The ASUS A8R32-MVP has been a lightning rod of discussion on the Internet since its release over a month ago. After receiving extremely positive reviews by the vast majority of websites at launch, the board acquired a somewhat tarnished image within the enthusiast community shortly after retail availability.

Why the tarnished image? A number of issues surfaced after users had time to utilize the board and experiment with varying component combinations. Issues ranged from the boards inability to properly power-up while in an overclocked condition, ASUS applications and Creative drivers not playing nice together, a humming turning to whining noise when utilizing certain memory modules, game play lag while online, stuttering in graphic intensive games, random benchmark scores, RAID 5 issues with the ULi SATA controller, poor HTT overclocks with synchronous memory settings.... You can start to understand the type of issues early adopters faced with this board.

While the majority of these issues were quickly rectified by ASUS with the 0311 BIOS release a few weeks ago - or in some cases like the humming memory, replacement units - the board's reputation continued to be in question when it came to enthusiast level overclocking. It was not so much the board's ability or not to reach high HTT levels but rather its inability to run memory synchronously at the upper HTT levels. In fact, users have experienced issues reaching the 300HTT level, considered the minimum HTT overclock setting now for an enthusiast board, with a synchronous memory ratio and command rate setting of 1T.

ASUS, along with assistance from ATI, spent the last couple of weeks working on a BIOS update that would further improve the board's compatibility with a broad range of memory types, CPUs, and memory controller revisions, but more importantly to the enthusiast, improved overclocking capabilities. The result of this work is the recently released BIOS 0404 that can be downloaded from ASUS' website. While there are not any new BIOS options or layout changes since the 0311 revision, significant work has progressed on the underlying core that has reportedly improved HTT overclocking levels and memory compatibility.

Our article today looks at the improvements we discovered in overclocking our retail board along with some interesting results along the way. We will not be reviewing the features or general aspects of the board again but will instead focus our efforts on the results obtained with BIOS revision 0404 while operating the memory in synchronous mode. We will refer to the synchronous memory settings as 1:1 memory ratios in the balance of the article for simplicity and the fact this term is still widely used. If further information and details about the Asus A8R32-MVP capabilities are required you can refer to our initial review.

Now let's take a closer look at the testing results of the new BIOS and figure out if progress has been made or not.

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  • SLI - Monday, July 10, 2006 - link

    New BIOS v502. Available here:">
  • abakshi - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link

    Anything new for the A8R-MVP?

    I'm having some performance issues with my system (A64-X2 4400+, A8R-MVP, 2 GB OCZ EL Platinum DDR400, 250GB WD 7200/16/SATA2, ATI X1800XT 512, Enermax 450W, Win XP SP2).

    Specifically, it multitasks very poorly in Windows -- e.g. whenever I insert a CD in the drive, the system basically freezes until the autoplay is done reading. Despite the dual-core A64 setup, it's actually worse at multitasking than my older P4 2.8C / 865PE (P4P800-D) machine. I've tried formatting and reinstalling Win XP, swapping out RAM sticks, different HDDs, etc.

    Games are generally fine, but I do have some stuttering issues, and benches are lower than they should be. I set the RAM timings manually to spec at stock clock (no OC until this is fixed) and made sure everything else was set up right -- no effect.

    The board's been disappointing, and I've seen a lot of other people have issues with it. I've had so many solid Asus Intel-based boards (P4P800-D, P4C800-D, P4T533-C, etc.), and I saw AT and others' reviews of this, so I figured it would be a halfway decent board. It's only faster than my old P4 system in games -- and that too, probably from the video card boost more than anything (X1800XT vs 9800 Pro).
  • Gary Key - Friday, April 21, 2006 - link


    Anything new for the A8R-MVP?

    We have discovered stuttering issues in games and internet applets when utilizing the ADI on-board audio along with the latest version of JAVA 1.5 being loaded on the system. It has been tracked down to the ADI audio driver. Asus is working with ADI on a fix.

    Are you using the AMD X2 driver or Microsoft Dual-Core patch? If not, you will get stuttering and lower than normal performance in certain games and applications.

    Please email us and we can work on your issues with you directly.
  • goinginstyle - Thursday, May 4, 2006 - link

    Any updates?
  • XrayDoc - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link

    Are you sure your tested revision number was 1.3G? I just bought the same board from Newegg. It is a revision 1.03G.
  • Gary Key - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link

    Sorry about that, 1.03G, article corrected. :)
  • mino - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link

    AFAIK K8 memory controler operates in synchronous mode all the time - there is no such a thing as an asynchronous mode in this architecture.

    What you referred to was ratio between clock generator frequency and memory frequency. However memory freq. depends only on the CPU freq. and memory divider employed, clockgen(also called FSB in BIOS-es) freq is irrelevant here as far as memory performance is concerned.

    I hope you consider this in the future when you refer to various memory speed ratios tested.
  • Gary Key - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link


    AFAIK K8 memory controler operates in synchronous mode all the time - there is no such a thing as an asynchronous mode in this architecture.

    I appreciate the comments. We fully understand the technicalities of the K8 memory architecture and would have utilized the "correct" terminology. In doing so our sentence structures would have turned into small paragraphs. ;-) We knew our terminology would be an issue with certain readers. However, we decided to go with synchronous or 1:1 as the majority of people are extremely familiar with this terminology when discussing memory settings, right or wrong. I will see about adding an additional statement clarifying the architecture design and setup.
  • FireTech - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link

    Gary, I know you're busy but what's the rough timeframe for the All Crossfire MB Round-up appearing?
  • Gary Key - Thursday, April 20, 2006 - link


    The lab is backed up right now. ;-) The DFI article will be out next week, Abit following in about a week we hope (board delay). If you want Intel CrossFire we also have the little Yonah that could article coming up shortly.


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