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Anarchy

First nForce II roundup ! Post your opinions ...

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Here's the linky :

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.html?i=1759&p=1

Firstly : Asus sucks ... they won the banchmarks cause they O/C ed the CPU by 20MHz -> 2103MHz compared to the default 2083MHz

Anyone woh says that the Asus board is the fastest simply doesn't know the truth ...

-------------------------------

My choice would be that Chaintech board : Losta goodies, very stable, great set of Voltages and Frequencies and it will look gella good in my black Antech SX1030 (i've got a selfmade window :) )

It has some minor layout probs - but nothing i've got to care bout ...

Which board would you choose - and which not ...

... and why ?

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My choice would be that Chaintech board : Losta goodies, very stable, great set of Voltages and Frequencies and it will look gella good in my black Antech SX1030 (i've got a selfmade window :) )

Chaintech has a major drawback, a real turn-down for me. For some unfathomable reason, they chose not to use the nForce2 sound. It's like having a Mercedes in your garage and instead driving a Corolla.

Leo

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Firstly : Asus sucks ... they won the banchmarks cause they O/C ed the CPU by 20MHz -> 2103MHz compared to the default 2083MHz 

Yeah, I'm sure that extra 0.9% increase really puts them ahead of the pack...

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Personally i'd get the Asus A7N8X Deluxe , the Asus has so many features that the others left out... Nforce audio, Dual LAN, SPDIF connector(as well as the full set of audio jacks), 4xUSB2.0 ports, S-ATA RAID, Firewire...

I hate how some boards leave out the audio connectors... and don't even offer all of them via and an add-in card... this is junk, you may as well only have stereo output on this kind of a board as I would require a real sound card anyway with these types of setups.

Also, I like the passive cooling of the northbridge, this is more a reliability issue with me. Not having a fan to fail makes me worry less. it also makes the system a bit quieter overall.

The retail box also comes with S-ATA, standard IDE cables, firewire bracket, manual, and CD-ROM, along with any of the other cables/connectors that are specific to the mobo. This is a big plus for me as I've seen other manufacturers not include these items.

The only things I dont like about the asus are (1) It's ATX power connector placement is too close to the floppy/ide cables in my opinion (Although AnandTech liked the placement)

(2) It uses dual phase power circuitry as opposed to 3 phase. The 2 phase power circuity is less efficient and is not as robust as the 3 phase variety. This makes me question how long I will be able to use this board before it eventually stops working.

It certainly wont last 8 years like some of my other mobo's but it will probably last 2 years(which most people would probably consider is the usable service live of a mobo)

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Yeah, I'm sure that extra 0.9% increase really puts them ahead of the pack...
It does. Different manufacturers' implementations of the same chipset are generally identical as far as performance goes. A small fraction of a percent can be the difference between being at the top of the graph and the bottom. This is, of course, just the measurable difference--the percieved difference will be indistinguishable.

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It certainly wont last 8 years like some of my other mobo's but it will probably last 2 years(which most people would probably consider is the usable service live of a mobo)

When did 2 years become the usable service life of a motherboard or of a computer for that matter?

I must be living in a different planet.

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That 0.9% OC will make that board win every benchmark ... and all n00bs out there will say "i've got the fastest board" - what is plain wrong ...

that's pissing me off ... but - hey i won't buy or recommend to buy a Asus board ...

And i'll use my Audigy - not that on-board sound - it may be good ... but that audigy is better ...

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I've had the A7N8X for about a month, and it's wonderful. It's 100% rock solid running XP and a whole lot faster than the K7S5A it replaced. The USB 2.0 works ... the 1394 works ... SATA works (tested w/ Highpoint SATA adapters). It is great having all that stuff built-in, and makes the board well worth the price of admission.

I have not had an opportunity to test the built-in LAN controllers, but it works fine with an Intel 1000baseT NIC.

The BIOS on the A7N8X offers a wealth of configuration and overclocking options. It POSTs quickly. There is even a BIOS flash utility in the BIOS itself... much better than flashing under Windoze, especially for Linux users. (I have not tried booting Linux on the A7N8X yet.)

It's a darn shame the nForce2 doesn't include 64-bit/66-MHz PCI or PCI-X. Oh well, there's always the nForce3... :)

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Personally i'd get the Asus A7N8X Deluxe , the Asus has so many features that the others left out... Nforce audio, Dual LAN, SPDIF connector(as well as the full set of audio jacks), 4xUSB2.0 ports, S-ATA RAID, Firewire...

I hate how some boards leave out the audio connectors... and don't even offer all of them via and an add-in card... this is junk, you may as well only have stereo output on this kind of a board as I would require a real sound card anyway with these types of setups.

Also, I like the passive cooling of the northbridge, this is more a reliability issue with me. Not having a fan to fail makes me worry less. it also makes the system a bit quieter overall.

The retail box also comes with S-ATA, standard IDE cables, firewire bracket, manual, and CD-ROM, along with any of the other cables/connectors that are specific to the mobo. This is a big plus for me as I've seen other manufacturers not include these items.

The Asus has some nice features, but it also has some drawbacks. 1) Price - considerably more than some other nForce2 boards. 2) Drivers - Asus changed some of the IDs on the audio chip components, so that you can't use the reference drivers from nvidia's site for the audio (i.e., you are required to wait until Asus releases their own version).

Personally, I just picked up a Epox 8RDA+ and a Tbred 1800+. The Tbreds work as factory-unlocked, so I can lower the multiplier and run at 166 or even 200 MHz FSB with no problems. Now just waiting for Barton... :)

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First the nforce audio is NOT worse than the Audigy. Actually I find it better, with easier controls and way better positioning in surround mode.

And the Nvidia drivers does work great with the asus board. I have tested it for two weeks now, and havent had any problems.

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And the Nvidia drivers does work great with the asus board. I have tested it for two weeks now, and havent had any problems.

According to the Anandtech review, you can use the reference drivers for the Asus board, but it will skip the sound driver installation (for this, you need to use the drivers from Asus' page). If you installed the 2.0 drivers over the ones that came with your A7N8X, chances are you may still be using the audio drivers from the CD... although since I don't own the Asus board, I can only mention what I've seen on other sites.

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i have a comment: i hate realtek :(

Nice comment. Actually, the Realtek ALC650 has been rated relatively good compared to some other chips out there. And for the nForce2 boards, you don't actually install any drivers for Realtek components - they only provide the interface between the nForce DSP/LAN and the physical connectors. Also, if you use SPDIF output, you can bypass the Realtek analog outputs altogether...

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Nice comment. Actually, the Realtek ALC650 has been rated relatively good compared to some other chips out there. And for the nForce2 boards, you don't actually install any drivers for Realtek components - they only provide the interface between the nForce DSP/LAN and the physical connectors. Also, if you use SPDIF output, you can bypass the Realtek analog outputs altogether...

That's right. I have digital speakers with a Dolby decoder unit, so I use the digital-out. A direct connection to the APU. Realtek is only for digital-to-analog conversion, in case someone is using analog speakers.

Leo

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That 0.9% OC will make that board win every benchmark ... and all n00bs out there will say "i've got the fastest board" - what is plain wrong ...

that's pissing me off ... but - hey i won't buy or recommend to buy a Asus board ... 

And i'll use my Audigy - not that on-board sound - it may be good ... but that audigy is better ...

Yeah, okay... :roll: Another victim of Creative's marketing machine. nForce2's audio takes less CPU utilization and does real-time Dolby Digital encoding. What's the Audigy got on it again? The DACS are 16/44, so having the whole 24/96 internal is worthless except for recording. A nifty front plate? Whee... It's nice and all, but it certainly doesn't make up for DD encoding. EAX Advanced HD? I haven't seen a single game which had 3D audio ONLY for Audigy/Audigy2 users, most of the time they offer a combination of A3D, EAX1, DS3D, and software 3D sound. And the best part? Oh wait, I know what the Audigy has that the nForce2 doesn't have, the infinite loop BSODs! :lol:

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I said that i'll use the Audigy because i've got it already ... but if the on-board sound is OK -> eBay :)

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The only Asus board i've ever bought is a CUV4X-LS ... a FC-PGA board with on board U160 SCSI (that board is in my fileserver) - and that board hasn't got a that good layout too -> can't install HSF that uses 3 socket mounts :( ... and there are some not that great things bout the BIOS

And a friend has the A7V ... he simply hates it ... :evil:

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my experience with asus has been mostly unfavorable, due in large part to the fact that they abandon bios development on boards once they're about 15 minutes old. i've been screwed by bios limitations/issues more times than i can recall.

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here too ... there's only one BIOS file available "1004"for my CUV4X-LS ... that board was pretty expensive (i got it from eBay) and i don't think that only one BIOS update fixed all problems ... cause that A7V has multiple BIOS versions ... up to "1012" i think ...

---------------

I just saw a company selling the Chaintech on eBay - for 200€ / 195$ w/o shipping

they had some nice pics of the bundle -> http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewIt...item=2075878754

damn impressive what you get

CNR Firewire card, Digital sound out PCI Slot bracket and optical in/out, rounded Floppy / IDE cables and that CBox with Firewire, USB 2.0 and sound is very nice too :)

I think i'll move that Audigy to one of my other comps - maybe i'll sell it ... the only PCI card i'd need would be a PCI RAID controller ... so i don't have to create a new array everytime i get a new Mobo or swap parts with another comp (backing up 40-50GB is no fun)

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my experience with asus has been mostly unfavorable, due in large part to the fact that they abandon bios development on boards once they're about 15 minutes old.  i've been screwed by bios limitations/issues more times than i can recall.
This must be fairly recent, as several Asus board's I've used have had BIOS updates released even after the board was no longer sold.

In fact, here's a specific example:

My stepfather uses a system with an A7V133. This motherboard was released in mid-2000, and hasn't been manufacturered for some time. It's successor was released less than half a year later.

Despite this, the latest BIOS update was released in mid-2002...This year.

This update isn't even a bugfix, it adds native support for 48-bit LBA addressing so people with the board do not have to upgrade (or purchase a controller) just to use a large hard disk. Thus, Asus is adding features to bo boards they no longer even sell to make them more useful for those that purchased them possibly years earlier.

As far as failures, while the majority of systems I build for myself and others use Asus boards, I have used many other brands including Tyan, MSI, FIC, Abit, Gigabyte, Intel, Iwill, Shuttle, Soyo, and probably a few others I can't recall.

I have had exactly two motherboard failures, and despite the majority of the boards I use being Asus branded, neither of those two failures were from Asus boards.

Now, message boards are full of people saying, "I haven't had any problems with <brand>, what are you talking about?" Said experiences don't really prove anything, but I have used enough boards for long enough that I think I have a pretty good idea of what is crap and what is not.

Granted, there have been several models from Asus which have been widely declared as junk, and I have heard that their tech support is terrible. However, all companies have had dud motherboards, even Intel, and in my experience the tech support of most motherboard manufacturers, particularly ones without strong ties to the U.S., is lacking.

I always research a board before any purchase order is made, to read the anecdotal experiences of others. Doing a newsgroup search for: "<company> <model> sucks" is a good start.

Because of the complete lack of problems with Asus boards, however, I have never had to contact their support.

Anarchy: Why does your friend "simply hate" the A7v? Because it is old? What's wrong with the BIOS of your server board?

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adding 48bit lba is mostly trivial because of the fact that tons of boards share the same ide controller. i don't see this as a "real" update.

the problems i had were more in the p2b area (acpi being a big one), but the spotted experiences i've had since then have all been mostly bad.

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That 0.9% OC will make that board win every benchmark ... and all n00bs out there will say "i've got the fastest board" - what is plain wrong ...  

that's pissing me off ...

Uh...I'm not sure how that logically makes sense given that

a) Some of the tests the board wins in, it wins by more than 0.9%... (Anandtech XP2600 Jedi Knight 1024x768 1.2% lead)

B) The board doesn't win every benchmark...

c) If you read the whole article on Anandtech, with the XP2000, the ASUS board is running it at under the specced clock speed. And still wins the gaming benchmarks on that processor.

So before you start ranting about ASUS cheating so that they win by .9% in benchmarks, give it a little thought n00b.

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Anarchy: Why does your friend "simply hate" the A7v? Because it is old? What's wrong with the BIOS of your server board?

Not because it's old ...

We had probs with the BIOS :

Freeze while flashing -> had to get a new chip (not overclocked while flashing)

Refused to boot with low rpm fan ... NOTHING - no beep, no warning ... nothing

He told me bout probs when loaded with PCI cards -> Live!, TV card and 2 NICs ... he had to swap the cards around to make that system stable ... that's all i know why he "hates" it - but he has no money to buy a new Mobo (cause new mobo == new DDR RAM needed)

Bad things bout my BIOS:

Everytime i shut down the power with switching off the PSU or pressing the power button for 5secs - Did that alot while configuring my SCSI setup (first SCSI setup since bout 2 years) - i takes me into the BIOS

Had to disable the Vcore monitoring to increase the voltage - otherwise that board stops booting and waits for "F1" or "Del"

I can't install my new HSF because theres something too close to the socket - and that doesn't allow to install HSFs with a 3 point clip ... that's the reason why i'm using the stock intel HSF :( (looking for a Alpha PAL6035 on eBay)

The simple things that do not happen with other comps ...

And i do not believe that a single BIOS update fixes all probs with that baord ... my AOpen board with 133A chipset had bout 10 BIOS updates ... the last was bout 2 months ago

I simply never had such problems with the other boards : MSI 694D Pro, MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU, AOpen AX34 Pro II, Abit VP6, Gigabyte GA-6vxc7-4X and that old Slot1 AOpen MX6E Plus ... when i think bout the other boards ... the only prob i can think bout is that the MSI dually needs a hardware (jumper) BIOS reset if OCed too high -> everything higher than 147MHz FSB

I did not say that the CUV4X is bad ... but it could be better

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adding 48bit lba is mostly trivial because of the fact that tons of boards share the same ide controller.  i don't see this as a "real" update.
There have been three this year alone. Perhaps one may qualify as a "real" update, but I imagine the bugs have been worked out by now. THat they updated an obsolete board at all impresses me. Let alone thrice this year.

My post was to counter this statement:

large part to the fact that they abandon bios development on boards once they're about 15 minutes old.

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