Conclusion: Only Asus Is Consistently In The Lead
If you're interested in Gigabit Ethernet, you won't be able to do without MSI and Asus. MSI rakes in points with its integrated Bluetooth module, while Gigabyte turns out to be the overclocking pro - it is the only board to offer the option of running the Athlon at 200 MHz FSB without simultaneously overclocking PCI and AGP. Soyo stands out with its USB module for the bay, which certainly boosts the level of convenience if you have to switch your USB devices frequently. QDI goes for minimalism by omitting any kind of hardware that might push the price up.
Once again, it was the market leader Asus that made the best impression - the A7V8X was the only board to come out consistently among the top boards in this comparison, regardless of which type of memory was used.
If only DDR333 is going to be used, then the Asus board, the Soyo KT400 Dragon Ultra and the MSI KT4 Ultra are the best choices. With DDR400, the top performers are Asus (A7V8X), Gigabyte (GA-7VAXP), and, in many benchmarks, QDI (KuDoZ 7X), as well.
For quite a number of years, it has made more sense to select a motherboard not only because of benchmark results, but also based on the features it offers. In this specific case, though, we do recommend taking a critical look at our benchmark results, as the variation is as high as 10% depending on the benchmark. One exception is the Elitegroup board which will not hit the market with this revision and BIOS. The production boards are said to provide considerably more performance; unfortunately, we did not receive a more current model in time.
If you want to pick up an Athlon motherboard any time soon, you really ought to take a closer look at the KT400 models, irrespective of the not so attractive option of using DDR400. Our recommendation is based quite simply on the high equipment standard of the boards and the undisputedly great performance with DDR333. This is where current boards with KT400 are at least as good as boards with KT333; however, the latter can neither handle AGP 3.0 (AGP 8X) nor do they offer the V-Link interface between the Northbridge and the Southbridge with 533 MB/s.