For a platform and CPU that were almost invisible before their May 23rd launch, AM2 and the supporting AM2 chipsets are proving to be remarkably mature. Part 1 and Part 2 of our AM2 roundup examined four AM2 motherboards based on the nForce 500 family of chipsets. Three were based on the top-end 590 SLI chipset and one was based on the mainstream 570 SLI chipset. Part 3 looks at two of the most exciting nForce 500 motherboards that have been evaluated - the readily available top-end ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe and the mainstream Epox MF570SLI.

The ASUS M2N32-SLI was quickly out the door as the Reference Board supplied by AMD for the AM2 launch. CPU manufacturers are always careful about Reference Boards and AMD's confidence in the ASUS AM2 platform speaks highly of the board's stability and performance. Our review here is based on the full retail version of the M2N32-SLI Deluxe, complete with on-board wireless 802.11 b/g and dual-Gigabit LAN ports that can be "teamed" to create a 2Gb port. The review board is currently available at many on-line e-tailers and local computer shops. For more information on pricing and availability of the M2N32-SLI Deluxe please refer to the just-published Price Guide, June 2006: Motherboards

Just below the nForce 590 for AM2 is the single X16/dual X8 nForce 570 SLI. The 570 SLI uses the same new 590 chip as the top-end chipset, but it does not supply the second SPP chip for the additional X16 PCIe support.

nForce 500 Specifications
  NVIDIA nForce
590 SLI
570 SLI
570 Ultra
NVIDIA nForce 550
Segment Enthusiast SLI
(2 X16)
Performance SLI
(2 X8)
Performance Mainstream
CPU Suggestion Athlon 64 FX
Athlon 64 X2
Athlon 64
Athlon 64 FX
Athlon 64 X2
Athlon 64
Athlon 64 FX
Athlon 64 X2
Athlon 64
Athlon 64
SLI Technology Yes Yes No No
NVIDIA LinkBoost Yes No No No
NVIDIA FirstPacket Yes Yes Yes No
NVIDIA DualNet Yes Yes Yes No
Gigabit Connections 2 2 2 1
Teaming Yes Yes Yes No
TCP/IP Acceleration Yes Yes Yes No
MediaShield Yes Yes Yes Yes
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1
NVIDIA nTune 5 Yes Yes Yes Yes
PCI Express Lanes 46 28 20 20
Links 9 6 5 5
USB Ports 10 10 10 10
PCI Slots Supported 5 5 5 5
Audio Azalia Azalia Azalia Azalia

570 SLI also does not support all the NVIDIA auto-overclocking features like LinkBoost as you can see in the above chart. 570 is clearly a mainstream part, but performance should be at the same level as nForce 590. The most important distinction is support for dual X16 PCIe on 590 versus support for dual X8 PCIe on 570 SLI. For more information and a detailed comparison of the nForce 500 family chipsets please refer to nForce 500: nForce4 on Steroids?

The Epox MF570SLI is based on this mainstream 570 SLI chipset. You will see in the review of this board that you can still find an incredibly well-appointed board with almost every overclocking option you can imagine in a mainstream-priced board.

ASUS: Features & Board Layout


View All Comments

  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - link

    Asus opted to design for PCI access. With SLI using dual-width video cards there are still two PCI slots available, but the single x4 PCIe is covered. With single-width cards in SLI 3 PCI and an x4 PCIe are available. Reply
  • MacGuffin - Thursday, June 29, 2006 - link

    The picture of the motherboard on Newegg is different: the AT review shows a PCI slot above the black PCIe x16 slot...but the retail board at Newegg has a PCIe x1 slot. Except for that, everything else looks identical. Are there two versions of this board floating around? One with 3 PCI/1 PCIe x4 and the other with 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x4 and 1 PCIe x1? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 29, 2006 - link

    There are 2 versions of the board - with WiFi and without. The retail version we tested was WITH WiFi built in. Reply

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