Asus A8R-MVP: Mainstream Rocket

by Wesley Fink on 11/23/2005 1:15 AM EST
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  • james007 - Thursday, February 16, 2006 - link

    Hi, I deeply appreciate the hard work and thought that went into this article. I'm not a 'gamer' though -- I'm trying to select the fastest available mobo for software development. Visual Studio 2005 is a dog, dawg! I don't mind dropping a few hundred for speed.. so what are y'all's thoughts: what's the fastest mobo? A8R-MVP, or A8N32-SLI? Or another board?
    + I'm still trying to select the snappiest hard drive. SCSI (like, Cheetah) or Sata?

    Thanx for your advice and for lending us the benefits of your experience.
    JH
    Reply
  • htcstech - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - link

    Apologies for my ignorance, but did you test the motherboard overclocked or as standard?
    If either OC or standard, have you posted the other results?
    Thanks
    Reply
  • superkdogg - Monday, January 16, 2006 - link

    Hey Wes,

    Did you really get that 325x9 @ 1.300 vCore like the screenshot on the first page says?

    If so, you had a fantastic setup going. I'm looking forward to getting my board (despite the numerous complaints about vCore not as advertised). I can deal with the memory issues (real or user-based) because I'm still rocking the Corsair VS with dividers anyway.
    Reply
  • tanstudio - Thursday, January 12, 2006 - link

    I have a a8r mvp and opteron 146 running stable at 2.6G with 1.45V. I can boot into 2.7G but soon windows hangged. And the max cpu voltage I can have is 1.45V with this motherboard. It would be great if the board can have 1.5-1.65 v cop voltage so my opteron 146 may have a chance to hit 2.8G with 1.5V or 1.55V core voltage. Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, January 08, 2006 - link

    As many people who have purchased the A8R-MVP Mobo have sadly discovered, there are some serious issues with the production Mobos that Anandtech did not experience with their review board. Specifically the Mobo does NOT provide CPU Vcore voltages above 1.40V and many if not most people who have purchased this Mobo have been unable to run memory at 1T above 250 MHz even though the same memory runs fine on other Mobos above 250 MHz at 1T with no problem. The voltage issue is serious because Asus clearly advertises the A8R-MVP for use with all socket 939 Athlon / FX / X2 CPUs, which of course is impossible as the (CG) Clawhammer core chips require a MINIMUM 1.50V, which isn't even an option on the A8R-MVP Mobo.

    After careful review of a number of factors I have a suspicion that the A8R-MVP has limited Vcore current capacity and that is why Asus has refused to provide the proper voltage options in the BIOS. I suspect after they produced the Mobo they discovered the shortcoming and so limited the voltage options because the current draw increases as you O/C the CPU, which is only possible if you can raise the voltage, in most cases. This is just my theory but if Asus could provide the proper CPU voltages for the CG core CPUs then you'd have thought after two BIOS updates they would have...

    From my perspective this is simply unacceptable as any Clawhammer based CPU requires a minimum 1.50V per AMD. Asus has advertised the A8R-MVP as being fully Athlon / FX / X2 compatible and even states in their online Tech Section that the FX-55 and 4000+ are fully supported on this Mobo - which of course they ARE NOT as they require a MINIMUM 1.50V, which is not even an option on the A8R-MVP.

    My suggestion is that people STOP BUYING THIS MOBO if you need a minimum 1.50V Vcore. Anyone who can return their A8R-MVP under warranty would be advised to do so. If you have an FX-55 or 4000+ that requires 1.50V per AMD, then you can't run it on this Mobo despite Asus' claims of fitment. That's my view of things based on what I see and I'd suggest potential purchasers of this Mobo be advised of the unusually low CPU voltage options PRIOR to purchase as you may need to return the Mobo if your CPU requires 1.50 or more volts to function properly.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, January 15, 2006 - link

    Your information is not completely true - but you already know this. The vCore of the A8R-MVP varies according to the CPU installed. It does NOT stop at 1.4V with a Clawhammer. The range available varies with the CPU and is always 0.0v to 0.1v more than the default voltage of the CPU. When we tested the board Asus advised that the additional overvolt option in the BIOS added 0.2V more vCore. After measuring several boards the actual addition of the overvolt jumper is 0.1V.

    The range is not quite as wide as what we initially reported, but it is not nearly as limited as what you report. If you plan to post this in every Forum that mentions the A8R-MVP you need to at least get your facts correct. The limit is not 1.65V with a 1.45V processor, but it is alos not the 1.4V you imply. Fo most recent AMD processors increasing vCore does little for overclocking anyway. You are better off using the chipset and HTT overvolt. No doubt many would welcome a range to 1.7V, but the design of the A8R-MVP does not make that a likely prospect. I also did not need the much higher vCore to reach 325FSB in my testing.

    What I am finding in emails is about half can duplicate results I found, while the other half have difficulty getting above 250-260. It does appear there may be quite a bit of variation in the OC performance of the shipping RD480 chipsets - and that there are chipsets out there that OC well and half that don't overclock as well.
    Reply
  • dlxhammer - Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the info Beenthere, but sadly i have already ordered this mobo, along with an x1800xt. I WAS planning on using my current cpu (amd 3500 clawhammer) and you are correct the voltage is 1.5

    Maby its time to upgrade my cpu:\ I notice the AMD dual core processors require 1.35-1.4 volts would this be a wise choice? maby ill give my current cpu a shot 1st...
    Reply
  • tmodel37 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Hi Wes,
    Since I cannot find the A8n32 SLI Deluxe anywhere, the A8n-MVP sounds great, but I already have 2 7800GT's. Where can I get the hacked drivers? I am 68 yr. old newbie, and need all the help I can get.
    Reply
  • Ryan Norton - Monday, December 12, 2005 - link

    Feedback thread:

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...">http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...9&th...

    I took it up to 325HTT last night in 5MHz increments and let it run Memtest all night, still rock solid. A couple anomalous BIOS setting options, however.
    Reply
  • AllanLim - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    And am proceeding wring some performance from it. Question is Wes, how were you able to get 325x9 with the current BIOS options.

    Rgds
    Reply
  • AllanLim - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    What I should have said is that the BIOS memory option maxes out at 200, so why is there a need to raise memory timings to 3-4-3-8 when at 325x9.


    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    200 is the starting point (400DDR) in BIOS, and memory clock floats with the CPU frequency. Thus at 325 Clock Speed the memory set at 200 is running DDR650. Memory floats with clock frequency on almost every board we test.

    If you start memory at 166 (333), it would run at about 270 (DDR540) with the Clock Frequency set to 325. You may want to do some reading or ask some questions in our Forums to better understand how this works.
    Reply
  • AllanLim - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    Got it, checked out Zebo's article in forums, my bad for not checking this out earlier. Thus begins my foray into AMD64 overclocking.

    Many thnx for help.
    Reply
  • EnlightenedOne - Monday, December 12, 2005 - link

    K great. Thanks for the quick reply wes :D

    Final question I promise, lol.

    At the 325 x 9 setting, how stable do you think the CPU would be @ load? For example, I'm going to be playing alot of BF2 and Quake 4 with this new set up. I was wondering if it will be atleast 6 hours stable in those games at load.

    What do you think?
    Reply
  • EnlightenedOne - Monday, December 12, 2005 - link

    I'm also trying to see if I can tighten those dram timings a bit by adding more voltage. What are the tighest/stable that you got with a higher ram voltage? Reply
  • EnlightenedOne - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    Hey Wesley, Great Review!

    I was wondering a few things with this motherboard and the setup.
    First, do you think the clawhammer 4000+ would overclock better than the Diego?
    What voltage are you feeding your ram to reach such a high frequency?
    Do you suggest using the 246 x 12 or the 325 x 9 set up for games?
    Finally, what voltage are you feeding the PCIe slot? Also, why haven't you upped the voltage to your cpu core to maintain stability and go beyond 2 days? :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    Our San Diego clocks almost exactly the same as the Clawhammer 4000+, but it runs cooler. I would choose San Diego. We tested both on this board, as we have done for the last few reviews, found performance very similar (we had a fantastic Clawhammer that may not have been typical), and moved to the 90nm CPU for future reviews.

    The OCZ TCCD RAM was only getting 2.75V-2.8V. My pairs really don't like or need more voltage to reach high overclocks.

    Which you use depends on your RAM. In most cases you can get tighter timings at 246 than at 325. The best speed is a balance of highest RAM clock consistent with tightest timings. There is no cut-and-dried answer to your question.

    I did not overclock PCIe, but the chipset and/or PCIe sometimes reauires a small voltage boost at extreme overclocks.

    If you check the OC page I am using 1.45V vCore which is a modest OC of .05V from the default 1.4V. It didn't reboot after 2 days, we had to move on to other reviews. It might still be running fine at 325x9 for all we know.
    Reply
  • EnlightenedOne - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    Awesome. 1 Quick last simple question. Did you slowly up the FSB through the bios and reboot, then up it again? Or did you use a windows based overclocker program that asus provided? If using the reboot method.. how long did you let it run before rebooting and upping the fsb a little more. If windows method, how long did you wait before upping the FSB little by little? Thanks :D Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, December 11, 2005 - link

    I rebooted and upped the frequency a bit, went into windows, then rebooted and upped frequency again. Reply
  • abakshi - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link

    Hmm...this is looking pretty good. But GigE performance is pretty important for me -- if I get a separate PCI-E 1x GigE card, can I match the throughput of the integrated PCI-E chipsets, like the Marvel, etc.?

    Any recommendations for a card? From a quick look around, I've seen an expensive D-Link ($80), some assorted others (SysKonnect, etc.) at varying ranges. Any benches of these for reference?

    And if I put in two X1800XT's, I wouldn't be able to fit a 1x card in between, right? What about with single-slot cards like the X1800XL?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    The PCIe giagbit cards should deliver the same performance as on-board PCIe Gigabit Ethernet. They generally use the same chips as on-board or variants f those chips. You can use the x1 PCIe slot with Crossfire IF your cards are single width. If the video cards are double width the PCIe x1 is blocked.

    We have a Syskonnect PCIe Gigabit Ethernet card and it uses the Marvel 88E8052 chip.
    Reply
  • Ryan Norton - Monday, December 05, 2005 - link

    ...just wrote them basically begging for availibility info on this board. Anand's article has gotten me very very hyped for this product as a cheap SLI replacement for my MSI Neo4 Ultra -- HALF the price of an A8N32 seems like it can't be beat. For all that's worth, however, I still haven't found a single user experience with this board -- have the lucky people who have it (if there are any) forgotten about the internet? Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    It is now in stock at newegg Reply
  • YellowWing - Monday, November 28, 2005 - link

    This board looks good for a HTPC, but I have one question about the HD audio, you do not mention if this board will do a real time encode of Dolby Digital on that coaxial SPDIF port. My minimum requirements for a HTPC main board include passive cooling and Dolby Digital out either optical or coaxial to connect with my home theater receiver. I would appreciate a standard line in each motherboard review that makes the Dolby Digital out capability of each main board clear.

    Keep up the great work.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Monday, November 28, 2005 - link

    Man all these sweet deals at newegg but don't have this board yet :( Reply
  • ElFenix - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    thanks for all the updates, wes! Reply
  • rjm55 - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    This looks like the perfect Socket 939 board. It's fast, passive-cooling, great overclocker, and cheap!! Even uses the ATI chipset and is built by the biggest board maker in the world, so how could I go wrong. Just put 2 on order at Buy.com. At $105 each they seemed like a perfect board for some Christmas builds. Reply
  • Zebo - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    Is'nt most of chipset in AMD CPU these days? I would'nt worry about that. Reply
  • xsilver - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    does asus ship this board with overclocking software for overclocking while booted in windows? what other mobo companies offer this? (I find this feature very handy on my abit)
    its most convienient to boot up and surf and run stock speeds and then overclock to play a game and then change back when you're finished

    I know utilities like rmclock and cpucool can do this but they dont work for all mobo's
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    Yes, Asus includes some very good windows-based OC software with the A8R-MVP. AI Booster allows the control of OC in windows, and PC Probe 2 allows fan control and voltage/temperature monitoring. AMDZone descibes these software utilities in their A8R-MVP preview at http://www.amdzone.com/modules.php?op=modload&...">http://www.amdzone.com/modules.php?op=m...q=viewar... Reply
  • EnlightenedOne - Thursday, December 08, 2005 - link

    Hey Wesley, Great Review!

    I was wondering a few things with this motherboard and the setup.
    First, do you think the clawhammer 4000+ would overclock better than the Diego?
    What voltage are you feeding your ram to reach such a high frequency?
    Do you suggest using the 246 x 12 or the 325 x 9 set up for games?
    Finally, what voltage are you feeding the PCIe slot? Also, why haven't you upped the voltage to your cpu core to maintain stability and go beyond 2 days? :)
    Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    Great having spread out memory slots. I found many A64 boards stack the dual channel sticks so close they are actually touching between sticks fi you have heat spreaders on there and they can't cool.

    Price!! I sure miss top of the line boards in the $100 range (Abit NF7-S Abit IS7 etc)granted this new era has high power requirements and thus a beffier boards but no excuse for these $200+ mobos floating around for enthusiants. nV and Intel must be charging crazy high prices for thier newer chipsets.. Thanks ATI.

    Legacy support - My printer won't work with full features on USB alone... needs Parallel cable for full control which my DFI does'nt have.

    - overclocking potential as Mr. Fink illustrated.

    - full features including Fast disk benches and great on-board audio (FWIW).

    - Passive cooled mobo design - How many of you hate those whinny 40mm/60mm fans that come on mobos? When they work that is.

    Asus really needs to adopt Black though for thier entire lineup unless it goes in an OEM build.. I mean that yellow traces and green board is so 1990's.:(
    Reply
  • Live - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    s.
    quote:

    - Passive cooled mobo design - How many of you hate those whinny 40mm/60mm fans that come on mobos? When they work that is.


    I couldn’t agree more. Those small fans are highly unreliable and very noisy. And with today’s heat pipe tech there is no reason to not go passive even on the high end boards. ASUS seems to be leading the pack on this. To bad they cant/won’t go all out in their bios. DFI in particular have them beat in bios all the time.
    Reply
  • Sxotty - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    quote:

    There is always the possibility that this one is unique. But based on the Asus expectations being set very low for this board, and the genuine surprise that Asus expressed when we reported our results, I would venture to say that what we found is not a fluke.


    That is really not a very thoughtful way to look at it.

    If ASUS was "surprised" by your results that would argue they are atypical not typical. It is not as though they never tested the motherboard to see if it worked. If you ever find an engineer surprised by your results than you should assume that they do not represent what the acerage was expected to be. Perhaps it is a wonderful overclocker, but that is evidence that it is not. Perhaps the engineer that was so "promising" really did an excellent job and the other people you spoke with just did not happen to know the test results.

    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I can only report what I actually find, and we can both "suppose" all day long. Time will prove whether these overclocking results are typical or atypical.

    As i said in a comment above: "Asus does extensive overclocking tests on their top-line boards aimed at that market. They generally know how they will perform in overclocking. They do more modest tests on mainstream boards. It is my opinion it never occured to Asus that the A8R-MVP might be a monster overclocker until I reported my results back to them."

    I have worked closely with the Asus Engineering team in Taiwan on several Enthusiast board projects, and since my initial results were shared with them after the second BIOS they have not given me any reason to expect that they are not typical for this board. As I said in the Final Words: "We would feel much more comfortable in our praise of the A8R-MVP if we had an opportunity to prove similar overclocking on another five boards pulled at random from retail shelves."
    Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    ATI “Certified Motherboard?"? Reply
  • afrost - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I can't wait to get my hands on this board.....I have been waiting for a solid passively cooled board like this for a long time.

    The HD audio is a very nice bonus.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    We did additional tests on the Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe Dual x16 this morning, running at our standard 1280x1024 with AA and AF turned off, with 81.87 drivers. We have added A8N32-SLI benchmarks to F.E.A.R., SC-CT, Quake 4, Doom 3, Far Cry, and Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory.

    The added benchmarks do not really change any of our conclusions. As you can see, the Asus A8R-MVP is very competetive with the top-line A8N32-SLI Deluxe.
    Reply
  • nvidia4ever - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the updates. It really does look like there is another performance choice now for AMD systems. I still would find it interesting to see how a x1800xt performs on ATIs own chipset. Reply
  • Duplex - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    The only thing me and my friends missed is overclockingresults
    for the memory with tight timings like 1T 2-2-2-5 or 2-2-2-7.
    The 1T overclocking performance for Asus and Abit has yet been very poor,
    with tigh timings even worse. Abit has added higher vdimm options but it
    hasn´t helped much. Has this changed with this Asus-Ati-mb or is dfi nf4
    still my only option for pc-builds? 230/240/250/260 (/270) MHz???
    Reply
  • Avalon - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Wesley, just for giggles, can you set a RAM divider and drop your CPU multiplier down to 7x, and see how high the HTT can reach stably? That would be nice to see. Reply
  • n7 - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I may have just founds my next motherboard!

    As long as prices do come to the level of a mainstream mobo, this looks very good.

    I have to admit, until the A8N32-SLI Deluxe, & now this, i was extremely unimpressed with all Asus A64 motherboards.

    Now the last two i've seen from Asus look very good :)
    Reply
  • fitten - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    quote:

    It is very important that users change the default 2T Command Rate to 1T for best performance.


    I see this a lot (particularly on AnandTech) and have yet to see any *real* benchmarks that show this change results in anything more than a 1% to 2% performance gain, which is typically within the statistical margin of error for the benchmarking performed by most review sites. Are there any definitive benchmarks (that are statistically significant) that show more of a gain than this?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    You have seen this a lot on AT and any site that specializes in performance and overclocking. Memtest86 is a standard test used in the memory industry to test performance. It shows a 5 to 10% increase in performance at 1T compared to 2T - depending on CPU speed and memory frequency. Similar increases are reported by SiSoft Sandra Unbuffered and Everest, which also measure memory bandwidth.

    Memory is only one small part of total performance, and in gaming 1T only increases framerate 1% to 5% depending on the game and equipment used for testing. You are correct that this won't be noticed by most end users, but if you are aiming for absolute top performance in gaming or competetive benchmarking this does matter. We covered this pretty thoroughly with test results in a memory piece several months ago.
    Reply
  • Live - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Very nice review and a nice find!

    I would have loved to have seen the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 included in the benchmarks. Why? It is just as close in price as many other boards and frankly cater to sort of the same user group. This would also show what can be had in the different price groups.

    I also find this quote a bit strange
    quote:

    But based on the Asus expectations being set very low for this board, and the genuine surprise that Asus expressed when we reported our results, I would venture to say that what we found is not a fluke.


    I would think that ASUS having low expectations on this board and they being genuinely surprised would indicate that there internal testing does not show the same results as your sample does. Thus indicating it is indeed an over performing sample. This possibility seems just as likely anyway. What I am missing?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Asus does extensive overclocking tests on their top-line boards aimed at that market. They generally know how they will perform in overclocking. They do more modest tests on mainstream boards. It is my opinion it never occured to Asus that the A8R-MVP might be a monster overclocker until I reported my results back to them. Once I did, Asus was very helpful in adding additional options to BIOS that I suggested would be welcomed by overclockers. Some components limit what Asus can add, but they had added additional options that could be added.

    We do have a very good working relationship with Asus. As an example the first Asus A8N-SLI Premium boards (without the paddle) were supposed to be top-end. Our pre-production samples turned out to be very poor overclockers due to the automatic switches and Asus decided to rework the board rather than bring a mediocre board to market. The revised Premium came about 8 weeks later and we confirmed it was an oxcellent overclocker and a good performer. That is the board Asus brought to market.
    Reply
  • Live - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the clarification. I think I got what I was missing. In that light this board does look like a true gem in disguise. Reply
  • nvidia4ever - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Is there a reason why the X1800XT was not tested? By chance, did you test the board with a Opteron 148? I could see this combination being great together considering how well both overclock. That would be a killer package at $350. When will the board be available? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    The motherboard lab does not a X1800XT for benchmarking, a fact we point out to ATI whenever we get the opportunity. ATI is still having X1800XT supply problems and they have promised we will have cards for testing as soon as they are available for sampling.

    We have to wonder aloud if we have had so much trouble getting X1800XT for testing, what chance does a "mere mortal" have to buy an X1800XT. We can only say we're glad ATI does not appear to have motherboard chipset supply issues, because the video card situation is horrendous.



    Reply
  • nvidia4ever - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    There are several x1800xt cards available here - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Manu...">x1800xt cards Is ATI just screwing around with you guys? Can this board run nvidia sli cards? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Theoretically nVidia SLI can run on ATI crossfire without much trouble. We have tested hacked drivers that do just this and it appears to work fine. However, until nVidia allows Crossifire board operation in their video drivers it is officially not supported. The same goes for ATI Crossfire on nVidia - ATI has to support it in their drivers. Single video cards are supported on all platforms.

    As for avaialability of X1800XT, our video reviewer received a review sample about 6 weeks ago, but we have not seen another X1800XT from ATI. The X1800XT was to be available for sale November 5. ATI tells us daily there are none available for sampling, but we can expect a unit for motherboard testing "very soon".

    Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Geez if your having this much trouble getting a x1800xt i wonder when you'll recieve the crossfire ones. Reply
  • Schro - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Has Asus stated the general availability date of the board? The only vendor that I can find with it listed is ZZF @ $199 for a pre-order, which is certainly not a mainstream price. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    I just did a search on Google's Froogle at http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=A8R-MVP+&b...">http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=A8R...;btnG=Se.... There are 4 listings for the A8R-MVP - buy.com for $104.99, Computer Brain for $108.21, PC & Stuff for $115.94, and PCSuperDeals for $119.15. These prices are very much in line with what Asus projected - in fact they are even better. A Crossfire motherboard with these features for $105 is a terrific value. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    We confirmed final pricing with Asus yesterday. They told us the board should sell initially in the $115 to $125 range. Obviously a new board, a good review and limited availability drive up the price in capitalism. Asus confirmed last evening the boards have shipped from Taiwan to US e-tailers and should begin appearing for sale Friday or Monday (November 25th or 28th). Reply
  • Live - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    This board is listed for pre-order from several e-tailers here in Europe at just the price range ASUS is suggesting. Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    it's nowhere near the $100-$125 suggested by the article... but the price will fall when availability increases Reply
  • OrSin - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Poster before me hit it right on the head. My next motherboard will most likely be one of these ATI boards but it seems this was fluck to me. I guess we can wait for other sites to seee if they get similar results. Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    excuse me, great review, but when presuming that this board is not a fluke u state:

    "based on the Asus expectations being set very low for this board, and the genuine surprise that Asus expressed when we reported our results, I would venture to say that what we found is not a fluke."

    how are the 2 aforementioned reasons related to it NOT being a fluke? i was a bit confused reading that. if a mobo manufacturer's expectations are low, and then they're surprised, would'nt that mean that this mobo might on the contrary, be a fluke?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I receive some emails complaining that I must receive "Cherry" motherboards for testing since my OC results are so high. Of course, part of my success is due to being a long-term overclocker, and overall my results have not noramlly been that different than what other experienced overclockers found on retail boards.

    In this case Asus positioned this as a mainstream board and advised us the board was not positioned as a top overclocker. The ATI Crossfire chipset is an outstanding overclocker and I believe this board, with the design efforts of a talented design team turned out to be a surprising overclocker and that retail boards will also. I really don't think Asus as a company considered that this might be a top overclocker, but certainly someone in Asus design did consider this with the BIOS options that are available.

    The first BIOS was not particularly good for overclocking, but version 2 and 3 are outstanding. We have seem many manufacturers, even tier 1, design boards for overclockers that were mediocre in performance. We have also seen boards that had a solid design but no great OC credentials rise to the top as a great overclocker. In fact, Asus has had a number of this type of "wolf in sheep's clothing" boards over the past few years.

    Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, November 24, 2005 - link

    thanks for clarifying.:) guess it's best to wait and see other reveiws to get a general consensus though. Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Maybe the design team had a set of design cues for the board, received from the top (management) - these include cost, performance, reliability, and possibly even other metrics. The ATI chipset might have been too good for those cues, or maybe they worked to optimize the board - and told nothing to management about their substantial successes.
    Or maybe the board was a lucky one, and maybe 1 in 100 will get near those results, and the rest will be mainstream. Anyway, I think it is a good design, and not a lucky board

    Calin
    Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    jesus 2900mhz on air?!!?? i LOVE competition.:) Reply
  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Hi Wes, Did you run into any coldboot problems ? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    No Coldboot problems at working overclocks. We did find, however, that failed overclocks at very high frequencies usually required the system be turned off (power switched off) for the board to recover from the failed OC. This is common to many motherboards, but it is always easier if the board recovers on a warm boot. Reply
  • Diasper - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Just wondering why there weren't any game benchmark comparisons against the Asus A8N32 given the article set out by comparing them and given the numerous benchmarks with it including Aquamark, how come it was excluded from the rest of the game benchmarks?? It would be pretty nice/important if you included them. Reply
  • nvidia4ever - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I was wondering the same. Either the results are not favorable for ATI or there are results coming that were not posted yet. Either way it looks like a great board. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    The original benchmarks with the A8N32-SLI Deluxe were run at 1600x1200 with AA/AF on. This is because we were trying to determine if Dual x16 SLI made any difference compared to Dual x8 SLI. When we tested the ATI we reran benchmarks on one of the current top nForce4 boards - the DFI LANParty nForce4 SLI - to provide a comparison with the nForce4 SLI chipset. We did not have the Asus A8N32-SLI available for retesting since another reviewer was using the board for benchmarking. It also didn't seem important to also rerun benches on the A8N32-SLI since its performance was comparable to the DFI nF4 SLI.

    At any rate, the A8N32-SLI is available again and we will rerun some benches at 1280x1024 and add results to the game graphs. For "Standard Score" benchmarks like 3DMarks and Aquamark 3 the video resolutions are always the same and the A8N32-SLI results are already included in the graphs.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    It was pretty obvious a year ago that ATI had created a very impressive chipset for the AMD Mobos. The Southbridge ULi chip resolves perceived deficiencies by those who believe they need faster USB and S-ATA 2, even though in reality this simply isn't true. The fact that the ATI Northbridge chipset O/C's so well is proof of an excellent design and one to build a Helleva reputation on in the Mobo market. The ATI chipset makes it pretty obvious that you don't need to endure high prices and marketing gimmicks of some Mobo mfgs. to promote over-priced "gamers or overclockers" Mobos that don't deliver as much, let alone more PC performance than the ATI chipset Mobos, which include all the practical overclocking BIOS options anyone would possibly need. Reply
  • sunshine - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    RE: "Our first efforts at overclocking the A8R-MVP ran into a road block at just over 260. We have found some Asus boards in the past that did not like overclocks to be immediately set to high values, so we started again at 250. By going up just 5 to 10FSB at a time, we were able to reach 325."

    What is it exactly that prevents you from setting up the overclocking settings all at once? Why must you increase at only 5 - 10 mhz at a time? Is the Asus Bios boobytrapped to prevent someone from frying their motherboard or CPU???
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    There have been several boards and video cards over the last few years that overclocked best when the clock frequency was increased in smaller steps, instead of in one large adjustment. It is not just limited to Asus, and is common enough that most overclockers are aware of this overclocking method. Even on boards that respond well to high clock direct sets, the last pushing up is always a matter od nudging the frequency up in small amounts. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    I like it so much im buying one next week. tyvm for article.

    One question though, the preset overclock options in bios, is that under warrenty from asus or does that carry the "try at own risk" factor? Did you full around with them and see how effective they are?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • lifeguard1999 - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Nice article! Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - link

    Ver nice article. Loving the competition! Reply

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