the Asus K8N-E deluxe has a max of 3GB of memory. What this in error in the reveiw or am I looking at buying the wrong board?

    Also I was thinking about buying the Asus K8N-E deluxe and I have a college budget and I was wanting to get some recomendation as to some really good cheap memory to get for it. Also maybe some good budget video cards. I saw that in the review that ATI 9800 was used...wouldn't a Nvidia video card work better considering the chip set?

    but all in all thank for the info that you put into the reviews Fink!

    Dax
    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    I just hope that your upcoming OC article will at least mention sempron 3100+, since you (AT)did promise to OC it, but untill now you have not done so. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    #28 Wesley Fink-

    From the aricle- "If overclocking is not particularly important to you, then one of the first generation boards based on the VIA chipset might also meet your needs at a lower price."

    And your reply- "There is actually another complaint about Sis. None of the Sis A64 cipsets I have tested, including the 939 Reference Board, have a working PCI/AGP lock."

    If overclocking is not particularly important to someone, the lack of a PCI/AGP lock wouldn't matter.
    Reply
  • jwix - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    The article mentions overclocking difficulties with SATA drives with the DFI board being the exception. I wonder....if running 2 drives in a raid 1 config, would it make it any more difficult to overclock on the DFI? Reply
  • LocutusX - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    "The problem is ports 1 and 2 on nVidia are coupled with the PHY Gigabit LAN and generally will not overclock very well."

    Source?
    Reply
  • thebluesgnr - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    #28,

    have you tested any SiS board from ASRock? They claim their K8S8X locks AGP/PCI. I've seen good OC results with that board - including this one:
    http://members.home.nl/ethanol/mem.JPG

    Also, OCWorkBench has a review of the ASRock K8-Upgrade-760GX. They overclocked the FSB to 252MHz on this mATX board, so I can only assume it locks the AGP/PCI buses.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    #24 - justly
    There is actually another complaint about Sis. None of the Sis A64 cipsets I have tested, including the 939 Reference Board, have a working PCI/AGP lock. We sincerely hope this is fixed on the upcoming 939 chipset.

    We liked the Sis chipset very much, but major manufacturers just wouldn't support it. If you recall we awarded the Refernece Board our Editors Choice - as did other web sites - then we all waited for the boards that never came.

    I think Sis is an innovative chipset and we have reviewed all the Sis 754 boards we could find, including DFI and Foxconn. The people at Sis are also great to work with and we would personally love to see a significant win by Sis. Unfortunately, Sis is mainly seen in bargain boards. We agree it's a shame, but we also have to deal with reality in our testing.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    #24 and #26 - Justly -
    Thanks for the benefit of the doubt here. I always compare new drivers to earlier scores to see if there are substantive differences. Frankly if there are I normally stick with the old drivers for consistency.

    That is the reason you have not seen us using Divx 5.2, for instance, in place of 5.1.1. When we tested 5.2 the performance differences from 5.1.1 were significant. Eventually we will replace 5.1.1 with the latest Divx when it fits the schedule to do retesting.

    The performance differences I found cannot be explained with 4.8 vs. 4.5 ATI drivers. I suspect BIOS tweaks DO have something to do with it however, which, as you are suggesting, probably means the earlier boards with later BIOS' are probably also faster.

    There is always the trade off between changing driver versions for testing and keeping drivers up-to-date. I can only say AnandTech is very cautious about driver versions - particularly in ongoing test/database areas like motherboards.

    You will soon be seeing a new General Performance Benchmark at AnandTech, since Veritest and PC Magazine have discontinued support for Winstones (and they don't work well with SP2). We will be talking more about this in an upcoming review.
    Reply
  • justly - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    #25 – I understand the delay involved in retesting. I am not trying to say that retesting is required for comparison, but if the scores where just copied then it would be nice to see it pointed out on the test configuration or in the final words that more than one video driver was used.

    Actually a while back (around the time of “the real slim shady” article) I noticed identical systems being retested (using identical software/drivers) where the scores fluctuated more than the difference I suspect this article might have. So I am really giving Wesley a lot of credit (although it may not sound like it) for being able to set up systems months apart with such consistency.

    Really the only complaint I have (other than leaving out SiS) is that if he did what I suspect, then it should have been mentioned in the article. Then again if what I suspect is true it might have been better to leave out the whole first paragraph on the final word page.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    #24 - I understand the desire to see comparable scores, but retesting on old hardware with new drivers would probably add a week or two of work. I certainly wouldn't want to do it! Then there are BIOS revisions that need to be updated as well. Yuck. :p

    I think it's relatively safe to say that performance with most of the other Nforce3-250 boards is going to be about the same as these, and the only remaining factor tends to be overclocking and features. I'm perfectly happy with my MSI K8N Neo Platinum. Were I buying a new S754 board today, it would still be a tough call between the DFI and the MSI board. I don't like the Asus look (or lack of certain features), and the same goes for the Soltek.

    Really, I think I would still stick with my MSI board. It would probably end up coming down to what else was included with the motherboard - nice rounded IDE cables would be great, as would a rounded floppy cable (because I still use a floppy drive on occasion). Just one man's opinion, of course.
    Reply
  • justly - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Wesley, first off I would like to say that I think your articles are some of the best on Anandtech. The thing is I still see a few things in your articles that “ever so slightly” annoy me.
    One is this quote “If overclocking is not particularly important to you, then one of the first generation boards based on the VIA chipset might also meet your needs at a lower price.” WELL WHAT ABOUT SiS. It seems that Anandtech has amnesia when it comes to SiS chipsets. Other than the very first SiS based socket 754 motherboard (the ECS 755-A) all Anandtech reviews seem to have only one main complaint about the SiS chipset, it overclocking abilities. So why don’t you mention it?

    The other thing is that by looking through the Generation 2 Socket 754 Roundup it appears that the Generation 2 motherboard results where copied not retested. I think it would be fine to do (for comparison sake) if everything was the same but in the Generation 2 Socket 754 Roundup it shows a different video driver than what is listed for the Socket 754 Roundup, Part 3. So I have to ask is there absolutely no performance difference between the cat 4.5 and cat 4.8 drivers, or could the reason that the 3rd generation boards seem slightly faster have something to do with the video driver being used?

    I realize that my concerns are very trivial and probably have no effect on the outcome of the article, but to be fair to the other chipset and motherboard manufactures I still think they are valid questions, trivial yes but still valid.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    #21 and #22 - The full implementation of nF3-250Gb is 4 SATA ports that can be combined in any way in RAID with the IDE ports. Asus implemented 2 nVidia SATA ports plus 4 Silicon Image SATA ports.

    The problem is ports 1 and 2 on nVidia are coupled with the PHY Gigabit LAN and generally will not overclock very well. Ports 3 and 4 generally perform as well as regular IDE on the nF3-250Gb chipset.
    Reply
  • jediknight - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    OK... I'm confused here. I thought Asus added an *extra* RAID controller in addition to the one provided in the stock 250gb implementation. Am I wrong here? Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    "The decision by Asus to use Silicon Image SATA instead is really a drawback in overclocking."

    Instead of what?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    #18 -
    Quite a few users are reporting success using the Mobile Athlon 64 chips with the DFI LANParty UT. Many are stating the DFI recognizes the mobiles just fine and sets the correct settings for the mobile chips. In fact you will see this combination as an alternate in an upcoming OC Guide.

    The biggest issue with the 754 mobiles on a desktop, once the board compatability is fine, is the HSF. Most won't make good contact with the mobile that does not use a heatshield. I am hearing decent things about the Thermalright XP-90 sink with mobiles on a K8.
    Reply
  • Staples - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    I bought a 3200+ system a week ago and this Soltek board. I am glad to see that incomparison, this board's performance fairs really well. There is a big thread here and it seems quite a few people are experiencing various problems with it. Myself included. I think any potential buyer who is inticed by the cheap price might want to check it out before deciding on this one. Reply
  • Illissius - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Excellent review, and excellent boards. The only nitpick I have is that you say the three boards are constantly trading performance leads in the stock benchmarks; in reality, the Asus K8N-E and Soltek K8FNAEDKJL:DSGKJ3 trade wins and the DFI is usually behind them, where by a larger, where by a smaller margin, except for the Far Cry test where it manages to squeak a win by a fraction of a FPS.
    The DFI board is damn near perfect. There are only three minor problems with it: (1) The various stuff on the board that is glaring yellow is not blue instead; (2) It is not Abit; (3) It's slightly slower at stock speeds than the Asus and Soltek. Otherwise it's completely perfect, if I were buying a board right now it would absolutely be the one I'd choose.
    One topic I'd like to see touched upon is support for mobile/DTR processors; mobiles AXPs were hugely succesful overclockers, but the mobile A64s are held back by almost universally substandard motherboard support for them. A 35W (1.2V) Mobile 2800+ coupled with the Lanparty UT would be pretty amazing, if it worked.
    Reply
  • DoobieOnline - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Hey Wesley, that's weird that you couldn't get to 9x250 with a SATA drive on the Soltek. I'm using that board and running 10x250 with a 74GB Raptor on NVIDIA SATA 1. It's a great board for under $100! - doobie Reply
  • devonz - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Just a thought. When you review memory modules you untimately produce comparison charts of the top overclocked performance of the modules. Why not have a set of graphs showing the top overclocked performance of motherboards so we can judge them based on that information too? Reply
  • icarus4586 - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    It would have been interesting, just as a side-note, to see some tests on the DFI running at CAS 1.5, whether they were here or in the article on that board specifically. I've never seen any board/RAM that can run at 1.5-2-2 Reply
  • LocutusX - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Regarding the Asus board:

    Wesley, is your A64 a Newcastle/CG revision or Clawhammer/C0? I have absolutely no issues running my Newcastle 3000+ @ 255FSB - it's like a rock. But yeah, I am using PATA.

    Also, note that there is a new BIOS (1005) for the K8N-E which allows usage of 2.8v V_dimm on the 1.05 revision mobos.
    Reply
  • jensend - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    I think it would be interesting to see tests of how well different s754 chipsets and boards do with the Paris core Sempron. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    The information in the Soltek Features table has been updated to reflect the latest BIOS values. Reply
  • Gundamit - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Price performance ratio is so much stonger for the 754. Thats why I decided to go for the DFI right now. In 6-8 months I'll take another look at the 939.

    The only dissapointment in the article was the fact you ran the 1.5 CAS setting but didn't post any results. Maybe it would have been out of place in a "roundup". BTW- Is still a round-up with only three mobos or cows? Maybe you could run some benchmarks and update the original LanpartyUT review?



    Reply
  • ceefka - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    If you haven't bought anything yet: The 754's only real disadvantage I can think of is its upgrade path or non existence thereof. It is still a very good platform. So what if it is limited to 2/3GB of RAM support. There are not many home users with 2GB+ of RAM. Reply
  • MemberSince97 - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Boy, ya sure dont here much noise from FIC these days. Reply
  • MemberSince97 - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Edit ^^^Mr Fink......... Reply
  • MemberSince97 - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Good job Mr Finks, Keep on truckin... Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Things can change. Ask anyone who has gone from madly in love to a divorce :-)

    I was very clear that 939 is still faster at the same speed by 2% to 5%. We really expected 939 to make a bigger performance difference than it does when we wrote the pre-939 review. We also had no idea at that point that AMD would keep 939 so much more expensive than 754 and introduce value A64s only in 754 clothes.

    I really don't think there is anything inconsistent in our statements. 939 still performs better at the same speed, but many can't or won't pay the current price of 939 admission. 754 can also pass 939 in performance if you can reach higher overclocks with 754.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    #3 - Good luck connecting your IDE cable to a SATA port. I understand your point, but most everyone understands IDE refers to the 40-pin connector. Reply
  • draazeejs - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Nice article, but I think AT should stay a bit consistent in their statements. Approx. a week before the s939 for A64 was released, they said - wait, do not buy any s754 mobos and CPUs, s939 is the future bla bla bla. Now, 2 months later, they even suggest to buy s754, because the s939 is just by far too expensive at the moment. Money rules the world... Reply
  • Zepper - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    FYI: SATA=IDE, to differentiate, it's SATA and PATA...
    .bh.
    Reply
  • Avalon - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    I wonder why the DFI board suffers those two noticeable drops in Specviewperf. Not that Specviewperf is something that matters to me, but it's a bit weird. Reply
  • thebluesgnr - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - link

    Will AnandTech review the ASRock K8 Combo-Z board? Reply

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