Ok, in a different subforum I mentioned plans to buy the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe and many of you guys said not to get it. So what NVIDIA nForce™4 SLI X16 motherboards are out there and which one should I get?
Will be used for:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
NVidia 7900GT (eventually 2 of them)
1 GB PC4000 DDR
Sound Blaster X-Fi
So far I only know of these 2 boards:
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe
DFI LANPARTY UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert
I don't have much interest in overclocking. I just want the fastest high quality board I can get that will run dual SLI x16 cards.
I'm guessing that the peopel said this too you because that an X16 board does not offer much performance gain over a regular SLI board (at least in terms of graphics performance), and you pay through the nose for them.
Also, compared so a motherboard such as the DFI LanParty nF4 SLI-DR, the X16s don't offer as much expandability.
That said, the X16s are generally made of slightly higher quality, so you can push them a little farther than others. Since you don't want to overclock, again, that gain is lost on you. If you're still adamit on getting an X16, I'd go with the Asus one as it's easier to use and you don't want to overclock. The DFI is also a great board, and the two of them can run neck and neck with each other.
Oh, if you're not planning on overclocking anything (no FSB increases, more than 1:1 FSB:RAM ratios), the PC4000 is a bit of a waste, so go with a set of PC3200 instead. And get 2x1GB, cause you'll definitly want it in a few months time, rather than 2x512MB.
No, you can overclock quite well with the Asus X16 board. The DFI one provides more features / minor details to fine tune your overclock. Long story short: The Asus board will provide you a solid basis from which you can overclock your system, with less of a learning curve/handling more things behind the scense. The DFI board on the other hand will allow you to tweak the minor details to try and get every last bit of performance you can from your components.
If I remember correctly though, even with the fewer options, the Asus board has consistantly reached higher FSB speeds than the DFI board (This is only the case with the X16 boards, not their lesser models), though I think DFI has provided for higher RAM/CPU clocks.
I've never had anything but problems with these boards, I know that every company has some QC problems now and then but with me and MSI it always seems to be now.
Stick with either the Asus or DFI, there's a reason they cost more...
I believe that either board will work for you, if you aren't into the DIY OC then Asus has an OC utility that you can use in windows. This is not something I would recommend for anyone usually but it can get you into the world of OC slowly. When you find that it's not good enough then you can start to learn about doing it manually.
I have the MSI, my friend has the ASUS. Of the two both will give you the exact same preformance. The MSI costs like $15 less, has a far, far better layout, and has SB Audigy built in. The only real difference is the ASUS has 8 phase power so it can go up to extreme overclocking while the MSI is only capable of high overclocking. In your case this is a mute point except for the power problems this brings. The 8 phase power in the ASUS really sucks the watts my friend had to upgrade his 600W powersupply to a 680W powersupply to handle this and two 7900GTXs when his system had enough power with the 7900GTXs before he upgraded the motherboard. Now for the layout. There is nothing in the top slot on the ASUS board, so you only get six slots total. If you use dual solt video cards they block all but one PCI slot, which is right between them, so installing anything restricts airflow to the top card. The bottom card ends up right on the bottom of the case so airflow is restricted there too. With any long videocards (such as the 7900GT) several of the SATA ports get blocked on the ASUS as well as the clear CMOS jumper. On the MSI the SATA ports are all along the far side where they do not get interfeared with and the clear CMOS is an easy to reach button instead of a jumper. The built in Audigy SE on the MSI means you don't need to add the X-Fi which is only slightly better, most people won't notice the difference going from Audigy SE to X-Fi, so this can save you like $130. the ASUS also has some BIOS issues, related to the SLI X16 settings, read about them on Xbit. The ASUS only gets four eggs on Newegg and the MSI gets a full five. I recommend getting the MSI and saving the money on the X-Fi. Put that into 2GB of RAM (1GB of RAM = BAD, 2GB of RAM highly recommended) in a 2x1GB configuration. I also have two 7900GTs running in SLI on this board, they work great. Get the EVGA 7900GT KO, mine are each overclocked to 570MHz/1720MHz. For more info on 7900GTs click on the second link and read my post here.
If you plan on overclocking then go for the Asus. Yes, it has the X16 SLI but its not really a performance gain, eventhough the mobo has more bandwith compare to the X8 SLI mobo. The deciding factor is that graphics does not even fully utilize the X8 bandwith, so the X16 SLI would only make the bandwith flow a little smoother and in the process gaining as little as 2-5% performance gain. But that Asus board is a great mobo and can overclock at insane levels. So go for it.