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Game on with Asus, DFI and Foxconn Mobos

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October 2, 2007 1:50:58 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/02/game_on_with_asus/index.html

Formula, LANParty and Mars: these are Asus, DFI and Foxconn's newest and baddest P35-chipset gaming motherboards. All of them are packed with features, but which one rocks the boat?
October 2, 2007 8:42:22 PM

All these wierd-looking and elaborate heatpipe solutions are getting to the point that they are almost crazy. Factor in the dual-slot video cards in SLI taking up 4 out of the available 7 slots in a PC (5 if you also use a sound card) and you pretty much get to the point that today's ATX PC design is over-crammed, obsolete and in serious need of an overhaul.

Granted, that won't happen any time soon, and motherboard manufacturers pretty much have their hands tied in trying to keep mobo components cool while still staying within ATX specifications, allowing room to fit expansion cards, CPU heatsinks and ram.

Enthusiasts who really need good cooling won't hesitate to remove the heatpipe contraption and install an aftermarket NB/SB waterblock. Even for SLI where the second card sits above the SB, a low-profile block will fit under the 2nd graphics hard nicely, and if the graphics cards are water cooled (have the large factory cooler removed) you can route the tubing easier. Of course if the SB is out of the way of your 2nd graphics card installation will be much simpler. As for the CPU Vreg cooling, you can also get water blocks for those in various sizes, and they are not difficult to attach.

The X38 chipset already comes with a large heatspreader, and the dual-socket skulltrail platform will also require some pretty decent cooling.

I like the fact that Asus provides barbs on the NB, but I still don't think that it will be anywhere near as effective as a dedicated NB/SB/Vreg waterblock combination. Heatpipes can only do so much, 1/2" tubing is a space hog in itself, and heatsink fins only add heat inside the case.

When we get the point that we cannot cool things any more, component manufacturers will be forced to use more efficient manufacturing processes and bring down the power consumption of their chips. There's no reason why GPU and NB chips cannot be deployed on 45nm (or 32nm) if CPU's can be done for the sake of thermal efficiency. Advancements in carbon nanotubing may also play a big role in future CPU cooling.
October 4, 2007 3:48:29 AM

No Gigabyte P35-DQ6? What is the world coming to when Foxconn gets a mention and Gigabyte doesn't! I can only get certain models of Foxconn in AU from local suppliers. I think motherboard reviews are worthless without comparing the top boards from Gigabyte.

I've had our P35-DQ6 up to 590FSB (6x590). That's not a typo. Our E6750 boots up with the stock 8x multiplier and 515FSB. At that point the E6750 is at it's limit (4.120GHz), not the motherboard. CPU voltage is upped to 1.5v for these extreme OCs. The only thing not stock is the CPU cooler (Gigabyte G-Power Pro) which fits right over the top of the existing MB cooling. The heatpipe cooling is more than adequate and doesn't get in the way of anything. My only criticism would be that the PCI-E slot should have been 1mm lower or the memory DIMMS 1mm higher as longer vid cards make it difficult to add/remove memory.

@Lucious,
I used water cooling for 4 years and got sick of the mess, the smell, the hassle when adding/removing components, and the fact that it wasn't any quieter than air cooling if it was worth having. I'm quite happy that the new heatpipe designs work well and like the way they look.

Water may help some on the quad cores, but doesn't help much at all on the C2Ds.

Water can make a decent difference on the GPU, but even then its only for bragging rights on benchmarks. Real life performance doesn't see a noticeable gain from it.

I haven't seen a NB in the last 2 years that benefitted in performance from water cooling either.

If everything is on water, you don't need space inside for air circulation anyway. Myself, I didn't mind going with a bigger case for better air circulation to avoid water again.

New nomenclature? Fine by me. Water cooling? Never again.

As a system builder and enthusiast, I can't remember the last time I've used all available PCI slots on a motherboard. With all the onboard features now, there's no need for more than 2 PCI slots on a motherboard.

Sound cards offer no better sound than current onboard sound. Sure, they take a little stress off the CPU, but who cares?!

That leaves a dialup modem for the dwindling number of unfortunate dialup users and possibly a TV tuner card. What more would anyone need in a PCI slot these days?
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