Tom's Socket AM2 Motherboard Summer Slam


Just because everybody talks about Intel's Core 2 Duo processor doesn't mean AMD shouldn't be on your radar screen. Now, there is a healthy crop of mature socket AM2 motherboards available to power Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX and Sempron processors. Thanks to recent price drops, AMD still offers a nice price/performance ratio compared to that Intel.

Moreover, the 940-pin socket AM2 is not going away anytime soon: It will host the upcoming 65-nm processor generation and you will be able to upgrade to faster and more efficient processors by simply upgrading your motherboard's BIOS.

With the memory controller firmly on the Athlon 64's CPU die, which removes previous performance limitations, we find the battle for supremacy in the AM2 arena not strictly in the raw performance arena, but rather on the feature front. Bundles, the number of ports, flexibility, stability and even the "wow factor" have come into play here more than ever before.

We had a look at the newest high-end, deluxe and fully-featured AM2 boards available for the enthusiast to play with. Here are the competitors:

  • Asus M2 Crosshair
  • Asus M2N32 SLI Deluxe
  • Biostar TForce590 SLI Deluxe
  • Epox MF570 SLI
  • Foxconn C51XEM2A
  • Gigabyte M59SLI S5
  • MSI K9A Platinum
  • MSI K9N Platinum

Now that we're familiar with the entries, let's have a closer look at each motherboard.

Join our discussion on this topic

  • autorotation
    ive had a headache with this board =/ didnt do my homework and bought a phenom x4 9600 and then found out its not compatible with this board =/ i also bought a evga geforce gts 250 512 mb card and it wont post on this board and i get no display, im assuming its just not compatible because i posted it on another board with a psu that was weaker than mine and it had a display. if anyone can shed light on my situation with this video card not posting on this board, would be great. as far as recommending this board, im not even sure its still in production, but i would not reccomend it. spend the extra cash and get a board that can handle a quad core and a modern gfx card. also the cpu fan mounting bracket had one of the tabs break off on me, so i had to get a new psu fan mount, so that gives you an idea of what high quality this board is anyways =/ plus i think i heard that epox went out of business.....
  • I bought two of these boards and both ended up with the same problem of a read-out of 4 red lights saying the processor is bad!Wrong!They are both fine and this is the worst board I have ever had!I will not be buying any more of MSI boards again!Still not sure what the problem is,but these are going straight to the trash!!!!