All three motherboards are excellent examples of decent products that are designed in Taiwan and manufactured in China. Asus wants to attract customers in all market segments, DFI targets the gaming enthusiast and MSI decided to cater to the budget-minded segment. But is there a budget market in the dual graphics platform space? Indeed, ATI has had too many setbacks to gain a foothold in the high-end dual graphics market today, but on the other hand could end up having an easy time penetrating the low end.
Asus, the most important player in the retail motherboard world, did not even try to make Radeon Xpress 200 XE an alternative for nForce4 SLI, and MSI decided to pick a highly reasonable feature set to start with. DFI did only go for the gaming enthusiasts because this is the market niche it makes money with.
Meanwhile, NVIDIA should take heed of the possibility that customers who do not even remotely think about dual graphics today could end up buying an affordable Crossfire-enabled motherboard based on a Radeon Xpress chipset and have a realistic graphics upgrade path, maybe without knowing it. As it stands now, there is no reason not to buy a Crossfire platform, unless you seek enthusiast-level performance and technology.
If you are looking for a flexible, overclockable motherboard with a powerful feature set, there is no alternative to DFI's LANParty RDX200 CF-DR. It comes with a third party storage controller to support all the latest features and its feature set will make enthusiasts happy.
Asus has lost its way somewhat by designing a motherboard that tries to appeal to everybody. It is an upper mainstream board with a feature set that is up to date; is nicely overclockable and should be able to please a majority of customers. However, it is too expensive to deliver an ideal bang for the buck and is lacking for the enthusiast crowd.
The feature set of MSI's RD480 Neo2 won't make an enthusiast happy, but it's stable, as fast as the competition and inexpensive.