Remember the NVIDIA GeForce 9300/9400 launch a few weeks ago, yeah we forgot about it also, until NVIDIA called last week to remind us this product was no longer on life support. All joking aside, this product introduction turned out to be a paper launch for the most part with ASUS being the only partner that delivered boards into the retail channel, and barely at that. Over the course of the last week, supply is finally catching up to demand with a variety of boards being available through most channels now.

In the meantime, we had this small thing called the i7 launch and it has consumed us for the past few weeks, too much so to be honest. Instead of completing our IGP Chronicles Part 4 with a final look at the GF9300 and AMD 790GX product lines, we ended up waiting and waiting and waiting on the GF9300 product to show up for review. In hindsight, this was the wrong direction to take after it became obvious that the product was being delayed without "officially" being delayed. Apologies are in order for the wait, but fortunately we received our retail review samples from MSI, EVGA, and Gigabyte today. We should have the Zotac GF9300 here by Friday. Our i7/X58 motherboard coverage starts in a couple of days and with those boards tested and out of the way, we can get back to covering product that most of us afford.

We really liked the GF9300 in our launch coverage and considered it to be the ideal chipset for the HTPC and SOHO markets. We had a few problems (growing pains) with the chipset, BIOS, and drivers, but for the most part our concerns have been addressed with the latest driver and BIOS releases. We are still experiencing problems getting CAS4 stable but based on initial testing with the new boards today, it appears the product has matured quickly. This development, along with decent supply, has us strongly recommending the GF9300 product now.

Of course the question now is which motherboard to recommend. We still have significant testing to complete but the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H has caught our eye in early testing.

The GA-E7AUM-DS2H features the speedier GF9400 chipset, four DDR2 DIMM slots with 16GB support, Realtek RTL-8211CL Gigabit LAN, Realtek ALC 889a HD audio codec, 5 3Gb/s SATA ports and 1 3Gb/s eSATA port (RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD), IEEE 1394a via a T.I. TSB43AB23 chipset, an x16 PCIe 2.0 slot, one x1 PCIe slot, and two PCI slots. Gigabyte covers most of the video standards with VGA, HDMI, and DVI-D outputs. All in all, a full featured uATX board that appears to also be a decent overclocker. Our E8400 has reached a stable 450FSB in early testing and the performance of this board is already at the top compared to other boards in this category.

That is it for now, we will be back as soon as possible to wrap up our IGP series. In case this makes any difference in your purchasing decision before Black Friday, we will be recommending the GA-E7AUM-DS2H in our upcoming buyer's guide.

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  • qwedsa - Thursday, January 8, 2009 - link

    Any timeframe when mentioned part 4 is comming????

    Reply
  • Bugler - Saturday, December 6, 2008 - link

    I appreciate your work guys. However, when I built my machine years ago, I did so based upon your guides. Now there are no high end, medium and low end build guides for an entire system. By this time last year there were holiday buying guides but none this year.

    Not all of us are high techs with the terminology and thus, we reply on your expertise and reviews. My system is very outdated and I need to rebuild.

    Thank you in advance.
    Reply
  • Landiepete - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    Looks like a ideal candidate for people contemplating a Hackintosh.

    Peter R.
    Reply
  • soa118 - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    "we will be recommending the GA-E7AUM-DS2H "

    How could you recommand to buy that board although it has only a PCI-E x16 which is only a x4 PCI-E!!!
    Reply
  • GigabyteColin - Friday, November 28, 2008 - link

    It is running at PCI-E 2.0 x16, not x4 Reply
  • Badkarma - Thursday, November 27, 2008 - link

    Hi,

    Hoping you can take a look at the heat issues. Quite a few on AVS are stating that their chipset HS's are reaching very high temperatures. Only the Zotac board so far has active cooling, but as these are HTPC-oriented mobos, I think most of us HTPCers are interested in how well these boards perform in low airflow scenarios. Adding a small HSF just means more noise.
    Reply
  • BansheeX - Thursday, November 27, 2008 - link

    PCI, IDE, Serial, VGA, and floppy ports. Wake me up ASUS when you get out of the 1990s. Reply
  • KraftyOne - Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - link

    Hey guys - I've been reading AnandTech for at least 9 years...it seems like lately the topics have changed (the last year or so). It used to be that when it came time to build a new computer I could come here and check out a few of the low-mid-high range recommendation articles and some of the CPU and GPU roundups and have a pretty good idea of where to put my money. Lately though, it seems like there is a lack of these types of articles. Please bring back more of the roundups and recommendation articles...they are what brought me to AnandTech in the first place and have always been my favorite articles.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • VaultDweller - Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - link

    Same here (though for me it's about 6 years, not 9).

    I especially find it has gotten weaker in its motherboard coverage. Whereas there used to be comprehensive coverage of a wide range of motherboards, now we tend to see a much smaller selection of boards, and them mainly 'flagship' products, or more recently HTPC-oriented boards. Motherboard articles seem highly focused on very granular BIOS tweaking for overclocking, while analysis of other aspects of the board seem lacking.

    I'd really like to see round-up articles come back in force - especially with motherboards, and in particular it would be groovy if the roundups included multiple boards from the same vendor. Really, some manufacturers (Asus, I'm looking at you) have way too many different parts based on the same chipset, and I don't like needing to sift through forums trying to figure out what the hell differentiates all these parts with seemingly identical specs.

    I can get by well enough as it is. SPCR can more than fill in the slack for case & cooling reviews and news, and other sites like TechReport and Xbit collectively cover a lot of hardware... but once upon a time, I could pretty much count on Anandtech and only Anandtech.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, November 27, 2008 - link

    I do agree with you two. I too miss the motherboard roundups, they where great for reference and when recommending boards. However I don't really feel that it matters so much any more, they are no must have mainstream over clocking boards any more, they are pretty much the same stuff. So sadly it's mostly about the expensive enthusiast over-clocking/gamer boards which I will never buy or would really recommend any other one to buy either. I still think this is one of the best hardware sites around. Toms hardware does a lot of reviews and comparisons but I don't really like reading them.

    I do however like that anandtech takes up a lot of the shortcomings of the products. It saves time looking all that up. I don't think that many interesting things happens in the comp hardware business any more. It's pretty slow moving, I'm just looking at other sites when a google for some reviews now days. Sites like Lost circuits where also great a few years back.
    Reply

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