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Mid-Priced AMD: EPoX MF570 SLI

Overclocking Guide Part 2: Suggested Components and Settings
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Increasing the price ceiling to $150 gets us the nForce 4 570 chipset, supporting SLI mode and nVidia's latest Southbridge enhancements on a single chip.

Epox puts a good assortment of features on its MF570 SLI, including dual Gigabit Ethernet and onboard S/P-DIF connectors. Achievable HyperTransport clock speeds average around 350 MHz for this board.

Mid-Priced Intel: Abit AB9-Pro

Staying under $150 keeps our focus on Intel's P965 chipset, especially when overclocking is a factor. Most boards that approach this limit include Intel's ICH8R Southbridge, with support for various RAID modes and two additional Serial ATA drives (for a total of six).

Abit's AB9-Pro began impressing us with its great overclocking ability in our early-revision E6400 experiment and continues to stand out with good features for its relatively low price. Bus speeds of 415 MHz (FSB1660) are really too easy. "Extreme overclockers" may whine when their boards can't clock past 470 MHz (FSB1880), but that's far beyond the achievable clock speed of any Core 2 processor using its stock multiplier and sane voltage levels. Those few "extreme overclockers" may also use liquid nitrogen cooling as a reason to disagree about what constitutes a "sane" core voltage, since they only expect parts to last as long as the liquid N2 supply!

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