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  • GliderPilot - Monday, January 09, 2006 - link

    Well i have finally gotten my replacement board, and again i have a major issue with it. It seems that in some fit of wisdom, one of asus's underpaid engineers placed a heatpipe right in the way of the x4 PCIe slot. You might not have a use for them, but i certainly do. I have a PowerColor Theatre 550Pro x1 TV Tuner that is right now occupying an x16 slot. While i dont intend to do SLI, i would dearly like to have dual tuners without having to have one on pci, the other on PCIe Reply
  • wbloon - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    I'm not a big gamer. But I currently drive 2 monitors and with the new system want to drive at least 3 monitors and possibly a TV.

    So my question is can I drive two video boards but not in SLI mode, since it is my understanding that SLI will only drive one monitor.

    I understand that I could get away with a board like the DFI Ultra and have 16 lanes to one card and 4 lanes to another and that would probably meet my needs but I'd like stretch the envelope where ever possible because the future keeps coming despite my best efforts.

    Terry Clark
    Reply
  • GliderPilot - Monday, January 09, 2006 - link

    unless you are gaming on both cards (which probably wont) having 4 lanes is more than sufficient. The bandwidth would be comparable to AGP4 in the downstream. This solution is about as future proof as it gets. To answer your question, yes this board basically has 2 full bandwidth X16 slots, what you do with them is up to you. Buying this board soley for the extra 16 lanes is really a waste of money, unless there is some other reason you like it Reply
  • BibbidyBobidyBoo - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link

    I recently purchased this motherboard and an Antec NeoHe 550W PS and the combo worked great for about 5 to 10 min and then the computer spontaneously shuts down. The issue is with the PS not the MB. The Antec TruePowerII 550W PS works just fine. I believe the incompatibility is from the amount of current supplied on the 12V and 5V lines, it may match the ATX2.2 spec however it is not completely backwards compatible with this Asus MB.

    Beware this issue has also been noted on other Asus MB’s.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp...">Newegg Customer Reviews">http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp...

    Reply
  • JNo - Thursday, November 10, 2005 - link

    Can someone confirm to me that no single x16 video slot version of this Asus motherboard exists? I get the impression that none does. Also, anyone know if the latest zalman CPU coolers fit? Finally, I know most here wouldn't care for the Asus automatic overclocking results but for someone like me, can you please inform me, Wesley, as to how much of a boost does the inbuilt Asus overclocking facility provide please?
    Many thanks
    Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Umm, this new chipset is for SLI, thus the chipset name x16 SLI. The pci-e video slot is already x16 on every single video slot socket 939 pci-e motherboard. Up til now, SLI motherboards had to split the x16 into two x8 pci-e graphic slots. Thus, you will never see a single slot video care motherboard using this chipset.

    And yes, it has been confirmed by current users that the Zalman coolers fit.

    Due to the fact that Asus's Overclocking Utilities lack a number of settings that are available in the bios, ie. memory settings, you'll only be able to get a small overclock before the system becomes instable. Overclocking via the bios is the only way to go to ensure a stable overclock.
    Reply
  • qquizz - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Whatever happened to BF2 benchies? Reply
  • huges84 - Monday, November 07, 2005 - link

    quote:

    We will be adding Battlefield 2 and Call of Duty 2 benchmarks in future reviews. The benchmarks that we have been testing for these two games are not completely reliable for both single-video and SLI testing, so they were not usable in a review that compares SLI performance. As we find solutions to these issues, we will benchmark with these new games.


    Quoted from page 7
    Reply
  • DieLate - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Wesley, any chance of a measurement of northbridge & "stack cool" heatsinks? If you or someone else with one could measure how high off the motherboard they rise, that would be great.

    I'm hoping the Thermaltake Big Typhoon or Thermalright SI-120 would fit, as they have somewhere around 2" raised off the board (though the heatpipes might still hit the northbridge heatsink :( ).
    Reply
  • DieLate - Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - link

    Nevermind.
    I have confirmed elsewhere the TT BT fits without any issues.
    Reply
  • Per Hansson - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Hi, what type of capacitors did Asus choose to use on this mainboard?

    It looks like all caps are of the same type, (bar the CPU filter caps) is it Chemicon perhaps?
    Reply
  • Klaasman - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    You guys at Anandtech should try cleaning the dust out of your HSF once in a while. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    We have received a number of emails questioning our results since some other sites who found twice the performance with Dual x16 tested with the nVidia SLI-AA option enabled with Coolbits in very recent nVidia drivers.

    We have complete results of SLI-AA testing with Far Cry - Regulator, the same game tested by sites claiming the 50% performance gain for Dual x16, but we no increase at all in SLI-AA performance.

    ALL components except the motherboard are the same. We even moved the hard drive between the systems to make SURE everything but the motherboard remained the same. Results were the Average of two runs with the very latest 81.87 videodrivers. Memory was 2x512MB of our standard OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 at 2-2-2-7. Memory and CPU were exactly the same in both systems, and the same MSI 7800GTX cards were used for benchmarking.


    nVidia SLI-AA Mode - Far Cry - Regulator Demo - 1600x1200

    8X SLI-AA 16X SLI-AA

    Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe 37.22 20.59

    DFI LANParty nF4 37.89 22.19

    As you clearly see, there is NO difference with nVidia SLI-AA between Dual x8 and Dual x16. In fact the Dual x8 scores are slightly faster, but they are well within error margin and I would call them equivalent - the same.

    Reply
  • Live - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Nice to see this one cleard up. To bad you where right and they where wrong, performance wise that is. Reply
  • mctmcpoop - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    Cound you re-test and compare the result from different X16 bus in A8N32 ? If the X16 slot result from the NF4 chipset is lower compare to X16 from C51D , we can be sure that the C51D X16 is much faster than NF4 chipset Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    This is a really good idea. The only problem is the Micro ATX boards that have this North Bridge do not normally have the memory timing options and other tweaks to allow a direct comparison. Also with an enabled integrated video on the C51 north bridge we are introducing a new variable. We will probably have to wait for other Dual x16 boards to see if we can duplicate these results on the newest, most demanding games. Reply
  • mctmcpoop - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    What I mean is test both of the X16 slot on A8N32 , one X16 bus should be from C51D pci express tunnel chip , the other X16 slot bus should be from the NF4 chip as other normal SLI board ... So if the right X16 slot get good score compare to left X16 slot , that means C51D chip has better design of the pci express x16 bus ... Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    I ran some quick tests comparing the North x16 slot (nearest to CPU) and the South x16 slot on the Asus in the 3 new games that showed the big single-video increases. The South x16 slot was consistently slower than the one nearest the CPU by 2% to 6.7% in our single video performance tests. Perhaps there are difference in performance of the MCP51 and nF4 SLI which each drive one of these slots. We will look at these results again in future Dual x16 board reviews. Reply
  • lopri - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    Another question for Wesley:

    When you say OC isn't as good with SLI as with a single video card setup, is it in general? Or this particular board? Also, what's the reason for it? CPU? Chipset? Power regulation on the board?

    Thanks again for a great review! I'm eagerly waiting for this board!
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    We have noticed that SLI will not overclock as high on other nForce4 boards as well, but I can't tell you the max on each one for SLI. I made this comment because I couldn't duplicate an overclock I had run earlier on this board, realized I had SLI set-up, removed the 2nd card and ran a few quick tests to see the impact of SLI on maximum overclock. Reply
  • deeltje - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    I've been waiting for this board for over 2 weeks now and it still isn't available anywhere in europe.

    So i would love to get this board shipped from USA to The Netherlands (where i live).

    Does anyone know a good USA Computershop that has these boards in stock and accept Mastercard payments!?!?!?!?

    I don't care about the shippingcosts, as long as they can ship FAST :)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Reply
  • Tanclearas - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    If we're supposed to upgrade to new drivers to take advantage of improvements, Nvidia needs to seriously work on their driver upgrades, especially the platform drivers. To avoid problems, we have to use a third-party driver cleaner. The only users that seem to get NAM working are those that do a fresh install of Windows. Any attempt to upgrade drivers and enable NAM results in BSOD.

    This has been brought up before, with AT staff saying that it would be looked into if we could point to information about the problems. Users posted links to forum threads of users experiencing the problem, and there have been more threads since Nvidia released new drivers, but still we wait to hear any follow-up from AT or Nvidia.
    Reply
  • Brian23 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    seriously.

    I'm running 6.66 forceware drivers right now. I'm thinking about formatting so I can get that 17% increase from 6.82. However, I have an ATI card. Is the performance increase due to the forceware drivers, or the graphics drivers? Or is it from the combination of the two?

    Either way, we need a way to upgrade the drivers safely without all the crap of reformatting.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    The 6.82 platform drivers are officially just for Dual X16. The latest platform driver for the regular nForce4/SLI chipset is 6.70. The video drivers that boost performance are the 8x.xx series. The released version on the nVidia website is 81.85 which can be used to improve performance of all recent nVidia video cards. There is also a Beta 81.87 floating around. Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Aren't the 6.82's for the x16 motherboards only? Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the review.

    This is a really nice looking motherboard. The passive cooling is very much welcomed, and the 8-phase power is interesting, and if it saves power that's good.

    I hope that nVidia sort out their audio woes soon however. I look at my >30 month old nForce2 system and that's got way better integrated audio. On a $200 motherboard, is the dolby fee really an issue?

    I could only see one SATA connector for the SI SATA.

    3 PCI slots is nice for backwards compatibility, but in the long run things will emerge for PCIe, and the x4 slot is great and all (esp. for a decent SATA RAID card, then again, there's 6 fricking SATA ports already on the motherboard), but would it have done much harm to have another PCIe slot in place of one of the PCI slots? As long as the middle PCI slot was left for a decent audio card anyway.

    How are the Firewire, SATA and Gigabit controllers connected? Via PCI or PCIe?

    How does the power draw at the socket compare with other solutions?
    Reply
  • cyberfrog4646 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I've read a bunch of complaints on the recent Asus boards that the chipset fans are quite loud and have been breaking down. Is that a potential problem on this board?

    Perfomance to cost wise, is their any reason to choose the Asus over the DFI board?
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    BTW all you got to do is replace chipset fan with a passive chipset heat sink on any asus' budget boards... like $5.. I do anyway on any board ( I cut stock heat sinks in quarters on my table saw). Can't stand those 6000+ rpm whinners.. that particular high pitched tone is really ear pierceing to me. Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Umm, this motherboard doesn't have any chipset fans but uses passive heatpipes for cooling. Did you read the review or look at the pics? Reply
  • cyberfrog4646 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    HAHAHAH, whoops, i just looked at the benchmarks and conclusion. I thought the the pipe was for the cpu based on the opening picture. Ah well, thanks for the info. Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    LOL Reply
  • Live - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    The Techreport writes about overclocking with AMD Cool'n'Quiet here:

    They highlight two important bios options:

    quote:

    You can specify the amount that you want to overvolt the processor as a percentage, and the motherboard will supply that much extra voltage consistently as Cool'n'Quiet slides the CPU voltage up and down through its range of possible values.


    and with regards to memory overclocking:

    quote:

    …because C'n'Q will ramp the processor up to its highest possible multiplier as soon as the system's under load. On my X2 3800+, that would result in a 2.8GHz clock speed and a very nasty crash. The DFI BIOS, however, allows the user to specify a maximum CPU multiplier value for Cool'n'Quiet, neatly solving that problem.


    Does this board have these options in bios?

    As Techreport writes:
    quote:

    I think they should become a practical requirement for an enthusiast motherboard's BIOS.


    I must say I agree.

    Link: http://techreport.com/etc/2005q4/damagebox/index.x...">http://techreport.com/etc/2005q4/damagebox/index.x...
    Reply
  • DieLate - Saturday, November 05, 2005 - link

    Can we get some official info on these questions?
    They're high on my list of features. I was all set to go with the DFI until I saw this review. These features may win me over if the ASUS has them too.
    Reply
  • Live - Monday, November 07, 2005 - link

    It looks like official reply is not going to happen. does anyone know if the Asus A8N SLI;Delux;Premium has this in later bios? If so I would bet this one has it aswell. Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Monday, November 07, 2005 - link

    The latest bios for the Asus A8N-Sli Premium came out yesterday and no, it does not have this feature so I doubt the A8N32-Sli Deluxe will have this feature. Not very many overclocker's use CNQ, so I don't think there's a huge demand for this feature unfortunately. Reply
  • WobbleWobble - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I wonder if it's better than the DFI because of the PEG mode Asus implements on its motherboards, which overclocks the videocard. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    And I disabled "PEG link" mode for our review. Asus has settings in PEG for Auto, Normal, Fast, Faster, and Disabled. We set "Disabled" because we know this trick. Asus suggests using "Faster" for review tests. On the positive side you have that additional performance waiting to be tapped.

    We also turn off the overclocks that are enabled when many boards arrive for review. That's the first thing we check.
    Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Really nice to see such diligence! Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Not by 17% Reply
  • lopri - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Also, if you're running SLI with 2 dual-slot video cards, where are you supposed to put a sound card, or any PCI card? It seems like the only slot available will be, if it's possible at all, the one above the 2nd video card. Not sure how anyone's gonna be able to use any PCI card with SLI.

    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I can't help on the Lian-Li question as I don't have a similar setup, but I am familiar with the upside-down mounting some top-end cases are providing. Our test setup runs the board flat, without the advantage of "heat-rising" and we had no issues. It's a good question for Asus engineering or the Forums.

    As for the slots, check my comments above. With 2 single slot 7800GTX we could still mount 3 PCI and an x4 PCIe - though 2 of the PCI will block video fan exhaust if they are too tall. With double-slot (and worst case) one PCI is usable and one x4 PCIe.
    Reply
  • lopri - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Wesley,

    Could you please comment on the heatpipe's efficiency for this board? This is a real concern for people with Lian-Li V1000, or any case that houses the motherboard upside-down. I had a problem with A8N-SLI Premium board's heatpipe in my case, and I really, really want to know.

    Thank you very much. This review is fantastic.

    lop
    Reply
  • dunce - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    What about using this board in a reverse ATX case? Like that Antec P180 or Silverstone TJ06? This a new trend in ATX cases to improve video card and CPU cooling by flipping the ATX mother board upside down. From what I know about heatpipe cooling the water boils, heat rises with the gases and cools at the “radiator fins” . Right? On this Asus board in a “normal” ATX case this would work great but in a reverse ATX the radiator fins will be at the bottom of the heat pipe exchange and rendered ineffective. Correct?

    Paul
    Reply
  • Live - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Antec P180 does not flip the Motherboard. It places the PSU in a separate chamber below the board. The orientation of the board is still standard tough.

    For cases that does put the motherboard upside down the effectiveness of the heat pipes are decreased.
    Reply
  • Aquila76 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    That's what happened with the A8N-SLI Premium in 'BTX mount' cases like the Lian-Li, etc., I'm sure it happens on this board as well. Reply
  • deeltje - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    In the new cases it won't work, well, it works but the chipsets get insainly HOT!

    I ordered the V1000 but changed to the PC6070B Plus very quick :)

    BTW, any USA shops that has this board in stock and ship abroad???? Anyone???
    Reply
  • trooper11 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    One thing that has been bugging me about this board is the pci-e/pci layout. I was suprised you guys didnt cover that when you talked about the layout of the board.

    I do want to use SLI on this, but I have to be able to use all 3 pci slots and the single pci-e x4 slot all at the same. now the video card i was going to start with is the EVGA 7800GTX KO with the sheathed cooler. now the way the layout looks to me, that would be impossible.

    Did anyone check if the other slots are still useable when using SLI?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Our test rig uses two MSI 7800GTX in SLI mode. They are single slot cards. I was able to install 3 PCI network cards and a PCIe network card in the x4 PCIe slot. They would all fit, but the cards closest to the 7800GTX cards do mostly block the fans on the video cards. With double-slot video cards one PCI and the x4 PCIe would be all that are usable for expansion.

    Asus will be introducing a single-slot dual-GPU 7800 card in the near future, but that might mean SLI in a single x16 slot which is bakc to dual x8. We do know the Gigabyte 3D1 dual-GPU cards work on the Asus, DFI, and Gigabyte SLI boards - all 3 have the BIOS hooks to drive a single-slot dual-GPU.
    Reply
  • deeltje - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I've been waiting for this board for over 2 weeks now and it still isn't available anywhere in europe.

    So i would love to get this board shipped from USA to The Netherlands (where i live).

    Does anyone know a good USA Computershop that has these boards in stock and accept Mastercard payments!?!?!?!?

    I don't care about the shippingcosts, as long as they can ship FAST :)
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    with single card - your chart says DFI is 8x1 - and performance seems to bear that out. OTOH, in narrative below that chart, you say both are running 16x1 and DFI still takes a whoopin. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Both the Asus and DFI were definitely running 1 x16 in single video card mode. The single video card results - using the same 81.85/6.82 drivers, video cards, CPU, and memory - were the most surprising results. I really don't have an explanation for the performance differences here, since there is very little performance difference in older titles but a large difference in the just released games. We are hoping nVidia can shed some light on these benchmark results. Reply
  • n7 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    This actually looks like a very good mobo.

    However, knowing Asus, i'm sure we will we won't find it reasonably priced anywhere.

    If it came down in price, & they offered a non-SLI version for those of us who don't want SLI, i'd get interested :)
    Reply
  • aLeoN - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    What kind of rich enthusiast wouldn't want to spend top dollar for the top of the line equipment? Don't get me wrong, I'd like exactly what you do but they've only changed to 8 phase cooling and x16 sli over the current nf4 boards right? Imo it doesn't sound like a very profitable idea if you threw phase change cooling onto an A8N-E but I'll keep my fingers crossed for the both of us. Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    hehe - the real trick is turning pyrite into gold..Tortise into hare... Anyone can empty thier wallet out or max thier credit card out, as the case may be, on top of the line eqiupment. Takes real skill to turn budget parts into them. IMO. Reply
  • aLeoN - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Right on man! I have a friend who demands near top of the line and doesn't hesitate to have something better than our circle of friends. I'm planning a OC rig for just about a grand that would topple his $3000+ (invested in over a couple years) rig, forcing him to upgrade it with his $1500 now (he was saving it till something good came out or me and a couple other friends get something better). It's people like these that drive our economy! =D Reply
  • gnumantsc - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Wes the chart for Far Cry on Single Video shows a percent increase of 0.4% with the numbers showing 74.3 vs. 47.5. Shouldn't it be 74.5? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    The chart is correct, and I did a dyslexic in the table. The correct numbers are 47.3 nad 47.5. The table has been corrected. Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Yes sir just gunna have to wait for another C51 review to see if it's nV's chipset or something ASUS is doing. Definity shocking to see large performance gaps like that so I'm sure you tested and retested and retested after that too. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Sorry, I will fix the Typo. I made sure all jumpers were reset to single video mode on the DFI and double checked the readout in BIOS before runnign single video tests. Reply
  • Phantronius - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Damnit, I spent alot of money on my Asus A8N Premium board. Grrrrrrr...!! I want a 17% boost in single card performance!!! Reply
  • Phantronius - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Holy shit!!! $250 for one of these boards via newegg!!???? Reply
  • Capt Caveman - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Newegg = Screwegg

    Mwave has it for $195 in stock. And Mwave will call you to let you know that it shipped.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Mwave rocks I'm not even sure why people screw around with newegg anymore. I've ordered my last six or so mobo+cpu combos from mwave always cheapest and a free something... game.. app..etc.

    Asus appears to be back after lackluster non-existant NF3 and recent NF4 boards! I may get this and I don't even run Sli.. $200 is a little hard to swallow with DFI ultra for $120 but I like silent setup.
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Wat about Monarch? Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Monarch has it for $249 last I checked. I wouldn't buy from Mwave. Like the other dude said their customer service leaves a LOT to be desired. I'll buy from Newegg. Customer service is top notch and their shipping is super fast. I'll also buy from ZZF. Their customer is also pretty good although shipping a bit slower than Newegg. Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    See, I've had both good and bad expierences with mwave, their customer service is crappy (can't understand asians who have been speaking english for a month tops.) but their prices are good. Too bad newegg gouges on Fedex shipping now.

    BTW, whats going on with the forums? Haven't been able to log in for a while...
    Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, November 07, 2005 - link

    thats a bit racist isnt it?
    they have a totally different pronounciation format in their language so they never get the english accent totally right
    conversly, even if you learned chinese for 20years your accent would still sound funny
    Reply
  • sxr7171 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    When SLI was first introduced last year, we were told that 8x was more than enough bandwidth and that currently video cards can't even come close to saturating that bus. Now we have all this dual x16 hype - for what? Were they lying then or are they lying now? I guess it's good for future-proofing and progress is good, the consumer must be aware of it. Reply
  • ElFenix - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    if they're claiming a goodly reduction in energy usage due to the 8 phase design i'd like to see if it bears out. Reply
  • SnakeJG - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Asus claims that a CPU requiring 130W in a 4-phase design will see a 10% reduction in power consumption in an 8-phase design.


    I would really love to see you guys test this out by comparing the power draw of different SLI systems, and seeing if the 8-phase design actually saves noticable power.
    Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    quote:

    It is ironic that NVIDIA pioneered decent on-board sound with their nForce2 chipset, and they now have the worst audio solution available for AMD


    That can not be stressed enough. I don't mind paying a couple extra bucks to get a nice VIA Envy sound or even the new C-media Dolby chip. But the ac97 realtek junk needs to die.
    Reply
  • phusg - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    quote:

    quote:

    quote:
    It is ironic that NVIDIA pioneered decent on-board sound with their nForce2 chipset, and they now have the worst audio solution available for AMD


    That can not be stressed enough. I don't mind paying a couple extra bucks to get a nice VIA Envy sound or even the new C-media Dolby chip. But the ac97 realtek junk needs to die.


    Agreed. Only it's even worse: nVidia pioneered decent on-board sound with their nForce1 chipset (not nForce2).
    Reply
  • Concillian - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I definitely agree, and don't think this was mentioned in the 'Final Words'.

    With lack of PCI-e support from soundcards and many other add-in cards, it's important to minimize add-in cards, especially on an SLI setup where slots may be eaten up by coolers for the 2 video cards.

    With the way this board is layed out, if you have 2 cards in SLI with big coolers you have 1 PCI and 1 x4 PCI-e slot left. If you're forced to populate the PCI slot with a soundcard you're done... seeing as how there are very few PCI-e cards out there.

    I would also not be blaming nVidia... ASUS could implement a better audio solution if they wanted to (like DFI does with Karajan and MSI does with SBLive!), but they chose not to. To blame nVidia seemingly absolves ASUS of responsibility, and that's not right. The board is made by ASUS, not nVidia. Any blame for a poor audio implementation belongs to ASUS.

    nVidia supposedly had little demand for soundstorm because motherboard manufacturers weren't ordering enough. At least that's the story that was fed to us. Giving specific manufacturer designs poor ratings because of crappy audio implementation is the way to get manufacturers to implement better solutions regardless of what their supplier gives them. Blaming their supplier gives them a cop out. Blaming ASUS gets them looking for innovative solutions and asking nVidia to supply them with better options integrated into future chipsets.
    Reply
  • phusg - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    quote:

    nVidia supposedly had little demand for soundstorm because motherboard manufacturers weren't ordering enough. At least that's the story that was fed to us.


    Also the motherboard manufacturers complained at the high cost of the Dolby Digital Live licence (something like $5 a chipset if I remember rightly). I've always said nVidia should go have a chat with the competitors DTS. Wouldn't that be something?
    Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I've been pondering this for a while:

    Since the nForce4 x16 northbridge uses Hypertransport to communicate with its southbridge,
    and the nForce2 southbridge uses HyperTransport to communicate with its northbridge,

    Shouldn't it be possible to replace or supplement the nForce4 southbridge with the nForce2 MCP-T and use its APU? Either that, or combine it with the nForce Professional MCPe?

    Even better, use the nForce2 MCP-T with the GeForce 6100/6150 northbridge for integrated audio and video!
    Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    It all depends on whether the southbridge used (a standard nForce4 SLI) has a downstream HyperTransport link.

    I imagine it doesn't, therefore you have: [CPU]===[nF SP100]===[nF SLI]

    I suppose you could connect an ULi PCIe southbridge to a couple of spare PCIe lanes for it's built in Azalia audio, and another bazillion SATA ports, IDE ports and USB ports, lol.
    Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Er, I didn't mean nForce Professional AND nf4 with the MCP-T, I meant one or the other. I wonder if it's even possible to use the NF2 southbridge like this. I believe the BIOS might take some work, but you never know until you try!


    [CPU] - [nF Pro] - [NF2 MCP-T]
    [CPU] - [SLIx16] - [NF2 MCP-T]
    [CPU] - [gf6100] - [NF2 MCP-T]
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    This board is definitely on my list to track pricing. If this thing comes down enough I'll be getting this when I build my new system instead of the older Asus SLI-Premium I was looking at.

    Hopefully Asus soon releases that sweet passively-cooled 7800series card (hopefully a GT) as well. It debuted in this article: http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i...">http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i...
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Can you mount an XP-90 on the processor without interfering with the heatpipes or MOSFETs around the socket? Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Did you guys test any of the aftermarket cooling systems like the XP90 and XP120 for clearance? That's rather important to overclockers, especially on a board like this! Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    We did not test with an XP90 or XP120. What I can tell you is the fan on our Thermaltake heatsink (in the picture of the optional HS fan in the review) is an 80mm. I just measured and there is still an additional 1/2" clearnance to theheatsink and heatpipes on the IO and bottom sides and an additional 1" to the heatsink at the top of the socket. My guess based on these measurements is that an XP90 should be fine, but I'm not sure about an XP120. Reply
  • Rike - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Regarding the HS, is it just me or is there a lot of dust in the fins? Reply
  • Peldor - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I don't think you should be ripping on "other" sites for claiming x16 lane SLI has big benefits over x8, when http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2580&am...">Anandtech showed the same thing on a P4 board. You certainly didn't make it clear in that article that the 81.85 drivers were the primary reason for the higher scores. Reply
  • wbloon - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    Yes they did, you must have only skimmed the article. Go back and do your homework before showing your lassitude, dude. Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    I think the Intel article was very clear about indicating several factors played into the results we witnessed-
    quote:

    ...This allows the option to support two full-bandwidth 16-lane PCI Express links for graphics compared to a single 16-lane PCI Express link or split into two full-bandwidth 8-lane PCI Express links previously. While this doubles the bandwidth of the previous chipset configuration, in reality, the actual performance improvements are dependent upon the CPU, GPU, applications, and driver sets used. We witnessed anywhere from a 3% to 25% improvement in certain applications and were, at times, CPU constrained when utilizing a pair of 7800GTX video cards in SLI configuration at 1600x1200 resolutions and above.


    This topic has been discussed greatly in the comments section of the Intel article. I also stated in the game section the base improvement of the Asus board over the MSI board was 3% on average. I attribute this to bios optimizations, board design, and possibly improvements in the A3 stepping of the C19 Northbridge. The difference we found between the boards utilizing a very GPU intensive game (F.E.A.R.) ran from 6% to almost 11% indicating in this particular game an advantage/optimizations of the x16SLI over the X8SLI. The difference in going from 11% to 25% when implementing AA/AF is probably 90%+ due to the 81.85 driver set in my opinion. After statements from several readers I further clarified my statement on this increase in the article. However, I firmly believe with the right GPU setup and application there is a true improvement due to the additional bandwidth with the x16SLI.

    You cannot directly compare the Intel and AMD board due to the differences in the Northbridge chipset (C19 vs CK51) and the fact the memory controller is integrated in the Intel Northbridge instead of on the CPU in AMD's case. Wesley noticed differences in the single card benchmarks of up to 17% where mine were within the reported differences between the board designs (we will also test with a single core P4EE which should reduce the cpu bottleneck on the Intel board at higher resolutions). I have additional x8sli boards at this time and a revised bios for the MSI P4N that will be tested for a mini-update on this subject. We should see additional x16SLI boards in December for head to head tests utilizing the same chipset.

    Also, not all games or applications showed this type of increase as stated. We had some issues with the BF2 SLI benchmarks but should have those worked out shortly but I imagine this will be one game that also benefits directly from the x16SLI setup.

    Thank you. :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    There is a BIG difference between 0% to 8% SLI performance improvement and the 40% to 50% claimed in one review we saw. We thought it would be unprofessional to "name names", but with all the hype that 40% to 50% claim generated in many Forums we needed to address the facts head on.

    Our video review team plans an article looking at the performance increases in both the new nVidia and ATI drivers in an upcoming article. We have seen results on the newest games on this Asus with 81.85 as much as 40% higher than other nF4 boards tested with 78.01. However, most of that was drivers since we could only find increases of 0% to 8% in SLI and 0% to 17% in single 7800GTX. These are significant, but they aren't a 50% increase.
    Reply
  • Hanners - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Except, unlike the site I believe you are thinking of, you haven't done any testing (that I can see) using SLI AA, which is the one feature of NVIDIA's SLI feature set that will benefit greatly from the availability of two 'true' 16x PCI Express slots, as it transfers data via the PCI Express bus rather than using the inter-GPU connector as per other SLI modes. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    You are correct that we did not select 8X or 16X AA in the nVidia driver, which I believe is the feature you are talking about. We selected anti-aliasing in the game, as we have in the past with our testing. We are looking into the possible impact of the "in-driver" AA on test results. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    ALL of our game tests are 4XAA and 8XAF where that can be set - both SLI and single video. All game tests were run at 1600x1200. Please read the title bars and the Test Setup. This is clearly spelled out in the review. Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    oooh. I have my NF4 mobo. This thing is bought as soon as I see one in stock... Reply
  • DrZoidberg - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    yes this is a very nice board with the cooler 8 phase design, and heatpipe, no more annoying tiny chipset fan. However, i think this board will be over $200USD =( Reply
  • anandtechrocks - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Yea, this looks like a very nice board. Now I'm looking at the new DFI NF4 Expert, those sweet Saphire ATI boards, and this one! So many choices!! Reply
  • One43637 - Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - link

    i'm looking to put a new system together and i am also looking at this board.

    i'm not famaliar with AMD chipsets, but will this board work with the new AMD X2s?
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    this sucks, haven't evn put my system togther with my epox sli board, and now a board that gives u a 17% boost, CRAP. Reply
  • Brian23 - Friday, November 04, 2005 - link

    Anandtech: You say we should upgrade our drivers to the latest for increased performance. However, I am unable to find the 6.82 platform driver anywhere. Reply

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