Final Words

We'll get straight to the point by simply stating that each and every one of these nForce2 motherboards will meet the needs of a different type of user. There are all types of users, including power users, overclockers, tweakers, modders…there's just no end to it. One thing is clear however; if you're going to be purchasing an Athlon XP motherboard in today's market, you'd be insane not to choose a motherboard based on NVIDIA's nForce2 platform.

Choosing a manufacturer for nForce2 is another story. Some users will eventually base their nForce2 purchase on what their past experience has been with that particular brand. Other users will simply use one brand no matter what, without looking at the merits of another, possibly better, brand. Still others will base their purchase on the technical merits of the product itself, without too much consideration for the motherboard manufacturer in question.

So where does that leave you guys, the end users, looking to purchase an nForce2 motherboard? Well, to answer that question, we'll have break users into two distinct categories:

1. Power User: users looking for a feature-rich, fast and stable motherboard where price is a minor consideration.
2. Value User: users that are on a tight budget and simply need a motherboard that is fast and comes with a basic feature-set.

It was a tough call choosing between the Chaintech 7NJS and the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe, but eventually we decided to choose the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe for best power user motherboard in the Athlon XP market. Thus the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe won our Editor's Choice Silver Award for best high-end motherboard for the Athlon XP platform. With features like USB 2.0, FireWire, Serial ATA RAID and dual LAN (and all for a very reasonable price), we feel the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe is worthy of this award. This award does come with one caveat however; ASUS must improve their tech support policies, as their current non-response strategy is completely unacceptable. Very poor tech support is what kept ASUS from getting the Gold here.

The Chaintech 7NJS comes through with an honorable mention in the power user category. UPDATE 12/05/02 After some revaluation, we've decided that the ABIT NF7-S also deserves an honorable mention in the power user category. At the time of publishing, the ABIT NF7-S wasn't widely available (especially in the U.S.), but in recent hours has become available in limited quantities. That fact, in combination with revaluating the ABIT NF7-S' features has prompted us to give the ABIT NF7-S an honorable mention in the power user category.

The Editor's Choice Gold Award for best value motherboard goes to the Epox 8RDA+. The combination of speed, solid features and a bargain-basement price are what makes the Epox 8RDA+ our Editor's Choice Gold Award for best value motherboard in the Athlon XP market. It doesn't hurt that the Epox 8RDA+ ended up overclocking the best out of any other motherboard. Value users should also be pleased with Epox's excellent tech support and RMA policy.

The MSI K7N2-L and Leadtek K7NCR18D are fairly decent motherboards for the market they're targeted at, which is value to mid-range users. The MSI K7N2-L does come with a value price tag for the most part, but is significantly outclassed by the Epox 8RDA+ in performance (stock and overclocked speeds), customer service (tech support and RMA), availability, and even price. The Leadtek K7NCR18D is in a similar situation as the MSI K7N2-L. The Leadtek K7NCR18D is outclassed by the Epox 8RDA+ in performance (stock and overclocked speeds), customer service (tech support and RMA) and price at certain major online vendors.

Well we hope you enjoyed our coverage of these nForce2-based motherboards. Stay tuned for SiS 655, P4X600, 845PE and KT400A reviews soon.

High-End Workstation Performance (continued...)
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