Overclocking

ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
Overclocking Testbed
Processor: AM2 4800+ (X2, 2.4GHz, 1MB Cache per core)
CPU Voltage: 1.525V (default 1.4V)
Cooling: AMD Stock Heatpipe FX62 Cooler
Power Supply: OCZ Power Stream 520W
Memory: Corsair Twin2x2048-PC2-8500C5 (2x1GB)
(Micron Memory Chips)
Hard Drive Hitachi 250GB 7200RPM SATA2 16MB Cache
Maximum OC:
(Standard Ratio)
260x12 (5x HT, 3-3-3-Auto)
3120MHz (+30%)
Maximum FSB:
(Lower Ratio)
350 x 9 (4x HT, 3-3-3-Auto)
(3042MHz, 2 DIMMs in DC mode)
(+75% Bus Overclock)

ASUS told us in meetings that the M2N32-SLI Deluxe was capable of overclocking to a 350 CPU clock speed. At 1.525V on the CPU we reached a highest stable speed of 350x9. This is a 75% bus overclock and the highest speed we have ever reached in any of the AM2 motherboard tests. The M2N32-SLI Deluxe was extremely stable at this speed, and we may have reached even higher speeds if we had dropped the multiplier further, increased the voltage more, or used better CPU cooling. We stayed at the 9x multiplier for consistency with other test results.

At the stock 12x multiplier the system reached 260x12, 3.12GHz, at the same voltage. This is again the highest this CPU has achieved. The ASUS 8-phase design appears to work very well in maximizing stability in overclocking. The passive cooling system was also very effective even at these high overclocks. Again, you may be able to achieve even better results with some active cooling on the chipsets. The SPP, in particular, seems to get hotter than the new 590 MCP and it may benefit from active cooling.

It was very satisfying to reach a stable 350 MHz with a system with passive cooling. The only active fan on the board was the CPU cooler fan, and even that was a stock AMD cooling fan with a heatpipe.

Memory Testing
Optimum tRAS

DDR2 memory behaves quite differently in ASUS tRAS testing than we have seen on other AM2 boards. As you can see from the standard chart below, a 2GB kit of Corsair 8500 (DDR2-1066) experienced the SAME bandwidth no matter what tRAS setting was used. ASUS is apparently controlling and optimizing tRAS timings internally.

Memtest86 Bandwidth
ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe with AM2 4800+
6 tRAS 3138
7 tRAS 3138
8 tRAS 3138
9 tRAS 3138
10 tRAS 3138
11 tRAS 3138
12 tRAS 3138
13 tRAS 3138
14 tRAS 3138
15 tRAS 3138
16 tRAS 3138
17 tRAS 3138
18 tRAS 3138
AUTO
(CPUZ tRAS 18 Reported)
3248

To further test this idea, we also ran tRAS at the AUTO setting, which yielded the highest memory bandwidth in the tRAS tests. To determine the tRAS that was being set by AUTO we looked at memory timings with CPUZ. That utility reported tRAS of 18, which is the highest available setting. We do not really know whether 19 is being set by auto or whether AUTO merely reports the highest setting but then dynamically adjusts tRAS.

Whatever the mechanism, a tRAS setting of AUTO produced the highest memory bandwidth. All stock benchmarking was performed with Corsair 8500 settings of DDR2-800 at 3-3-3-Auto settings at 2.225V.

Memory Stress Testing

The wide range of voltage controls on the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe help users to get the most out of overclocking and the best performance from memory modules. Most DDR2-800 memory is rated at conservative 5-5-5-15 timings, but that's also assuming you only run with the default 1.8 V. We have found in our DDR2 testing that many modules are easily able to run 4-4-4-12 timings at 2.0 V, and the Corsair modules we are testing with (rated at 5-5-5-18 DDR2-1066) are generally able to run with 3-3-3-9 timings with approximately 2.2 V.

ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
DDR2-800 Timings - 2 DIMMs
(2/4 slots populated - 1 Dual-Channel Bank)
Clock Speed: 200MHz
Timing Mode: 800MHz - Default
CAS Latency: 3
RAS to CAS Delay: 3
RAS Precharge: 3
RAS Cycle Time: Auto (18 Reported)
Command Rate: 1T
Voltage: 2.225V

With two DIMMs installed, testing was completely stable at 3-3-3-Auto 1T timings at DDR2-800. This is very rare for two reasons. First, AMD does not really support 1T timings with DDR2-800 in the current on-chip memory controller, and Gigabyte is the only other board we have tested that can also operate at 1T timings. All of our utilities report operation is at 1T also.

Several benchmarks were run to compare performance at 1T and 2T timings, but we could not find any real-world performance improvements with the 1T timings compared to 2T. AMD is said to be readying a revision to the AM2 memory controller that will officially support 1T Command Rate. Perhaps that new design with support for 1T will make a more significant improvement in performance.

ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
DDR2-800 Timings - 4 DIMMs
(4/4 slots populated - 2 Dual-Channel Banks)
Clock Speed: 200MHz
Timing Mode: 800MHz - Default
CAS Latency: 3
RAS to CAS Delay: 3
RAS Precharge: 3
RAS Cycle Time: 10
Command Rate: 2T
Voltage: 2.225V

The ASUS M2N32-SLI also exhibited remarkable performance with four 1GB DIMMs. Installing four DIMMs stresses the memory subsystem further, but the ASUS was still stable at the same 3-3-3-Auto timings that worked best with 2 DIMMs. As expected, we did have to drop command rate to 2T but we doubt you can measure that impact on a memory controller designed for 2T operation.

The ASUS is the only AM2 motherboard we have tested so far that was able to run four 1GB DIMMs at 3-3-3 timings. That performance speaks very well for the stability of the ASUS design, since the memory controller in all our motherboard tests is the same initial release AM2 CPU.

ASUS: Features & Board Layout Epox: Features & Board Layout
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  • leexgx - Sunday, April 15, 2007 - link

    i am trying to get an stable overclock from this m2n32-sli deluxe got an 3800+ X2 at 2.65 (10x265) when i set it to 2.70 270 it just BSOD

    do i need to up MB and SB volts up ? as well or lower the NB to SB as well

    if any one could point me to an web site that has overclocked one of these motherboards be usefull
    Reply
  • mss242 - Tuesday, December 5, 2006 - link

    doesn't the asus also offer raid 5? Page 2 lists raid options as 0,1,0+1,10, and JBOD. Reply
  • darkswordsman17 - Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - link

    Something I've noticed is a lot of boards are starting to get DDL/Dolby Master Studio and DTS Connect capabilities, but Anandtech doesn't even mention it half the time, and doesn't even test it at all.

    I think it would be worth looking into, as its really starting to become a viable alternative to Creative's surround solutions (EAX support wouldn't even matter if its being encoded in DD/DTS would it), which more than a few people do not like (although myself am fairly neutral as I've liked the Creative cards I've owned). Also, there are plenty of people sore over losing DDL support when they moved to a newer platform than nForce2 with SoundStorm. I often see people saying how they still miss it, and yet, its been here for almost 6 months already (Intel Bad Axe, possibly others). I see a lot of new boards from ASUS, Gigabyte, and Abit featuring support for these.

    Also a lot of these new boards are using different chips to handle processing, so maybe that makes a difference as far as quality or performance.

    I just think it would be beneficial at the very least to make a note of it, as its not always easy to find out what boards actually do support them.

    Just a thought.
    Reply
  • classy - Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - link

    Why not show the results of the scores gained from oc? Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Friday, June 30, 2006 - link

    Probably because it's a review of the motherboard and not the CPU itself. All a motherboard review needs is information about the maximum HTT speeds achieveably on the board at stock. Reply
  • saratoga - Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - link

    The CPU use numbers for the on board audio are great, but it'd also be nice to know just how good the actual quality is. If theres massive THD or a resampling problem, benchmarks will look great, but the part may still suck.

    Using RMAA would allow people to see immediately if there were any serious issues with the sound quality such as poor resampling or noise.

    Seeing as other tech sites have started using it, it'd be nice if you guys could too. See this review:

    http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q4/soundblaster-...">http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q4/soundblaster-...

    Obvious so much info isn't needed for a motherboard review, but posting the summary chart that RMAA spits out with the crosstalk, SNR, IMD and THD numbers would be great.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, June 29, 2006 - link

    We will post RMAA results when a new audio chip is introduced. I will run the results on this chipset and have it available in our next article. We actually used RMAA 5.5 in a previous article and had more comments wanting subjective analysis. However, we will do the short version of the test results. :) Reply
  • Sifl - Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - link

    quote:

    "...a connector for the included antenna for the wireless LAN."


    With a new and interesting built-in WiFi option (as far as ATX MOBO's go), why not show us the antenna and where it goes?

    For the Asus board layout, I can see all the IO ports (letter designations on the image could help identify which connector is which) but I'm not sure where the WiFi antenna would go. Is it the little gold colored thing off to the right in the picture for rear IO? Because I don't see that same thing in the top views. Maybe another view is better like a perspective view of the ports, rather than the straigh-on view.

    And why does the Epox lack Firewire -- But has 10 USB's ?! Who uses 10 USB ports? Firewire is just basic for any digital video equipment. I chose my current MOBO (Epox 9NPA+) because it HAS Firewire. Maybe they will have another model with it included.
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - link

    "Who uses 10 USB ports?" I do...
    But then again I also use firewire, bure still it would have been stupid for Epox to have included less USB ports (arrggg EVGA's microATX nForce4 SLI mobo of mine only supporting 8). Back 6 have printer, Windows Media Center Remote sensor, mouse, cell phone data/charger for MPX220 (mine), and cell phone data/charger for Motorola V3 Razr (g/f's), and webcam. Then only 2 of my front 4 USb ports can be connected, and that means I can only use 2 USB devices in the front (ranging from hard drive cages for testing, flash sticks, USB controllers for emulators, etc.) For a manufacturer to have a chipset with 10 USBs yet only implement 8 is just kind of backwards and extremely pointless :-/

    On a side note I did have to laugh at PCI/AGP Fixed at 33/66 as there seem sot be no AGP on these boards for it to be locked at 66 :)

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

    Yes, the antenna screws to the gold connector on the right of the rear IO port on the Asus.

    As for no firewire on the Epox, it is likely a cost savings to meet a target price point. Most of the digital cameras we have seen recently have emphasized high-speed USB2 instead of Firewire, although we agree Firewire is still widely used in digital cameras and video. Add-on Firewire cards are very reasonable, but they would be an added expense if you required Firewire on the Epox.

    The MSI 570 reviewed at http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2773&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2773&am... is also based on the nForce 570 chipset and does feature Firewire.
    Reply

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