Six Dual Xeon Motherboards on the Cheap


The PP-DLW from Asus is the only ATX motherboard in the test field to offer slots for PCI-64 components. There was no sign, however, of extras such as a RAID controller or dual LAN. It is disappointing that Asus still seems unable to produce a BIOS version for ES processors, which excluded the board from the benchmark tests. Because of the P64H2 bridge, the board, priced at $340, has an excellent price-performance ratio.

With its SE7505VB2 , Intel relies on extravagant features such as dual LAN, additional onboard graphics and a SATA RAID controller. It makes a flexible addition in both the workstation and server environments. Its main selling point is the option of querying the motherboard's working status via the serial interface. At $450, it represents only a reasonable price/performance ratio, however.

The small MSI Master2-F (MS-9141) failed to convince in this test. Because of the bad arrangement of components, you might only be able to use two PCI interfaces. The rest of the board's features isn't too hot, either. With a price tag of $240, it may be the cheapest candidate in our test field, but users should be prepared to make some compromises in return.

The big MSI candidate, the Master-LS2 (MS-9121) , is quite another kettle of fish. It is a true all-rounder that offers lots of room for expansion. For one thing, the functions of the onboard SCSI controller can be extended with a MegaRAID card; for another, the mini-PCI interface can be upgraded with an onboard graphics card, etc. This makes use in the workstation and server area unproblematic. At $470, it is the best-priced WTX board in the field. MSI is awarded the Editor's Choice for its Master-LS2.

Tyan's Tiger i7505 (S2668AN) offers a range of features such as SATA/IDE RAID, 6-channel audio, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 5 PCI slots, a game port and a Port80 diagnostic display. It scores the best price/performance ratio with a price tag of $250. Its generous features makes the Tiger i7505 a very deserving Editor's Choice in the ATX category.

Tyan's WTX version, the Thunder i7505 (S2665UANF) , is well equipped with its SCSI controller, two FireWire ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Its highlight is the connector for an LCD display. Tyan sells this board for $550, which of course goes way over the top, price-wise.

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