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  • frank1966 - Saturday, December 31, 2005 - link

    I have bought two of these, needed to be upgraded to 5.06 to really do anyting with it. Asus customer support comment: Dealer should not sell these board without upgrading them first...

    After many hours of testing and emailing with other users:

    - You can't change FSB. It is fixed at 200. No overclocking possible.
    - You can't use HT as specified. it is only stable at 400 mhz at 8 bits, which reduces bandwidth by factor 5
    - Gigabit does not go above 200mbit

    Revision is 1.01

    I send them back.
    Reply
  • fusionrx - Friday, December 09, 2005 - link

    Anand and gang,

    in the followup article you guys plan to do, how about adding a section for mobo performance with value ram and with high $$ ram. This board is a steal and those of us who want to make a very capable budget system are curious as to how this would perform with 'budget ram'.

    ie. I have this mobo, and want to pair it with a 3200 cpu and 1gb value ram.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, December 04, 2005 - link

    Despite the many comments on this Mobo and the number of integrated graphics Mobos based on the Nvidia 6100 series chip showing up, I can't figure out where there is enough need/demand/market for these integrated graphics boards??? It looks like a solution for a non-existent need to me. It looks like Nvidia is trying to create a market segment that doesn't exist??? Very strange. Reply
  • legolad - Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - link

    I, for one, don't give a rat's left buttock for the integrated graphics.

    I'm building a new LAN party PC on the cheap and wanted to make it small. Trouble is, I don't want to make it proprietary a la Biostar/Shuttle.

    So I opted for the Aspire QPack case with an XFX 6800 GS card.
    I'll use the onboard audio and LAN.

    Trouble is, none of the reviews of these 6100 and 6150 mobos (here or on other web sites) seem to compare the performance of these mobos with the performance of other MicroATX boards. I mean, from a performance perspective, I want to compare the MicroATX boards built from the 6100/6150 chipsets with those MicroATX boards that are built from, say, nForce4 chipsets.

    While I may one day build an HTPC, I'm just not a fan of that yet. Still too early in the game.

    But a small gaming PC with good enough performance to rock some FPSs or RTSs with my buds - now THAT's a compelling app for me.

    Has ANYONE directly compared the performance of Micro-ATX boards made from different chipsets? I've been looking, but still haven't found anything.
    Reply
  • legolad - Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - link

    "I'll use the onboard audio and LAN."

    should read:

    "I'll use the onboard audio and LAN of whatever mobo I buy."
    Reply
  • BigLan - Sunday, December 04, 2005 - link

    Boards with integrated graphics have the largest market share. You know Intel is the biggest player in VGA, right? All the OEMS (Dell, Gateway, HP etc) want the cheapest board poosible, and not having to plug a vid card into the board is just another way to do that, coupled with the fact that it is one less thing to break.

    The nice thing about these nforce boards, and the radeon xpress, is that they'll at least be able to run vista's eye candy, which previous generation integrated parts will not be able to do.
    Reply
  • benwa73 - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Does anyone have a good recommendation for a case for this board? Something small but quiet. Reply
  • frustrated - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Please, please, please try an installation of mythtv of this motherboard and let us know the results. Is driver support available in linux for the different components on this board.

    Reply
  • Phantronius - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Hey Linux boy, we don't care. Piss off. Reply
  • frustrated - Monday, December 05, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Hey Linux boy, we don't care. Piss off.


    Ignorant. Mythtv is big in the home brew PVR market. I think there would be a lot of interest seeing if this board works well in Linux. An installation of Knoppmyth would only take about 30 minutes.
    Reply
  • formulav8 - Sunday, December 04, 2005 - link

    Speak for yourself. Reply
  • jfreiman - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    What are the chances that this is not Asus' HTPC motherboard?

    Could they be developing another model for a home theater PC? -- If so, will it use the nVidia chipset?

    As much as I want to use this board for my HTPC, I have to examine why Asus would not have - at the very minimum, included a spidif cable and TV out cable.

    Something just doesn't fit in this picture.

    -John
    Reply
  • Calin - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    I would like to have game performance compared to a single channel board using one of the current integrated graphic chipsets - there is a Biostar board for Socket 754 and a Asrock one. Or at least to have performance checked with a single DIMM (or two DIMMs in single channel mode)
    Thanks
    Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Poor implementation of a good idea by Asus.This chipset screams htpc, why have HD audio without out of the box spdif? Might as well have realtek audio. The S video out should also be standard with an optional component out dongle for those who need it. Add-on brackets take up pci openings on the case, quite a few htpc cases are microatx where these slots are a premium. Reply
  • ShadowVlican - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    aw man.... if only this board can OC... Reply
  • jfreiman - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    According to the picture of the motherboad the board you tested was 1.01.

    However, I just read that there is a 2.0 rev board. Are you aware of this? Do you know if this is accurate?

    I can't find anything about this on the Asus site and would like to know about this before I get the final piece (motherboard/video) for my HTPC upgrade.

    Thanks for the quick review, and I too would like to know more about it's CPU utilization during DVD and HDTV playback.

    Again, thank you.

    -John
    PS. and if I missed it, what was the BIOS revision you used for your tests.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    PS. and if I missed it, what was the BIOS revision you used for your tests.


    AMI 0506
    Reply
  • plonk420 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    may we see HL2 and MPEG2/WMV9 decoding benchmarks, please, Anand? also, how does one go about purchasing the addon card, and is it S-Video only, or is there hope for component out? Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Does the nvidia firewall actually work on this board, or does it corrupt zip archives as have been reported with the nforce4? Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Performance is mediocore, features missing, can't OC. Guess I'll be sticking with a biostar 6100-T for my next F@H box. Reply
  • Stefpet - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    May I assume that Cool'n'Quiet worked without problems since it wasn't mentioned otherwise in the article?

    I'm wondering since this seems to be a common problem with the currently available bios (even the one released a couple of days ago) based on posts in various forums by owners of this motherboard.
    Reply
  • gibhunter - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Why are you guys testing graphics on an HTPC board and not video encoding/decoding performance? Who cares about graphics on an integrated chipset. We know that it will be barely adequate. What we're interested is in the TV encoding performance, HD decoding / encoding etc. You gave us frame rate and cpu utilizitaion of sound card in games, like anyone cares what those are on an HTPC.

    Get it together people. If you test an HTPC board, test the stuff that it will run. Now I don't know if I should buy a system based on this board chipset because you haven't answered any questions that a potential customer might have. Here is a list of questions that you should answer for a board like this:
    Does the TV encoder mean that I can use any TV tuner card and it will still work with Media Center Edition?
    Is the load on the CPU lower during playback of HD content than on the 6100?
    Can this board be used with a fanless CPU cooler and a low speed fan PSU like the Antec Truepower?
    Better yet, can this board withstand the heat generated if I use it with a fanless CPU cooler and a fanless PSU?
    Where do we buy the extra brackets?
    What is the MSRP and availability?

    This review was useless as far as I'm concerned. Sorry to piss on your work, I'm sure you spent all of 15 minutes testing it before going back to whatever game you were playing on your Xbox.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Jarred Walton plans to look at the HTPC capabilities of the Asus A8N-VM CSM in a follow-up article this month. This is why you got a First Look at this board with some standard motherboard tests. We wanted readers to be aware as soon as it was available that the 6150 was finally shipping and provide some idea of how it would function as a basic integrated graphics motherboard. The HTPC followup should answer your questions.

    Actual selling prices are always at the top of every page from our pricing engine. That is the reason we don't normally talk about specific prices in our reviews. If you go to the top of any page you will see this board is selling for around $90.

    Some of our Editors are XBox 360 fans and some are not. I don't own an XBox and I don't plan to buy one, but I am glad other Editors can provide expert coverage of the Xbox for readers who are looking for that information. I actually went back to testing 2GB dimm kits and a new Uli chipset for AMD.

    Reply
  • gibhunter - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    I was in a bit of a bad mood this morning and was planning on editing my post a bit, unfortunately the option to edit the messages here isn't there. I'm glad you guys are planning on a follow up. Reply
  • QQ4U - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    I was seriously looking into buying one of these for a light, versatile system with no need of cuttinng hedge 3D acceleration, but after a little research I'm having second thoughts.

    It seems to me that ASUS/nVIDIA has possibly rushed this board our to fall in the chriatmas shopping:
    1. Linux support is really poor (no sound, ethernet problems etc - see nVIDIA support message board) until the next driver release.
    2. Only basic BIOS adjustements.
    3. And then of course the questionable design/marketing decisions: non bundled adapters (which might be a nightmare to get hold), altogether poor performance in the video department...

    Thanks Anand for the article. It confirmed my suspicions.

    Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    I recently bought one of these boards and just noticed that "enable command queueing" is greyed out in the "NVIDIA MCP51 Serial ATA Controller" sub-menu of the device manager. I thought that the nForce 430 southbridge supported NCQ. I'm running the latest nForce v8.22 driver package for this chipset. Hmm... Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    If you google "MCP51 NCQ" there are a few reports that seem to suggest it does not support NCQ. I'm assuming that you have an NCQ capable drive.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much unless you have a dual-core CPU and are multi-tasking two or more disk intensive apps as that is the only time NCQ offers any real benefit. With a single-core CPU, NCQ actually often reduces performance slightly (because of increased driver overhead).
    Reply
  • highlandsun - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The Asus doesn't include the necessary connectors / brackets, the Gigabyte K8N51PVMT-9 also lacks connectors and doesn't even provide a DVI output, the Foxconn Winfast 6150K8MA-8EKRS is lacking even more features. Would it really kill Asus or Gigabyte to just add one more connector? The Asus lacks an SPDIF input, while the Gigabyte has SPDIF in and out. The Gigabyte lacks DVI. Sheesh, it's totally hopeless. Frustrating to see them come so close and miss out on one detail.

    Maybe boards using ATI 482/485 will come through. I'd like to see some real specs for the Sapphire Pure Element board; unfortunately their web site is 100% devoid of facts. You'd think they weren't actually interested in selling anything.
    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Why do you want onboard sound anyways? It is usualy junk. If I were building a Home Theater PC I would go with an Onkyo PCI Sound Card or M-Audio Revolution. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Why do you want onboard sound anyways? It is usualy junk. If I were building a Home Theater PC I would go with an Onkyo PCI Sound Card or M-Audio Revolution.
    If the board didn't have HD Audio, I'd agree. However, HD Audio (when implemented properly) does a great job, and to add a sound card would take an expansion slot. In a system like this, I'd already be wanting either a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-500MCE or two WinTV PVR 350's, so that I could use it for recording more than one show at once. I'd want to try and keep my slots for things other than audio.

    ASUS' problem here is that in not providing the SPDIF, they hurt the HD audio implementation.
    Reply
  • highlandsun - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Yes, Googer is missing the point that this is supposed to be a complete *Media Center*, that means audio too. I need SPDIF in/out for my minidiscs and other audio devices. I have a multichannel amplifier but I'd prefer to feed it with a pure digital signal. And yes, the PCI slots are already spoken for (Fusion HDTV tuner). Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Actually, spdif and HD audio are pretty much mutually exclusive. The main benefit of spdif is to pass a dolby digital or dts audio stream untouched to a receiver from the dvd disk (or .avi file.) HD audio allows the motherboard to do 7.1 sound on the motherboard, which is then sent out of the analogue outputs - the 7.1 sound in games etc doesn't use spdif unless you have a soundstorm2 board or certain soundcards which do dolby digital encoding.

    For most HTPCs, HD audio doesn't actually do anything.
    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    If i am not mistaken, ATI's chipset allows for 32 or 64MB of dedicated video RAM to be soldered in to the motherboard. This prevents it from having to resort to system memory. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Hmm... I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that the Marvell 88E1111 "Alaska" chip is just functioning as the PHY for the GbE resident in the nForce 430 southbridge chip. I don't see anything in the 88E1111 tech docs that indicate that it's a fully functional PCIe GbE controller - for that you'd need something like the Marvell's 88E8050 "Yukon" chip. Here are some links:

    http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...">http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...
    http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...">http://www.marvell.com/products/transce.../Alaska_...'marvell%2088e1111'
    http://www.marvell.com/products/pcconn/yukon/index...">http://www.marvell.com/products/pcconn/yukon/index...
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The Marvell is a Gigabit PHY, just as in other nForce4 chipsets. As our benchmarks show, it is definitely operating at PCIe speeds. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The fact that a certain PHY (Marvell 88E1111, Vitesse VSC8201RX, etc) and nForce4 MAC combo runs at speeds similar to a dedicated PCIe controller, doesn't make it a PCIe-based solution. Your article would lead one to believe that the Marvell 88E1111 is a PCIe-enabled GbE controller, which in fact it is not. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    We stated clearly in the Features Chart that the Marvel is a PHY (Physical Layer) chip. This is what we have been seeing in nF4 chipsets for quite a while. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Sorry Wesley, but I still think that your article is misleading. The quote "Asus used the PCIe Gigabit hooks in the 430 Southbridge to provide PCIe Gigabit LAN on the A8N-VM." is just not factual. Neither are the "PCIe" labels next to "Marvell 88E1111" on your graphs. The fact of the matter is that there is no PCIe GbE on this board, yet it's plastered all over the "ethernet performance" section of your article. Why don't you just fix the mistake? Where is Anandtech's vaunted journalistic integrity??? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Upon further research, it does look like the 88E1111 does use a different approach to Gigabit LAN than the PCIe solutions. Marvell refers to the chip as a "Single Port Transceiver". From a users perspective, the performance was found to be the same as PCIe Ethernet, but we have made a few changes in the wording and graphs to more accurately describe the Gigabit LAN used on this board. Reply
  • USAF1 - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Thank you very much, Wesley. Now I can stop talking bad about you and your extended family. ;) Reply
  • Anton74 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    It appears this type of board is mostly touted for HTPC use, but I think it's quite excellent for a capable office system as well because of the DVI connector, dual-head capability and gigabit LAN - and of course all the other connectivity goodness that's largely standard these days. And passive cooling, which I appreciate.

    I'm not aware of the existence of any other board with integrated graphics that has a DVI connector and can drive 2 monitors without additional expense. This is absolutely great for a very productive office setup without really breaking the bank (although using a cheaper Sempron CPU is out, since it's Socket 939).

    Of course, competing boards should follow based on this chipset, which is only going to be a good thing. (Are all GeForce 6150 boards expected to have DVI connectors?)

    By the way, are there some availability issues with this board? Newegg.com has had it listed out of stock for a good while now, periodically pushing back the ETA (which now isn't even mentioned anymore). Not many retailers seem to carry it yet, judging from the RTPE.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    DVI connector and can drive 2 monitors
    The only issue with this is that you can't use one of those DVI to VGA converters on this board. There are several warnings on the website and in the manual not to do that.
    Reply
  • Calin - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    There are many (cheaper, it's true) LCD panels that support VGA in, so this won't be such a big problem. Sad is that - if you want dual out, you need a panel with DVI input. Reply
  • Anton74 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    The only issue with this is that you can't use one of those DVI to VGA converters on this board.

    Indeed, but for office applications - especially for those that care enough to invest in a dual head setup - LCD panels are generally more desirable I would think. I know it's what I want for my work system.
    Reply
  • Degrador - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    The article has been removed?? Product Disclosure Statement? Reply
  • ksherman - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    called an NDA (non-Disclosure Agreement) ;) Reply
  • Degrador - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    lol, it is too, right term wasn't coming to mind :) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The article got pushed back by a day to accommodate the Yonah exclusive yesterday. That's why it was temporarily removed.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Degrador - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the reply Anand, it's nice to have a site where we can still get reasons for things :) Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    It would have been nice if Asus included High Definition Audio on this board. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The Asus DOES include HD Audio with the AD1986 codec - the same codec used for HD on the recently reviewed A8R-MVP. However, SPDIF is provided by an optional SPDIF module and TV out is also an optional module. That means you will need to buy optional modules to fully use these features. Reply
  • Donegrim - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    or if they are just headers, solder some wires onto the approriate points. Well, you might save some money. Reply
  • TowerShield - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Doesn't it have HD Audio? Is the on-board sound not real HD? Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Is the on-board sound not real HD?
    After looking through the manual for the board it appears that you have to buy a seperate S/PDIF (fiber optic) module in order to get the true 5.1 surround audio. Also, in order to get the TV Out (S-video) you have to buy that seperately too. 5.1 is not standard and neither is the TV Out. That sucks a bit. Why not include at least the optical out as standard considering most motherboards have it?
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    I agree, ASUS made a big mistake in not including a TV-out +SPDIF (preferrably coax and optical) on a single backplate and including it with this mainboard. This looks like an incredible board for an HTPC product --and that one simple mistake takes it from perfect to missing the mark. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    It DOES have the HD Audio module but you won't be able to get true 5.1 sound without the optical out. Reply

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