Asus A8R32-MVP: Board Layout

Asus has moved the Dual X16 A8R32-MVP to the Deluxe name. This is reflected in the upgraded packaging with the upgraded Asus Sleeve and inner box. The dark gray AI Life package also emphasizes the addition of Stack Cool 2 for better overclocking and the 3-year Asus warranty.

The new RD580 northbridge is incredibly small, as you can see in this photo without the Northbridge heatsink. However, this chip drives both x16 PCIe channels. Other IO tasks are generally handled by the Southbridge.

The Asus A8R-MVP was the first board we reviewed that used the ULi M1575 south bridge instead of the SB450. That meant full support for 4 SATA2 devices, and fully competitive USB performance with 8 USB 2.0 ports. Asus is continuing the use of the excellent ULi M1575 Southbridge on the A8R32-MVP Deluxe. This looks like a wise move, since we will not likely see the updated ATI SB600 Southbridge until the launch of the new AMD AM2 processors.

Since the A8R32-SLI Deluxe is an upgrade to the current A8R-MVP, the best way to compare the two boards is to take a closer look at what has changed in the upgrade.

Click to enlarge.

Those who complained that the Asus A8R-MVP was an ugly color will be glad to see that Asus has moved to an all-black design for the A8R32-MVP Deluxe. Asus has kept the passive cooling, which is good news for fans of silent PCs. Beyond that, there are some refinements in the board layout. The four SATA2 connectors off the ULi M1575 have been turned to be parallel to the expansion slots - a better arrangement for long cards - and the 2nd IDE has been moved from board edge to upper right.

The only other layout change of any significance involves the PCIe slots. Asus has spread the 2 PCIe slots to a distance of 2 slots between the two x16 slots. This allows better video card cooling. It also requires a slight rearrangement of the available slots, but the total slots - 2 x16 PCIe, 1 x1 PCIe, and 2 PCI - remains the same.

If you look closely, you will see that the RD580 does not need a supplementary 4-pin Molex connection like the earlier 480, and that connector has been removed from the A8R32-MVP. We had no problems with stability of 2 video cards, even with dual X1900XT video cards, so the extra power connection is not necessary for stable dual video on the A8R32-MVP.

The rest of the updates to the A8R32-MVP Deluxe are not so obvious at first look.

The 6-channel AD1986A HD audio codec of the A8R has been upgraded on the A8R32 to the Realtek ALC 882 HD codec. The 8-channel Realtek is a well-regarded High Definition codec that has performed well in recent tests. Realtek has been upgrading their HD drivers frequently, and each new version seems to improve the performance a bit more. You can find more information on the Realtek ALC882 HD at their site.

The ALC882 has superb specifications, providing five 24-bit stereo DACs and three 20-bit stereo DACs driving the multimedia features. All DACs provide sample rates to 192kHz and up to 4 channels of microphone input are supported. Signal-to-Noise ratio is specified to be greater than 103dB. Realtek features the ALC882 as a premium HD part.

Just above the Northbridge heat sink, you will see another addition to the A8R32-MVP. In another move to "Deluxe", Asus has added a second SATA2 controller to the A8R32-MVP. While both boards feature the 4 SATA2 ports provided by the ULi M1575 Southbridge, the A8R32 adds 2 more ports controlled by the well-regarded Silicon Image 3132. This brings SATA2 ports to 6 on the A8R32-MVP.

Another addition that justifies the Asus move of the A8R32-MVP to the Deluxe moniker is the addition of a second Gigabit LAN. Where the A8R has just the slower PCI Gigabit Ethernet, the A8R32 adds a second full-speed Gigabit LAN on the PCIe bus. This will be an important addition for some buyers.

The A8R32-MVP provides a full compliment of rear IO connectors, including both optical and coaxial SPDIF. The new connector to the right of the SPDIFs is for an external SATA device. Two Firewire ports are provided, but both are supported by an auxiliary slot bracket included in the A8R32-MVP package or with header connections to case Firewire ports.

The refinements to the A8R32-MVP Deluxe layout are subtle, but they improve on the already excellent design of the A8R-MVP. Asus has a reputation for paying attention to details in their board layouts, and they do not disappoint with the A8R32-MVP.

Index Basic Features: Asus A8R32-MVP


View All Comments

  • ocyl - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Page 4 mentions that there is an Asus board called "A8N32-MVP." Does anyone know where to find more information about this board, if it does exist?
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    It should have read A8N32-SLI and has been corrected. Thank you. Reply
  • Darthb0b0 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    I'd like to see numbers of both X1800 and X1900 Crossfire, on both the A8R and A8R32 (four sets of numbers for those who are math impaired). I am much more interested in how this new board, and its price premium, affect Crossfire performance. Reply
  • nicolasb - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Can we have some comparable benchmarks for 7800GTX 512 as well as 7800GTX? And 7800GTX 512 in SLI mode too. Reply
  • whippingboy79 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    **"The NVIDIA 7800GTX and ATI X1900XT are readily available for purchase in the marketplace. Since the 7800GTX 512 is not available for sale anywhere and has not been available for weeks, it seemed unfair to compare x1900XT results to products that are not available for purchase."**

    Please don't take this personally Anandtech but your reviews are seriously flawed...
    This article should of only been written if the proper hardware was available for testing.

    If that was the case then the article should review a X1800XT Crossfire vs the 7800gtx 256 SLI in the A8R32-MVP.... These cards are based on competing technologies 2-3 quarters ago..... The X1900 series cards are based on current technologies as are the new 7900 from Nvidia and some might throw in the 7800gtx 512-
    Back in december the 7800gtx 512 was readily available on launch- give the 1900xt another 2 months and we will see what the availability of the product looks like. Even now the 1900xt is in low quantities.. give it another 3 weeks and well you get the picture.

    I have been finding that some of the Anandtech writers are not objective enough. They have a habit of allowing thier personal views and tastes on hardware flaw their testing and results. Sadly I can still recall the days when Anandtech was a viable resource.....

  • dali71 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    That's funny, I just checked three of the main reputable online vendors and found that they all appeared to have plenty of the X1900 series in stock and priced reasonably as well (reasonable being a relative term when referring to high end video cards). I then checked the same three vendors for the 7800GTX 512. Only one actually had listings for the cards, but they were all backordered and ridiculously overpriced as well. So since you are obviously a biased Nvidia fanboi, why don't YOU give it another 3 weeks to 2 months and see if you can extract your foot from your mouth when X1900s are still readily available. Reply
  • Sh0ckwave - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Seriously you guys need to stop flaming every article Anandtech publishes. Get over it, if you don't like their reviews don't read them. IMO Anandtech is still the best and always has been. Reply
  • Matthews316 - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    I would have liked to see a side by side graph comparison of these two boards with crossfire enabled. That way we could get an idea if the dual x 16 PCI-E slots on the A8R32-MVP made any significant gaming performance improvement over the dual x 8 PCI-E slots on the A8R-MVP. Otherwise I really enjoyed the review, and I'll probably be purchasing one of these boards once the price settles down a little. Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    Well, well, well - the disappearing Asus Mobo Hype. I lost count is this the forth or fifth hype posting in the past ten days that has been up, down, up, down, up, down and a real jerk around?

    After the abortion A8R-MVP Asus shipped as a designed for "serious overclockers" piece of garbage, they can stick the A8R32 where the Sun don't shine. The A8R-MVP was the most over-hyped under performing mobo ever sold and IMNHO a fraud as it doesn't come even close to delivering the advertised performance Asus claims.

    I find it amazing how Asus feeds Anandtech all the info. they desire but Asus can't or won't fix the defective A8R-MVP mobos that have documented memory incompatibility issues, 1T timing issues, vcore voltage issues, MVP card issues and more. Asus has the balls to dump the defective A8R-MVP mobo into the marketplace and then flat refuse to even support this malfunctioning mobo or even discuss with their customers any solution to the long list of problems. Asus completely ignores its customers and has provided no BIOS upgrades that fix any of the listed problems above. Once upon a time we had good Asus mobos but for the past several years Asus has been unable to deliver any reliable, properly functioning mobos. It took them four different SLI models to get an SLI32 mobo that performs equal to every other mobo companies SLI X16 mobo, so you gotta believe Asus has engineering issues.

    As if to illustrate how gullible some consumers are the A8R32 addresses some but not all of the problems on the A8R-MVP that according to Anandtech and Asus were not problems at all. This must be like with MICROSUCKS where bad security code isn't a defect it's a "feature". It's amazing the B.S. that is published to suck up to unscrupulous manufacturers. The disguised damage control is for the naive who don't have a clue. If a S939 mobo can't run standard industry DIMMS in 1T and the vcore voltage varies 100 mV or more, the mobo is a problem child. The fact that Asus still deletes the proper vcore voltage options in BIOS on the A8R32 tells me they still have engineering problems IMNHO.

    Sorry Wes but these Asus reviews are not objective scientific tests any more they are just marketing hype. It looks like you're way too close to Asus to tell the whole story instead of regurgitating the glowing marketing hype. When Asus recalls all of the defective A8R-MVP mobos and replaces them with properly functioning A8R-MVP mobos, then they'll prove they have their act together and that they care about their customers. Otherwise IMNHO they are just an unscrupulous company dumping defective goods into the marketplace to defraud consumers.

    Looks like there is little value in reading Anandtech any more as it's become unreliable just like THG did after Tom left. We ain't buying the hype and Asus can shove their entire product line where the Sun don't shine. They may have made short term profits by defrauding A8R-MVP buyers with defective goods, but in the long term they will lose a lot of customers to other mobo makers.
  • theprodigalrebel - Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - link

    i was almost paying attention to your post, but you lost me when you wrote 'microsucks'.
    stupid troll.

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