SB600 has finally arrived with the ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 AM2. This new Southbridge is here just in time to offset the disappearing ULi M1575 Southbridge chips. The SB600 introduction gives manufacturers the option to uses a full and up-to-date ATI chipset for AM2 and earlier Athlon64 processors.

Feature ATI SB450 ATI SB600 NVIDIA nForce4 NVIDIA 590
Maximum SATA Speed 1.5Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
SATA Ports 4 4 4 6
RAID Support 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10, JBOD 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD
USB Ports 8 USB 2.0 10 USB 2.0 10 USB 2.0 10 USB 2.0
LAN 10/100 PCI 1Gb Ethernet
PCIe for PHY
1Gb Ethernet
PCIe for PHY
2x1Gb Ethernet
PCIe for PHY
(Can be Combined)
IDE 4 devices
(2 Channels)
2 devices
(1 Channels)
4 devices
(2 Channels)
2 devices
(1 Channels)
AUDIO HD Azalia HD Azalia AC'97 HD Azalia
PCIe Lanes 40 40 Total
2 x16
4 lanes for x1,x2,x4
4 for NB/SB links
44 46 Total
7 links

SB600 provides the features users want, and our testing found USB 2.0 performance to be competitive. SATA and IDE performance are also excellent. Unfortunately for ATI, the standard for features in the industry is a moving target, and NVIDIA now offers 6 SATA2 ports vs.4 on their new Southbridge. NVIDIA also implements 2x1Gb PCIe Ethernet ports which can be combined to provide 2Gb/s Ethernet.

The good news for ATI is that unlike SB450, the new SB600 really does not give up any important performance or check list features. Manufacturers can then add whatever they wish to SB600 to target certain segments. To demonstrate this ATI included two Silicon Image 3132 SATA2 disk controllers on the reference board to bring the total to 8 SATA2 ports. ATI no longer has to apologize for their Southbridge, but the latest NVIDIA offering does provide more ports in the chipset. It is also worth noting that the NVIDIA 500 family fully supports High Definition audio now - a feature long supported by ATI but absent in the NVIDIA nForce4 chipsets.

Index Board & Basic Features


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  • Saist - Friday, June 02, 2006 - link

    to quote

    "short life for AM2 dominance before the launch of Conroe"

    Um. Anandtech, if you actually do believe that Conroe's performance numbers are going to hold up in multithreaded applications that exceed 4megabytes of cache data, I think you need to redo you're calculations. After intel's showing of Conroe behind closed doors during E3, I think you should also be aware that the performance numbers are not adding up. Intel might finally be competitive, but even when Intel chips have been competitive in the past, AMD chips have won on price. AM2 may not be the only game in town come this fall, but to say it has a short life? Makes me wonder if you actually bothered even asking the game developers what they are getting out of the processors.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 02, 2006 - link

    ...multithreaded applications that exceed 4megabytes of cache data..."

    We believe in real world testing. I'm sure there will be applicaitons where AMD still comes out ahead, but synthetic scenarios don't really count. If">Intel wins in encoding tests, 3D rendering, gaming, office... and loses in a few specific benchmarks that require lots of memory and low latency RAM access, does it really mean AMD is competitive? I mean, there are still a few specific scenarios where P4 can beat A64, but you don't see us trumpeting those as being representative.

    What it comes down to is what most people will get out of each platform, and so far it's looking like a pretty clean sweep for Core Duo 2. Woodcrest vs. Opteron in HPC applications might be a different story (I doubt it), but that's really only relevant if you're running server workloads. As far as pricing,">last I saw the $300+ prices of dual core AMD chips are going to have a difficult time competing with $185-$225 Intel chips. Overclocks are also looking promising as well, so a $185 chip running 2.8 GHz will be a force to be reconned with.
  • R3MF - Friday, June 02, 2006 - link

    can you tell me the what and the when of this amzing revelation? Reply
  • Slaimus - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link


    In the end, if you want ATI CrossFire video you must choose ATI AM2 and if you want NVIDIA SLI you must choose NVIDIA nForce5.

    You can run CrossFire on 975X as well. It should be a competitive platform once the new CPUs come out.
  • Axbattler - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    Umm, the article made no mention of the Sil3132 performance on the A8R32-MVP, which I believe is bugged. Reply
  • Trisped - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link">
    First chart, #1 is the Silicon Image 3132 SATA2 (ATI) performance rating.
  • Axbattler - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    I saw that. But if you look at the second graph, the performance of the Sil 3132 in the MSI board is considerably worse than in the ATI reference board.

    That is still quite usable, but the one from the Asus A8R32-MVP is basically unusable (slower than what modern drives are capable).
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    We retested Sil3132 on the ATI and some other controllers for this review, and the other 3132 data should have been deleted. Now corrected. We are not aware of the 3132 issue with the A8R32-MVP. The Sil3132 is one of the best SATA2 controllers on the market, and it is a much better performer than the Sil3114. Reply
  • Axbattler - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    The result does shown in the review does suggest a solid performance from the Sil3132 controller. However, this is what I have been experiencing:
    -"> (Sil controller)
    -"> (ULi controller)

    Two motherboard bioses were tested (0311, 0404), as well as all the drivers from (bundled with the motherboard installation CD, to the latest

    The poor HDTach performance is reflected in real world application too, gaming loading, file copying are all slowed down to horrendous level.

    I believe that Gary was able to replicate this issue (not sure if he eventually found a way around it), although I suppose that based on the result of the other board, it is an issue specific Asus board (perhaps the A8R32-MVP). Is there any chance you could run a test to confirm this?
    Very few people in forums that I've visited use the Sil controller, perhaps due to the positioning of the SATA socket (which is actually optimal to where my Raptor is installed: on a 5.25" drive bay).
  • Trisped - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    ATI AM2.jpg is a bit blurry when blown up. You might want to set the camera on the highest quality setting so that doesn’t happen.


    CPU Clock Multiplier 4x-25x in 0X increments
    0X looks like a typo

    Why did the Audio Performance charts not have any NVIDIA solutions?

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