Turn off the Ad Banner  

To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu.

    -----------------------------------------------
This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
-----------------------------------------------


Appeared on: Wednesday, May 24, 2006
ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe


1. Introduction

Very recently, we had received from ASUS their first NVIDIA based system, with dual PCI Express at 16X for the AMD processor. And now, we have received another dual PCI Express at 16X, however this time an ATI based system, the A8R32-MVP Deluxe, which is equipped with the ATI™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200 chipset.

- Features

Overclock HT by 60% and PCI Express x16 by 35%

The A8R32-MVP Deluxe supports dual PCI Express x16 slots running at full speed to liberate graphics cards through ATI's™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200. Additionally AI Life Series features such as Precision Tweaker, AI NOS and PEG Link etc. are also inherited. For easy overclocking, the board comes with Q-Fan2 and Stack Cool2 to ensure quiet yet efficient cooling. With exclusive innovative designs that bring out the real potential of the ATI™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200 chipset, gamers can experience faster graphics performance and higher video quality today, and ready for video technology advancements of tomorrow.

- Unique Features

AI Life
AI Life Series motherboards combines lifestyle and personal computing. Several new and improved innovations are included to create a peaceful environment, by reducing noise and temperature. Don' t change your way of life for a computer. Instead, let the ASUS Life Series improve the quality of your life.
ATI™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200
The ATI™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200 Northbridge supports simultaneous operation of two external PCI Express x16 graphics cards and delivers the best performance for overclocking. It's simply the fastest graphics platform solution to date.

ATI CrossFire Technology
ATI's CrossFire boosts image quality along with rendering speed, eliminating the need to scale down screen resolutions to get the high image quality you want. CrossFire ignites with the higher antialiasing, anisotropic filtering, shading, and texture settings you desire. Adjust your display configurations, experiment with your advanced 3D settings, and check the effect with a real-time 3D-rendered preview within ATI's Catalyst™ Control Center to rule your CrossFire system.

Fanless Design
Cooling fans, though a popular thermal solution, also come with noise and malfunction likelihood. ASUS Motherboard's fanless concept is specifically created to provide a cool environment without all the baggage. ASUS has devoted special efforts to address the thermal issues across the motherboard, and most notably the areas that reside the CPU, power, Northbridge and Southbridge. The heat sinks and strategic board layout are tailor made to dissipate heat in the most efficient manner. With the addition of Stack Cool 2, users can even overclock without a noisy, bulky fan.

AI NET2
ASUS AI NET2 remotely detects cable connection the second you turn on the system, and any faulty connections are reported back up to 100 meters at 1 meter accuracy.

- CPU Features

Supports AMD Socket 939 Opteron / Athlon 64 X2 / Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64
The motherboard supports AMD 939-pin single-core Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 / Opteron and dual-core Opteron / Athlon 64 X2 processors with 2MB / 1MB / 512KB L2 cache, which is based on 64-bit architecture. It features 2000 / 1600 MT/s HyperTransport Bus, dual-channel un-buffered DDR400 memory support and AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology.


64-bit CPU support
64-bit computing, the next generation technology to replace the current 32-bit architecture, delivers advanced system performance, faster memory access and increased productivity. This motherboard provides excellent compatibility and flexibility by supporting either 64-bit or 32-bit architecture.

- Maximizing Gaming Performance

Precision Tweaker
Designed for serious overclockers

It offers ways to  raise system performance inch-by-inch and step-by-step to achieve maximum performance! This is about getting the most  out of your machine and taking pride in your customized computer.

vDIMM - Take control of how much power is going into the memory modules. ASUS gives you 12-step voltage control to the DIMM
vCore - Find out "exactly" how much power your CPU needs. Fine-tune it with 0.025 volts at a time!
vNB - Northbridge provides independent voltage adjustment at 0.1 V increment for core power, HT bus and PCI Express bus.

SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) allows
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
AI NOS™
Boost performance when you need it the most!
Applications such as 3D games and video editing demand a huge chunk of system resource. Inject "nitrous oxide" into your CPU! The patented AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System) technology intelligently detects system load and automatically boosts performance for the most demanding tasks. Unlike other dynamic overclocking techniques, AI NOS™ reacts much faster to satisfy your unending need for speed.
PEG Link for dual VGA cards
This latest technology, PEG (PCI Express Graphics) Link Mode, is a unique feature that enables users to boost graphics card performance for superior video quality. PEG Link allows users to raise GPU and VGA memory throughput via the motherboard BIOS the same way system bus and memory bus are tweaked. PEG Link Mode enables powerful video performance on DX8 and DX9 applications. ASUS engineers carefully fine-tuned the parameters for every single PCI-Express card to provide system stability during high-speed graphics operation.
AI Clock Skew
AI Clock Skew optimizes this motherboard's memory overclocking capability and provides users the fastest computing speed possible. When users overclock memory frequency, AI Clock Skew automatically skews the memory clock signal timing, thus improving memory overclocking capability by 10 to 15%, depending on the memory features. AI Clock Skew also allows users to separately adjust each memory channel's clock signal to reach the highest memory frequency.
C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
When the system hangs due to overclocking failure, there is no need to open the case to clear CMOS data. Just simply restart the system, the BIOS would show the previous setting and then users can amend the CPU setting again.

- Acoustic Features

AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology
Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet! Technology, which monitors system operation and automatically adjusts CPU voltage and frequency for a cool and quiet environment.
ASUS Q-Fan 2
ASUS Q-Fan2 technology intelligently adjusts both CPU fan and chassis fan speeds according to system loading to ensure quiet, cool and efficient operation.

- Network features

Dual Gigabit LAN
The integrated dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing traffic between two separate networks. This capability ensures rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency.

- Interface Features

PCI Express Architecture
PCI Express is the latest I/O interconnect technology that will replace the existing PCI. With a bus bandwidth 4 times higher than that of AGP 8X interface, PCI Express x16 bus performs much better than AGP 8X in applications such as 3D gaming. PCI Express x1 and x4 also outperforms PCI interface with its exceptional high bandwidth. The high speed PCI Express interface creates new usages on desktop PCs e.g., Gigabit LAN, 1394b, and high-speed RAID systems.
SATA on the Go
The motherboard supports the next-generation hard drives based on the Serial ATA (SATA) 3Gb/s storage specification, delivering enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves. The external SATA port located at the back I/O provides smart setup and hot-plug functions. Easily backup photos, videos and other entertainment contents on external devices.

Serial ATA 3Gb/s
The motherboard supports the next-generation hard drives based on the Serial ATA (SATA) 3Gb/s storage specification, delivering enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves.

Dual RAID
The Uli chipset enables four Serial ATA and two parallel ATA connections. The four Serial ATA controllers provide high performance RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD functions. The Silicon Image controller provides another two Serial ATA connectors for RAID 0, 1 and External RAID functions. This motherboard is the ideal solution for enhancing hard disk performance and providing data backup without the extra cost of add-on cards.
IEEE 1394a interface
IEEE 1394a interface provides high speed digital interface for audio/video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.
S/PDIF-out on Back I/O Port
This motherboard provides convenient connectivity to external home theater audio systems via an coaxial S/PDIF-out (SONY-PHILIPS Digital Interface) jack. It allows digital audio transfer without converting to analog format and keeps the best signal quality.
Max. 8 USB 2.0 ports
USB 2.0 is the latest connectivity standard for next generation components and peripherals. Backwards compatible with current USB 1.1 peripherals, USB 2.0 delivers transfer speeds up to 40 times faster at 480Mb/s, for easy connectivity and ultra-fast data transfers.

- BIOS Features

Multi-language BIOS
The multi-language BIOS allows you to select the language of your choice from the available options. The localized BIOS setup menu helps you configure your system easier and faster.
ASUS CrashFree BIOS2
The CrashFree BIOS2 feature now includes the BIOS auto-recovery function in a support CD. Users can reboot their system through the support CD when a bootable disk is not available and go through the simple BIOS auto-recovery process. ASUS motherboards now enable users to enjoy this protection feature without the need to pay for an optional ROM.
ASUS EZ Flash
With ASUS EZ Flash, you can update BIOS before entering operating system. No more DOS-based flash utility and bootable diskette required.
ASUS MyLogo2
You can convert your favorite photo into a 256-color boot logo for a more colorful and vivid image on your screen.

- Bundled

InterVideo Media Launcher
ASUS motherboards, a front runner in the IT industry, now bundle the versatile InterVideo Media Launcher. This multifaceted software set includes the latest multimedia software, bringing out the best in multimedia features from ASUS motherboards! (OEM version).

The specifications are given in the table below:

CPU Socket 939 for AMD® Opteron™/Athlon™ 64 FX/ Athlon™ 64 X2/ Athlon™ 64
AMD64 architecture enables simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet!™ Technology
AMD HyperTransport Technology
Chipset ATI™ CrossFire™ Xpress 3200/ULI M1575
Front Side Bus 2000/1600 MT/s
Memory 4 x DIMM, max. 4GB, DDR 400/333/266, ECC and non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slot with CrossFire support at full x16, x16 mode
1 x PCI Express x1
3 x PCI
CrossFire Support ATI CrossFire graphics cards (both at x16 mode)
Storage/RAID ULi M1575 South Bridge:
- 2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
- 4 x Serial ATA I/II 3.0Gb/s with RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD support

Silicon Image® 3132 SATA controller supports
- 1 x Internal Serial ATA 3 Gb/s hard disk
- 1 x External Serial ATA hard disk (SATA On-the-Go)
- Support RAID 0, 1
LAN Marvell 88E8053 PCIe Gigabit LAN Controller, featuring AI NET2
Marvell 88E8001 Gigabit LAN Controller, featuring AI NET2
Audio Realtek ALC882 8-channel CODEC
Universal Audio Jack
Multi-Streaming
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports on back I/O
IEEE 1394a TI® 1394a controller supports:
- 2x IEEE 1394a connectors at midboard
USB Max. 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
ASUS AI Life Features Stack Cool 2
SATA on the Go (External SATA on back I/O port)
Overclocking Features Intelligent overclocking tools:
- AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System)
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- ASUS PEG Link - Automatically performance tuning for single/dual graphics cards

Precision Tweaker:
- vDIMM: 12-step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.025V increment
- vNB:Northbridge provides independent voltage adjustment at 0.1 V increment for core power,HT bus and PCI Express bus.

SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment

Overclocking Protection:
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features ASUS MyLogo2
Multi-language BIOS
CrashFree BIOS2
ASUS AI NET2
ASUS Q-Fan2 Technology
ASUS EZ Flash
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Parallel
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Out
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
1 x External SATA
2 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 2 x USB 2.0 connector supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
2 x IEEE1394a connectors
5 x SATA connectors
2 x IDE connectors
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x GAME/MIDI connector
1 x CPU/ 2 x Chassis/ 1 x Power FAN connectors
1 x COM connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
Chassis Intrusion
CD audio in connector
Front panel High Definition Audio connector
System panel connector
BIOS 8Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, WfM2.0
Manageability WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME, Chassis Intrusion, PXE and RPL
Support CD Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Accessories User's manual
5 x Serial ATA cables
2 x 2-port Serial ATA power cables
1 x 1-port Serial ATA power cable
2-port IEEE1394 module
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / Game module
COM port module
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
IDE cable
FDD cable
I/O shield
InterVideo Media Launcher
Form Factor ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

2. A Closer Look

The A8R32-MVP Deluxe, as with most of the latest ASUS Deluxe motherboards, is manufactured on a black Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The interface connections are laid out so as to make them easily accessible and the colour coding helps in identifying them.

 

The 939 socket for the AMD64 CPU...

The STACK COOL 2 logo located on the underside of the board, indicates that the A8R32-MVP Deluxe has a fan-less, zero-noise cooling solution, providing effective heat transfer away from critical components.

The A8R32-MVP Deluxe, is equipped with three PCI slots, and two PCI Express x16 slots, used mainly for ATI graphics cards. The two PCI Express x16 slots are colour coded. In CrossFire mode, the user should always remember that the CrossFire-ready (Master) graphics card must be installed in the blue PCI-E slot.

The memory module slots, are also colour coded. Just install two memory modules of the same memory size in the same coloured slots, to enable Dual Channel's symmetry mode support, or use two memory modules of different memory sizes for asymmetric mode.

The Floppy disk drive connector is located on the edge of the board...

Below are the four SATA connectors, used when installing HDDs or CD/DVD drives...

This connector is for a Serial ATA signal cable. It supports a Serial ATA HDD drive that you can combine with an external Serial ATA 3 Gb/s device to configure a RAID 0 or RAID 1 set through the onboard Silicon Image SATA RAID controller.

There are additional USB and Firewire IEEE 1394 connections on the motherboard:

There are also some extra connections for the serial or GAME/MIDI ports.

The ATX power and the IDE connectors:

The four fan power connections:

The audio connector and the ALC882 chipset:

Rear panel connectors:

- The package

The retail package for the A8R32-MVP Deluxe includes a long list of accessories:

Accessories User's manual
5 x Serial ATA cables
2 x 2-port Serial ATA power cables
1 x 1-port Serial ATA power cable
2-port IEEE1394 module
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / Game module
COM port module
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
IDE cable
FDD cable
I/O shield
InterVideo Media Launcher
Support CD Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)

 

For this review, we populated the ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard with one ASUS EAX1600XT SILENT graphics card and compared it with the MSI K8N Diamond, which is an NVIDIA nForce4 SLI based board.


3. Test System - Configuration


Benchmarking Software
3DMark05,03,01
PCMark04, 05
Codecreatures Benchmark Pro
AquaMark3 v3.0
Performance Test V5.0
Half Life 2
Doom 3
F.E.A.R
Need For Speed - Most Wanted


4. 3DMark2005

With 3DMark05, Futuremark continues the tradition in its benchmarking software by providing a state-of-the-art Microsoft ® DirectX ® 9 3D performance benchmark.

3DMark05 is an all new 3DMark version making the most of Microsoft's DirectX 9. The previous version 3DMark03, did a nice introduction into this level of technology. However 3DMark03 used DirectX 9 specific features in a limited manner, because fully supporting hardware was rare at the time of its launch. In contrast, 3DMark05 requires DirectX 9 hardware with full support for at least Shader Model 2, and takes shader usage to never before seen levels.
Just like its predecessors, 3DMark05's point system is set so that at the moment of release, the high-end VGA cards available in stores can only score around 5000 3DMarks, whereas the worst card that meets the programs requirements yields a score of 1000.

Game Test 1 -Return to Proxycon

Click to enlargeBeing the sequel to the "Battle of Proxycon" from 3DMark03, in "Return to Proxycon" we're once again set in space and the battle continues as space pirates invade a cargo ship in order to take control of its valuable cargo.

This test, tries to simulate a future first-person shooter game with all the high details that entails. The dynamic shadows, high-detailed environment and advanced lighting techniques ensure that under normal circumstances, no recent card can run it with decent frame rates.

Game Test 2 - Firefly Forest

Click to enlargeA forest gets filled with magic fireflies in the night. The moon is nearly full, illuminating the forest with a bluish faint light. The magic fireflies have flickering bright green lights that playfully move around the forest.

This scene is a nice example of a smaller scale outdoor scene with rich vegetation. Immediate visibility is not so far, and there is a skybox surrounding the whole scene.

A large number of trees with their branches swinging separately, and dense vegetation being dynamically distributed according to the camera movements, make this test the most demanding of the three.

Game Test 3 - Canyon Flight

Click to enlargeA Jules Verne type airship flies through a canyon guarded by a dangerous sea monster. The airmen defend their ship using heavy cannons, but these seem to have no effect on the huge sea monster. Finally the crew manages a narrow escape using the "last resort" afterburners of the airship.

This scene is fairly complex with large areas of water reflecting the high canyon walls. The water actually is one of the key points of interest in this scene. The water not only does realistic looking reflections and refractions, it has a depth fog, making the sea monster swimming under the airship actually look deep down in the water. The air in this scene also uses a volumetric fog, making distant cliffs of the canyon really look far away.

Similar framerates were produced by the ASUS A8R and MSI K8N Diamond cards.

Final Score

 3DMarks on 3DMark05 are now calculated by the following formula:

(Game Test 1 * Game Test 2 * Game Test 3)^0.33 * 250

This is basically the geometric mean of the total frames in each game multiplied by 250. This means that all game tests are now equal.

In the final score, the MSI card is slightly higher, but the difference between them isn't significant.


5. 3DMark2003

3D Mark is a widely used and accepted benchmark that stresses the DirectX performance of a VGA card. A very strong point of 3DMark is that it's VGA card measuring is does not require any CPU power. So the resulting fps are a good reference a VGA card's rendering performance. For testing the performance of each card we used the 4 game benchmarks 3DMark has.

3Dmark03 also includes sound and CPU tests as well as some other feature tests.

- Game Test 1 - Wings of Fury (DX7)

This test is a combat flight simulator written for older hardware (DirectX 7). Particles are used a lot in this test - smoke and vapor trails, flak and gunfire, and explosions are produced using point sprites and quads.

- Game Test 2 - Battle of Proxycon (DX8)

This test is a simulation of first person shooter game types. 1.1 and 1.4 Vertex shaders are widely used since all character models are skinned using vertex shaders.This makes this test a good vertex shader comparison for VGA cards.

- Game Test 3 - Trolls' Lair (DX8)

This test should be the favorite of all RPG lovers. It is a cut scene of a female warrior facing two malicious trolls. Again the same vertex and pixel processing is used as in game test 2.

This test also uses post-processing effects, such as Depth of Field and Bloom effects which are widely used in today's game cut scene sequences.

- Game Test 4 - Mother Nature (DX9)

Mother nature represents the level of effects and realism that are possible using 2.0 vertex and pixel shaders, plus some other features that DirectX 9 offers.

Once again, no significant differences were reported between the motherboards. However, the framerates were slightly higher with the MSI card.

- 3DMark Official score

If you test your machine with 3DMark, you can post the results at 3DMark's online result browser. For more information visit futuremark.com.

And again higher score from the MSI K8N, with the ASUS A8R close behind.


6. Codecreatures

CodeCreatures is a synthetic 3D benchmark that is a good reference for VGA performance comparison. This is a high-end 3D benchmark that also requires DirectX 8 hardware, making a good tool for measuring the potential of DirectX 8 game performance.

The Codecreatures benchmark is written with Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 API and incorporates the use of Vertex and PixelShaders popular on next generation 3D accelerators.

The benchmark plays a photo-realistic nature scene and calculates the performance of the graphics adapter by measuring the fps that it can display at 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions.

In the CodeCreatures benchmark, the MSI posted slightly higher framerates.

-Codecreatures number

The codecreatures number is the resulting score of the total benchmarking process and is basically the geometric mean of the three frame rates multiplied by 100.

And as expected, the MSI card achieved a higher overall score.


7. Aquamark - 3DMark01

Since the majority of today's applications and games are compatible with DirectX 9, the need of benchmark applications that use DX 9 has been brought up. The benchmark uses the 3D engine (Krass engine) of the Aquanox game.

 

Aquamark Triscore

The Aquamark Triscore comprises 3 values: the overall system performance, the performance of the graphics system and the CPU performance. Keep in mind that this is not the total result of the tests, but the result of the whole benchmark process including all 9 chapters.

Unfortunately, we couldn't run the Aquamark 3 benchmark, the program either ended with an error or the PC froze up with a 'black screen'. After all keep in mind that this is an old benchmark and it is not supported any more.

3DMark 2001

3DMark 2001 is the predecessor to 3DMark03. It's mainly a directx8.1 benchmark and the score depends a lot on the CPU power of your computer. However for reference use only we decided it'd be best to just leave it in our benchmark list so you can compare the next generation cards with the possibly outdated you have at home.

And again, the MSI card is awarded a slightly higher score.


8. Half Life 2

Half life 2 is no doubt the most anticipated pc game of all times. Gamers keeping the excellence of Half Life 1 in their mind as well as the remarkable E3 demo preview, have been anxiously waiting for the much delayed release of HL2.

Characters - Advanced facial animation system delivers the most sophisticated in-game characters ever seen. With 40 distinct facial "muscles," human characters convey the full array of human emotion, and respond to the player with fluidity and intelligence.

Physics - From pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks respond as expected, as they obey the laws of mass, friction, gravity, and buoyancy.

Graphics - Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Story® and Monster's, Inc.®, creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.

AI - Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand.

To measure performance we used the Video Stress Test(VST) that is available in the CounterStrike:Source beta available through Steam. We set all the details to the highest level and each time changed the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200.

The results in the previous benchmarks are confirmed here, by the Half Life 2 engine. At all resolutions, with or without AA and AF, the MSI card produced at least ten fps more than the Asus.


9. Quake 4

In a desperate war for Earth's survival, against an unrelenting alien enemy, the only way to defeat them is to become one of them. Armed with advanced weaponry and vehicles and aided by an elite squad of marines, you take the battle to the heart of the Strogg home planet and become Earth's only hope for victory.

Quake 4 is a First Person Shooter developed by Ravensoft, based on the Doom 3 engine, and the graphics and gameplay certainly reflect that fact. For those who really hated the one-way corridors of Doom 3, new outdoor areas have been added to the game. The feeling however, still remains the same as these areas are quite small-scale, contrary to what other games have to offer.

 

- Benchmark Settings

As Quake 4 includes no default benchmark, we decided to go with another publicly available demo to measure performance. What we chose is a demo from HWSpirit, which involves a small outdoor scene followed by a long indoor combat. As preloading the stage once again failed miserably and the average framerate varied a lot, we ran it twice every time we restarted the game and measured only the second run.

The resolutions we used are 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. We measured performance with and without Anti-aliasing.

In Quake4, the reported framerates between the motherboards at resolutions above 1204x768 are equal.


10. F.E.A.R.

You aren't a soldier. You are a weapon. A paramilitary force infiltrates a multi billion dollar aerospace compound taking hostages, but issuing no demands.

The government responds by sending in its best special operations teams, only to have them obliterated. Live footage of the massacre is cut short by an unexpected wave of destruction that leaves military leaders stunned and in disbelief.

First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.) is one of the new-generation FPS. The graphics are really stunning, the plot behind the whole shooting successfully keeps it interesting and even the A.I. seems to work out well.

F.E.A.R. offers a lot to the First Person Shooter world. The graphics are very clear with excellent textures, great new effects that will stress your graphics card and ragdoll physics that are waiting to be exploited as you progress through the game.

- Benchmark Settings

F.E.A.R. allows you test the video settings on a mini-benchmark involving a lot of weapon firing, explosions and several other effects. After the benchmark is run, you're presented with a screen showing your minimum, average and maximum framerates and also percentages of how often the framerate was below 25fps, between 25 and 40, and finally above 40. For this presentation, we're just sticking to the minimum and average framerates.

The resolutions we used were 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960 and 1600x1200. We measured performance with high and highest details.

This time in F.E.A.R. with High Settings, the ASUS A8R32 performed better, reporting higher average fps and higher minimum fps than the MSI.

Even with Maximum settings enabled, the ASUS A8R32 is slightly better, producing higher average framerates. At 1600x1200, the framerate is so slow that any difference between the mobos here isn't significant.


11. Need For Speed - Most Wanted

Wake up to the smell of burnt asphalt as the thrill of illicit street racing permeates the air.

Combining illicit street racing and tuner customization with the intensity of strategic police pursuit that surpasses any Hollywood-style chase scene, Need for Speed Most Wanted will be on every gamer's 'must-have' list this holiday season. Out-race rivals, evade cops and exploit hundreds of miles of open road as gamers make their way up the Blacklist.

To become the most wanted racer, players must build up their street cred and Rap Sheet with gripping, white knuckle, head-to-head races with the top drivers on the streets, as well as pull daring, evasive moves to out-run and out-fox the cops that patrol the open road. Players can manage their heat or utilize a number of strategic tactics to keep the cops off their tails as they leave their rivals behind to suck their exhaust fumes.

- Benchmark Settings

NFS Most Wanted includes no default benchmark. To measure the card's performance, we've chosen to record the framerate at the start of a circuit race with end-game cars. The starting point tends to be one of the most graphically demanding parts because of the smoke coming from spinning wheels added to the rest of the game's visual effects. If a card can pass this step with an acceptable framerate it is guaranteed that it will face no problem with the rest of the game.

The resolutions we used are 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. We measured performance at the lowest and highest possible settings.

In NFS MW, both mobos reported similar framerates at all tested resolutions, with or without AA and AF enabled.


12. Performance Test v5.0

The suite of the PassMark Performance Test contains a number of suites with different tests to measure different aspects of a computer system.

The "PassMark rating" is a weighted average of all the other test results and gives a single overall indication of the computers performance. The bigger the number, the faster the computer. The "PassMark rating" can only be calculated if the results from all other tests are available. The value is calculated as follows.

Test Suite Weighting
Disk 20%
CD / DVD 9%
Memory 18%
3D Graphics 12%
2D Graphics 14%
CPU 27%
Total 100%

According to the PassMark Performance test, the MSI K8N showed slightly better performance than the ASUS A8R32.


13. PCMark04 - 05

PCMark04 and 05 are application-based benchmarks and a premium tool for measuring overall PC performance. It uses portions of real applications instead of including very large applications or using specifically created code. This allows PCMark05 to be a smaller installation as well as to report very accurate results. As far as possible, PCMark05 uses public domain applications whose source code can be freely examined by any user.

Both PCMark04 and PCMark05 include 5 categorized suites for benchmarking your computer. These include System, CPU, Graphics, Memory and a Hard Disk Drive benchmark. In our case, we selected the system test suite which integrates tests included in the other categories.

Both PC Mark benchmarks reported slightly better performance with the MSI K8N motherboard.


14. Overclocking

You can increase your Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard's system performance from the BIOS, since the AiBooster (overclocking Utility that can be used from within Windows) is not bundled in the software package. The default Core Speed for the AMD64 3500+ is 2200Mhz.

The maximum overclocking speed we managed to achieve was 2700Mhz with the FSB running at 300Mhz. At higher speeds, we had the blue screen of death or the system failed to boot.


15. Bios - Page 1


Asus Logo


Bios main Screen


Advance menu


Hardware Monitor


Boot menu


Boot Settings


Exit menu


16. Bios - Page 2

The BIOS features for advanced use, including overclocking:

Below, you can choose between Auto or manual overclocking...

For manual overclocking, you set the FSB speed.


17. Software CD

The Software CD included in the retail package includes the following:


Drivers


Utilities

Asus Update is a very helpful utility which helps locate the appropriate firmware revision for the motherboard and then flashes it.

We highly recommend that you download the new BIOS manually from the internet first, and then proceed with the flash procedure.


18. PC Probe II

We highly recommend you install this software. It will provide you with helpful information about your system.

Asus has upgraded its PC Probe software, providing a more impressive layout.

If something isn't within specs or isn't working properly, the right panel lights up red.

Voltage, temperatures, fan speed are some of the parameters you can monitor.

You can also monitor the HD and RAM conditions as well as CPU usage.


19. Conclusion

The A8R32-MVP Deluxe is a Dual PCI-E X16 motherboard for the AMD, CrossFire based systems. All previous ASUS CrossFire models were limited to X8 bandwidth when two PCI-E graphics cards were installed. With this board, the bandwidth remains at X16, even in CrossFire mode. The framerates that we saw with the EAX1600XT, installed on the MSI K8N Diamond and on the A8R32-MVP Deluxe, were similar in most of the tested games and in the benchmarks as well, so any differences between them, which were slight, can be considered as insignificant.

The Asus motherboard comes with a full retail package, including all required manuals, cables, drivers and applications. The only thing that is missing from the applications is the AiBooster Utility, which lets you overclock the CPU from within Windows, but you can still do it in the traditional manner from the BIOS :-P. The Asus BIOS is user friendly and you can easily find the settings that need to be adjusted.

Taking a close look at the the black colored PCB, you will notice that it is of quality construction, incorporating the Stack Cool 2 technology for transferring generated heat away from critical components. The board is also equipped with dual Gigabit LAN, HD-AUDIO, SATA RAID, Dual Channel, N.O.S., etc., just some from the long list of features. However, a WiFi/WLAN and IDE RAID support would have been a great addition.

The price at the time of this review was US$172.99 from newegg.com, which is quite a reasonable price, especially if we consider that this motherboard supports PCI-E at X16, even in CrossFire mode.

Pros:

Cons:

Like to be fixed

Features
Performance
BIOS/Overclocking
Value for money


Home | News | All News | Reviews | Articles | Guides | Download | Expert Area | Forum | Site Info
Site best viewed at 1024x768+ - CDRINFO.COM 1998-2014 - All rights reserved -
Privacy policy - Contact Us .