ATI RS400/RS480

After the initial outpouring of love from the press, the RS480 chipset from ATI for AMD Socket 939 has gone almost silent. ATI tells us that enthusiast boards based on this chipset are still coming, and as proof they had a test rig set-up running 24/7 at DDR630 - a CPU frequency of 315.

The ATI demo system was water-cooled and ATI tells us that they have actually pushed their new chipset even further, but the system runs day and night, rock-solid, at a Clock Speed of 315. Where are those Radeon Express 200 motherboards?

MSI was showing a micro-ATX board based on RS480 and so was Asus. These boards bring great DX9 integrated graphics to the micro market, but they are not the enthusiast boards for which we have all been waiting. This is not to take anything away from the Athlon 64 integrated graphics versions, since RS480 is one of the few decent integrated graphics solutions for Athlon 64.

RS400 for Intel

We also saw the upcoming Intel version of the new ATI chipset at Asus and MSI.

Asus was showing an enthusiast version of the ATI chipset for Intel, but had no plans to do an enthusiast RX480. Apparently, they put so much work into the outstanding (but very late) Asus RS350 that they decided to recycle their work in an RS400 reincarnation. We will take a closer look at what Asus has delivered in the near future.

ATI has pooled a lot of help from ULI with the newest SB400 southbridge alternative, and a lot of help from unnamed partners to get their memory controller up to snuff. Hands down, ATI has the best IGP solution out there, but will the new RS400 chipset be enough for the enthusiast market as well?

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  • MarkM - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    >For those still in the AGP camp, DFI also had the nForce3 250 socket 939 LanParty on display, but not in final PCB.

    Well, that is depressing, "not in final PCB?" I figure that means it's at least another moneht before I'll ever see it. I was really trying hard to wait for this board for my 939/AGP build, but everyone else may be talking about the "Athlon 128" before it finally materializes! :)
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    I don't want SLI either, but the second x16 slot will work as a x1 in "single graphics-card mode", so you don't lose anything by going for the SLI capable board. The Asus SLI board effectively gives you three PCIe x1 slots then.

    It's probably worth holding off just slightly longer anyway because AMD's E0 revision A64 cores should be out soon, which as well as the SSE3 instructions, are expected to be manufactured using the latest strained-silicon process which further reduces power-consumption and increases overclocking potential.
  • sophus - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    #5 I'm TRYING to wait for nforce4 non-SLI also.but only the gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 is available for about $150.

    is it wrong to want AMD + PCIe? late january couldn't come sooner...

    I wanted a nice SLI rig but the initial prices are too steep for my liking.
  • geogecko - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    #5. No, actually, there are two of us. Any word on when the A8N-E Premium will be available? This board looks perfect for the HTPC community, with the low profile chipset passive cooler.

    Where is it ASUS???
  • smn198 - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    What do you think the chances are that once we have dual core, we will get 939 dual socket boards? I'd be interested! Reply
  • Swaid - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    If it's what I am assuming they are talking about, is that there is no need for a bearing surface since the whole fan housing is suspended in a magnetic field... Sure all other case fans are turned by an alternating magnetic field, but they are also not suspended by that same (maybe?) field. This would greatly reduce friction and cut down noise. It would be nice to see a diagram of this to know what they are specifically talking about. Sounds exactly what #16 said... Using MagLev technology (just on a smaller scale).
  • Decel - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    Actually, I believe that they're using MagLev.. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    Hehe, I take my (virtual) hat off to DFI's marketing division for coming up with that magnetic-field nonsense. All fans regardless of their bearings effectively spin in a magnetic-field, that's what is making them spin.

    Its strange that when they say it "reduces friction, wear and tear, and heat generation", that they don't include the first thing someone might notice about a chipset fan-- noise. Instead they claim the fan operates more efficiently without any proof.

    Don't get me wrong, I may buy a DFI mobo when I build my nForce4 box, but marketing bull like this really turns me off.
  • Momental - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    "the Fatal1ty AN8, based on the same nF4 ultra chipset, but geared toward top gaming with a price of over $300"

    Did I read that correctly??? ABit will be coming out with a motherboard that retails for THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?? Umm.........yeah. What does it do besides make the most fantastic cup of Columbian coffee and amazing brownies?? I'm no cheapskate, by any means, but ya gotta be kiddin' me. That's some serious coin for a board.
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, January 13, 2005 - link

    #11 and #12 - We asked DFI your questions and they are answered in the Press release:

    "both nForce4 chipset based motherboards feature Japanese aluminum electrolytic capacitors, magnetic levitation north bridge cooling fan with fan speed control, and all aluminum heat sink on mosfets. The conductive polymer (electrolytic) aluminum solid capacitors provide high resistance to over-voltage and reverse voltage as compared with other capacitors, making them the ideal choice for overclocking and mission critical motherboards. To further provide maximum cooling on-board, both motherboards feature DFI’s first magnetic levitation chipset cooling fan that moves almost twice the air compared to standard chipset fans while producing extremely little noise. Thanks to magnetic levitation technology, the spinning fan blades “float” in a magnetic field and thereby dramatically reduces friction, wear and tear, and heat generation."

    We have also corrected the description to the more accurate "Magnetic Levitation".

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