Clinging to AGP for the low end makes the least amount of sense. Low end AGP video cards generally cost more and perform poorer than NVIDIA's TurboCache series while board prices between moderate nForce4 4X and nForce3/K8T800 are negligible. Socket 754 motherboards with PCIe are totally the way to go. ASUS and MSI have the strongest showings right now - and our recommendation for a good budget nForce4 Socket 754 motherboard goes to MSI's K8N Neo3-F [RTPE: MS-7135-010]. The Neo3-F also features one of those unusual AGP sockets that route via the Southbridge - so even the fence sitters will have a reason to grab this board.

Of course, feel free to completely ignore our advice and grab an AGP budget motherboard. The K8N Neo3-F we recommended above has more functionality than most of these boards and at a better price.

K8T890 motherboards are pretty much your only alternative to nForce4 on the AMD scale of things right now, but keep in mind that dual core processors still don't work on these motherboards. Since K8T890 boards are usually value oriented anyway (and dual core Athlon 64s are anything but value oriented), we haven't talked much about this problem yet. Given a similarly priced nForce4 motherboard, we would recommend the NVIDIA option to avoid buying a new board if you do eventually end up with a dual core upgrade. It's unfortunate that K8T890 has dual core problems because some motherboards, like the ASUS A8V-E Deluxe [RTPE: A8V-E Deluxe] and the Abit AX8 [RTPE: Abit AX8], are very solid all around motherboards for the price.

Perhaps the most disappointing updates we've heard in a while include the continuous problems plaguing Xpress 200 Crossfire. Xpress 200 (a.k.a. R*400, R*480) had an extremely low adoption rate that didn't extend outside of Tier 1 motherboard manufacturers for very long. At Computex, we saw a plethora of manufacturers ready to jump on board to the "Crossfire" craze for ATI's multiple VPU solution. Sadly, months have gone by without working samples much less retail products. We were slightly lucky at Computex when Anand had the opportunity to benchmark a reference system. Since the most optimistic manufacturers are telling us mid July before a single retail motherboard ships, hope Crossfire is nothing short of incredible by the time it actually shows up. ATI has an interesting opportunity to replace VIA as the number two AMD core logic manufacturer (Xpress 200 actually works with dual core processors), but ATI also has a track record of missed opportunities.

If we are going to talk about ATI as a major core logic manufacturers, we might as well mention ULi too. ULi made quite a stir at Computex with some of their new north bridge technology, but since shipping products are a few weeks (months?) off, it's way too early to say whether or not they have a chance of competing against NVIDIA or ATI in the near future. We have heard of several manufacturers that like ULi's products, but can't adopt them due to the SKU overlap with VIA and NVIDIA products.

There is still some fight left in Socket 462 in the form of Sempron combos. A decent KT880 [RTPE: KT880] motherboard runs around $50 with a Sempron 2600+ [RTPE: SDA2600DUT3D] usually running about $70. There are some bundle deals at various merchants as well, so check out our forums for more details.

Index Intel Motherboards


View All Comments

  • fishy - Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - link

    Another vote for an AMD motherboard roundup...
    Prices, I know, thank's.
  • Live - Monday, June 20, 2005 - link

    I agree with 6 and 7 about needing more roundups of AMD motherboards. Even the motherboards that have been reviewed evolve with new revisions and bios updates. So at least the past medal winners would warrant a new test against what the competitor’s have come up with.

    And sound measurements should be a big part in both testing and final score. Passive NB cooling or at least the ability to exchange the cooler for a third party solution is a must for many users. Imagine a motherboard that wouldn’t let you change your CPU cooler from the standard one. Wouldn’t score very well in a review I would bet. Yet in the last nforce4 roundup it wasn’t even mentioned that most of the motherboards had NB coolers that was very loud and which can’t be exchanged because the graphic card hangs over it.

    Nothing wrong with these price guides tough.
  • yacoub - Monday, June 20, 2005 - link

    Actually that first one should probably be "Why" because bundling ridiculous components/peripherals with a motherboard to jack up the price is ludicrous. Just like how dumb it is when GPUs come with a "software bundle". That's fine as long as you sell the same card WITHOUT that crap for a better price for those of us who have different taste in games, or as is generally the case, already have the 6-month-old games that are offered. Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, June 20, 2005 - link

    what the F is WiFi-TV on a motherboard.


    who the F would pay $300 for a stupid motherboard.

    Those are the first two things that came to mind looking at Intel's list.
  • Tujan - Monday, June 20, 2005 - link

    As for having any"unanounced" DRM. (DRM is DRM or DRM is NOT DRM). There certainly was no anouncement of DTCP-IP. And only here Anandtech said so.Intel had not said so.

    For something to add to the mix in addition to look at this article in (Hi

    Toms Hardware Guide: , What's next for DVD ? Blu-ray and HD-DVD
    battle for your home theater.

    "" DTCP-IP does hint of something more ominous to come. However, don't expect IP-TV feeds from AOL/TW or HBO anytime soon without some DRM infrastructure in place. Our advice? Turn off DTCP-IP in the """

    Whats confusing about this is that of the question: Does everybody have to be a content'' provider ? Big market on 'providing content ahead. Get your DRM,DTCP-IP here etc. Anandtech did a little about detailing what this was about.Would much rather have my attention dealing with VO-IP ,Video Vo-IP (wich incodently ,lollipop),or an accesory technology that benifits ME(or you). Dont think that 'any broadcast is worth the time,it takes to worry about wether or not I(you or me) is a pirate.
    For most of this,the DMCA,and a computers 'encryption diapers are suppose to be for 'everybody ?

    Get your encrypted diapers here.Changes for everybody.You stink em we replace em. And 'count on paying for 'clean encrypted diapers.Yeah.So wheres the Federation when you need it.? Im 40 years old,I need my clean encrypted diapers.

    (c)DMCA.Somebody one of these times is going to rock right into this.And it is going to pay well.Game over.

    Maybe Anandtech could get another tab up their with digital content protection.Wouldn't bother me the least.Think game performance is not going to keep our attention span that long.

    BTW Buy one of these fine motherboards from one of Anantechs sponsors.
  • geogecko - Sunday, June 19, 2005 - link

    #6 Agreed. It's been a while, and as stated, there are over 40 S939 MB out there, it's time for another roundup.

    One suggestion, can we include noise parameters in the MB tests? Some of those little beast fans can ruin a MB choice for someone building an HTPC.

    I just recently received the new A8N-SLI Premium from ASUS, and couldn't be more happy about the 0dBA noise factor...
  • justly - Sunday, June 19, 2005 - link

    Personally I would rather see more motherboard reviews than a price guide. Anyone can search for the best price but readers need to know how the products stack up, and fit their needs.

    I know I can't expect every board to be reviewed, but IMO more motherboard reviews, and more variety when it comes to target markets and chipsets would prove much more usefull to readers than just a price list.
  • bersl2 - Sunday, June 19, 2005 - link

    #4: Read the relevant Intel press release. They said "no *unannounced* DRM"; this has been "announced" for quite some time.

    As far as hardware enforcement, Macrovision is bad enough. If you want to implement that kind of filth, you can do it in your proprietary OS and applications. I prefer to have the final say over my purchased hardware and my data, licensed or personal, and I will fight for your ability to do so, but if you don't want that, so be it.

    I still think anybody who will have knowingly consented to hardware DRM is either insane, irresponsible, or downright evil. Maybe I just don't understand the need for some people to be constrained...
  • Tujan - Sunday, June 19, 2005 - link

    The"" Asus Xpress 2-- p5RD1-V Deluxe.""listed in your chart for Intel (ATI motherboards),that version the 'Deluxe,has an onboard Phillips TV chip for the chipset.It is only selling in Europe though.For some reason.So the vendor is also only selling the p5RD1-V.Dont know how this could be somehow linked to the DTCP-IP and 'Broadcast 'Flag in our country.Probably has to do with the type of signaling (NTS) we use here.Dont know.Wouldn't expect anybody to do all that reading to figure it out.Would be a hot ticket though.

    That DTCP-IP ,wonder how come Intel did all that rambling about 'not having DRM''in their products.Without mentioning what everybody could finally notice from your story.Could be in fact that usage of 'DRM - IS NOT''defined as DTCP.

    And with this:
    ""Some argue that even though the technology is optional, it will probably become mandatory down the line - and since when did it become the job of the computer hardware to decide whether I am allowed to copy or share something?""....this is writers cramp.

    Just the reason DRM is mentioned as every defining moment for a copyright agenda...I still think its most about bankers hours.

    Wonder what that Asus had for a play in all of this.Why that Deluxe wouldn't be sold in U.S.Certainly would've been a winner.Though dont think it will run dual-core Intels.

    Think you could all the m-atxs you could find,or cant...

    And is that ATI catalyst Control Panel a communist or something.?

    Have a descent summer.
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, June 19, 2005 - link

    Hey Ryan,

    A refurb got stuck in there -- the page should update in a few min without that link.


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