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Which is best AMD Socket 939 PCI-E crossfire board?????

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October 6, 2006 2:55:55 PM

I'm getting confused. (easily done in my case) And would like some help please.

I've just got two ATI Radeon X1800 GTO2 512MB GDDR3 crossfire graphics cards. I already have an athlon 64 socket 939 board, so I'm sticking with using my existing CPU at the moment.

So I want the best motherboard to get the most out of this set up (this upgrade is solely 2 play Oblivion I might add)

I read in various articles (on Tomshardware and tomshardware UK mainly) that motherboards with Nforce chipsets often have compatibility issues with ATI graphics cards. I also read that the ATI chipset motherboards are crud. One suggested that the best combo was the RD480 / ATI SB450 chipset combo, hence this board:-

MSI RD480 NEO2-FI, ATI RD480+ULI M1573

Another suggested that the prefered southbridge would be the SB400. (of which I can't find one any way) the I read another article stating the RD580. hence this board: -

Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe SKT939 RD580 Crossfire ATX

I've read alot of bad stuff about the DFI ATI 200 chipset boards. And that Asus struggle with AMD. (I know I had a crappy Asus deluxe some years back that everyone and their dog was complaining about. I sent 6 back before I just scrapped it for Giga-Byte) So I'm not to sure about the Asus especially not at £100 (about $180)


soooooooooo.... CONFUSED. And in much need of help and advice please.


oh And quick add on. Been offered two Corsair 1GB DDR XMS3200C2PT TwinX CAS2 quite cheap from a work associate whose upgrading. I've never used anything other than Crucial memory and have two 512MB PC3200 memory at the moment. Is corsair any good and I assume (main thing I'm asking/checking really) that the "XMS3200" is equivalent to PC3200 ??? Will fit in the same slots????

ANY AND ALL HELP IS DEEPLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU
October 6, 2006 5:23:57 PM

Quote:
IMO none are good. CF and SLI are both a waiste of money. It cost more to buy 2 video cards for either settup then it would to buy the next gen video cards or a card like the 7950 that has 2 GPU working together on the same card.


Deleted!
October 6, 2006 6:22:33 PM

Well, I'm a fan of the Asus since I have a A8R-MVP (got it for $59 on clearance so couldn't pass it up).

Yes it goes to a pair of x8's when used in crossfire mode, but as I think we can all agree, the performance difference at this point between x8 and x16 is nothing so I wouldn't let that be a deciding factor.

The A8R32-MVP might use DDR2 also, but don't quote me on that, meaning that RAM you're talking about won't work in it.

Other than that, there aren't many differences between the A8R and the A8R32...
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October 6, 2006 6:30:11 PM

IMO, the Asus A8R32-MVP is the best board... which I have it and its first version the A8R-MVP
October 6, 2006 7:29:18 PM

Quote:
It cost more to buy 2 video cards for either settup then it would to buy the next gen video cards or a card like the 7950 that has 2 GPU working together on the same card.


Not necessarily.
October 6, 2006 8:57:31 PM

7900GTOs. OC them and they're almost 7900GTXs. Will the 8800s actually be able to trounce 2 7900GTO/Xs in SLI? I personally hope so. But that would take about a 50% to 70% jump in power over the current GeForce cards. Are we expecting a little too much from them?
October 6, 2006 10:23:25 PM

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I'll check out those egg links and the Asus boards.

I was told ATI north bridge was ok but to avoid the south bridge which was why I looked at that ECI board first. Trouble is I read a couple definative reviews about it, only to find they contradicted each other and both reviews were about a year to two years old, which is normally the jurassic period for PC technology. heck a month can be old hat, and I've just not kept up enough. So i do appreciate your help.

The reason I have two X1800 GTO2 512MB Crossfire cards is a local computer shop went bust and had massive sale. I got both cards for about $280. I only had an old ATI 9800 PRO before that. Was in half a mind to just keep one and flog the other on. But was reading that combined they aren't far off the bigger and alot dearer single cards. So I figured I'd have a play like that for a bit. used to be a die hard Counter Strike fan, but not played anything online for about 3 years now. Figured it was about time I got back into some good old fashioned manic fun.
October 6, 2006 10:58:13 PM

Actually for another $60 I could have got the

MSI 7900GTO 512MB DDR3 DVI TVO SLI ready PCI-E

But I thought 2 of the others would beat one of these. Was I wrong?? Because I think could still get the above card and sell the others.
October 6, 2006 11:12:46 PM

I like my Asus A32 whatever-its-called-I-don't-feel-like-looking-it-up-right-now. The overclocking leaves something to be desired, but the features are all nice, its got a decent layout, and it runs really stable.

Just my two cents, I haven't run it in crossfire mode though, since I have an AIW card.
October 6, 2006 11:19:04 PM

AnandTech has a nice write up of the A8R-MVP, sorry, no time to look it up for you

you got fingers, damn it!!
October 6, 2006 11:31:07 PM

The A8R-MVP has a few serious limitations, most of which were resolved with the A8R32-MVP... tho both are still bargains...
October 7, 2006 8:59:34 AM

The Abit AT8 32X is a very worthy contender for the best overall RD580 board (as indeed the AT8 was for best overall RD480) & at that price on Newegg after MIR I wouldn't hesitate.
Imo the DFI certainly isn't worth the money (go read the ATi chipset part of DFI-Street to see why ...)
October 8, 2006 8:37:10 AM

Quote:
8O So Abit did release a RD580 S939 in the end. That went unoticed by me. :lol: 
about the end of March 2006 was first availability in Europe.

Quote:
How much does it cost now?

$102 at Newegg after MIR
a b V Motherboard
October 19, 2006 3:57:32 PM

I just bought an ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe board, but I haven't even hooked it up yet, so I cannot tell you experience. Just specs / why I chose it. This board has the ATI Crossfire Express 3200 Northbridge (that may be the RD580 chip) and a ULI 1575 Southbridge. Some reviews I saw said ATI's Southbridge chips were troublesome, so ASUS opted to use a proven ULI chip there. With the Deluxe model it claims that, with two Crossfire-capable cards installed in its two x16 PCIe slots, BOTH will run at x16 speeds. The board uses a fan-less design for cooling the Northbridge and Southbridge - reduces noise, and eliminates a future critical fan failure, but needs some attention to case cooling.

Contrary to one post, this board uses DDR RAM, NOT DDR2. I'm going with an Athlon 64 x2 4400+ CPU, so it requires DDR400 RAM modules (aka 3200 speed memory), and by far the better choice is to get a pair of matched modules for dual-channel operation. So I got a 2 x 1GB RAM pair from G.skill.

The board has on-board controllers / connections for a floppy drive, 2 EIDE channels, 4 SATA II drives (can be used as PATA emulators or in various RAID configurations), two more SATA II drives including one external eSATA, lots of USB2, 2 IEEE 1394a (Firewire) ports, 2 LAN controllers / ports, on-board Realtek audio up to 7.1 channel. It has three "normal" PCI slots, one PCIe x1, and two PCIe x16.

It has lots of control for overclocking, an "Automatic Overclock" system (some question its value), some GOOD ways to recover when you set the BIOS parameters to impossible values and it won't boot, and about four ways to upgrade your BIOS and save your old BIOS in a file for restores.
October 19, 2006 7:34:57 PM

Quote:
I just bought an ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe board, but I haven't even hooked it up yet, so I cannot tell you experience. Just specs / why I chose it. This board has the ATI Crossfire Express 3200 Northbridge (that may be the RD580 chip) and a ULI 1575 Southbridge. Some reviews I saw said ATI's Southbridge chips were troublesome, so ASUS opted to use a proven ULI chip there. With the Deluxe model it claims that, with two Crossfire-capable cards installed in its two x16 PCIe slots, BOTH will run at x16 speeds. The board uses a fan-less design for cooling the Northbridge and Southbridge - reduces noise, and eliminates a future critical fan failure, but needs some attention to case cooling.

Contrary to one post, this board uses DDR RAM, NOT DDR2. I'm going with an Athlon 64 x2 4400+ CPU, so it requires DDR400 RAM modules (aka 3200 speed memory), and by far the better choice is to get a pair of matched modules for dual-channel operation. So I got a 2 x 1GB RAM pair from G.skill.

The board has on-board controllers / connections for a floppy drive, 2 EIDE channels, 4 SATA II drives (can be used as PATA emulators or in various RAID configurations), two more SATA II drives including one external eSATA, lots of USB2, 2 IEEE 1394a (Firewire) ports, 2 LAN controllers / ports, on-board Realtek audio up to 7.1 channel. It has three "normal" PCI slots, one PCIe x1, and two PCIe x16.

It has lots of control for overclocking, an "Automatic Overclock" system (some question its value), some GOOD ways to recover when you set the BIOS parameters to impossible values and it won't boot, and about four ways to upgrade your BIOS and save your old BIOS in a file for restores.


FYI, as I said previously, unless you have exactly the right parts, this boards overclocking is slight at best and bad at worst.

As Strange said, the automatic overclock sucks, half the time, it does absolutely NOTHING, 25% more, the overclock fails. so I hope you didn't buy it for that feature.

The baord overall is nice, just the overclock sucks.
a b V Motherboard
October 20, 2006 4:59:23 PM

Thanks for your comments, hergieburbur. You reminded me that one item I learned before deciding is that the "Automatic Overclock" feature is just about useless, or worse. I will work with manual adjustments, guided by postings from more experienced people.
October 20, 2006 5:09:13 PM

No Problem. One thing I don't like about the OC on this board is that if has built in safe guards that make the OC fail if it "feels" its too much. Instead of getting unstable performance, etc. if you go to high, it just fails to boot, and you have to back it off.
October 20, 2006 8:48:36 PM

Maybe it is that way using automatic overclocking, but using manual overclocking settings in the BIOS, mine will overclock and attempt to run with custom settings even if unstable.
October 20, 2006 9:08:17 PM

That's interesting, becuase I am not using automatic overclock, and it I up my FSB by more than 10-15 MHz with an Opteron 165, I just get the message: "Overclocking failed...". I have tried a whole bunch of different settings, though admittedtly, OCing is the area I know the least about.
October 20, 2006 9:16:03 PM

I have ran my Opteron 175 (stock 2.2GHz) stable at 2.7GHz, but it starts getting shaky around to 2.75GHz, and will not boot at 2.8GHz...
I currently run it at 2.64GHz 24/7.
Using 4-sticks of low latency Corsair XMS 3200 at 240MHz.
October 21, 2006 5:06:35 AM

Hmm, I got an opteron 165 (1.8) running at between 1.95 and 2.0 stable, but I can't get it to boot above that. I got a 2 GB pair of mid latency DDR4000 that should be fine at much higher speeds.
October 21, 2006 6:06:35 AM

back to the original question, try an Asus a8r32-mvp deluxe (RD580).. nice board with lot's of feature's, has a newer chipset than the a8r-mvp (RD480) but as soon as you get it update the Bios.
October 21, 2006 10:24:46 PM

Quote:
back to the original question, try an Asus a8r32-mvp deluxe (RD580).. nice board with lot's of feature's, has a newer chipset than the a8r-mvp (RD480) but as soon as you get it update the Bios.


FYI, if you missed it, thats the board that we've been talking about the most, to give the OP an idea of its relative merits.
October 22, 2006 6:46:24 AM

Thanks, I'll give these a look.
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