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The ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe

The ASUS AM2 ATX motherboard lineup
ASUS casts the first stone in the race for AM2 dominance

With the AM2 and MCP55 launches just around the corner (May 23, 2006), motherboards are already starting to trickle into the retail channel.  DailyTech recently obtained the complete ASUS AM2 launch roadmap, including ATI, NVIDIA and VIA offerings.

The spearhead of ASUS's AM2 offerings will be the nForce 590 SLI and Xpress 3200 motherboards, labeled as the M2N32-SLI Deluxe and M2R32-MVP Deluxe respectively.  The M2N32-SLI Deluxe features everything you'd expect to find on nForce 590, including dual gigabit LAN ports from the nForce MCP, eight SATA 3.0Gbps (of which one is external SATA) and dual full x16 PCIe graphics interfaces.  NVIDIA's LinkBoost technology will also make an appearance on the M2N32-SLI Deluxe, which ASUS's box art claims will automatically overclock the PCIe and MCP HyperTransport link by 25% when a GeForce 7900 or 7950 GPU is inserted into both PCIe x16 interfaces. The M2N32-SLI Deluxe will also come in a workstation version dubbed the M2N32-WS.

The high end M2R32-MVP Deluxe features similar specifications and uses the fabled ATI SB600.  The motherboard features dual full x16 PCIe graphics interfaces, dual gigabit LAN and six SATA 3.0Gbps interfaces. 

Continuing to work down the line, ASUS will also offer an M2N4-SLI motherboard based on the nForce 4 SLI chipset.  Aside from the obvious PCIe lane configuration differences between nForce 4 and nForce 5xx, the M2N4-SLI uses a bog standard AC'97 5.1 channel codec with four SATA 3.0Gbps interfaces.  ASUS's M2V will be the only VIA offering from the company at AM2 launch.  The M2V, based off the K8T890 Northbridge and 8237A Southbridge, will only feature a single x16 PCIe interface and one SATA 3.0Gbps devices.  To round off the low end, ASUS will also offer an nForce 430 motherboard with all the GeForce 6150 trimmings.

ASUS also has plans for a few MicroATX AM2 motherboards on its roadmap, including the M2NPV-VM (GeForce 6150, nForce 430 with dual video outputs), the M2NPV-MX (a slightly cheaper version of the M2NPV-VM) and the M2N-MX which will be the first ASUS MCP61S motherboard.  Expect to see this motherboard begin to sample near the end of June, with the other MATX offerings showing up just after the AM2 launch.

ASUS's high end boards feature a new player in the integrated motherboard audio market for the company: Analog Devices.  ASUS first experimented with the ADI's SoundMax digital processor on a few Intel 965 prototypes, but it appears SoundMax will have a permanent home on new high end ASUS offerings going forward.  The ADI SoundMax 1988B features 7.1 high definition audio and special optimizations for voice recording.  The ASUS M2N SLI offerings come with an array microphone that uses multiple mic heads for a slightly less distorted sound.

Once again, the majority of ASUS's high end offerings will offer 8-phase power in the form of dual 4-phase serial circuits.  Some offerings, like the M2N32-SLI Deluxe pictured, will also come with an 802.11b/g WiFi card with an omni-directional antenna. All high end motherboards also come with a fanless heatpipe design.

We don't have prices on these motherboards yet, but expect to see them at your local Fry's or Newegg within the next few weeks!

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Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By hstewarth on 5/12/2006 3:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
I notice these motherboards have Ultra DMA ports - arn't these big bulky ports obsolete.

Interesting about 2 lan ports - is that usefull on a desktop system.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By AllYourBaseAreBelong2Us on 5/12/2006 3:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
Most people still need an Ultra DMA port for the CDROM/DVDROM units.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By hstewarth on 5/12/2006 4:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
But SATA Optiical drives are available and likely would be quite abundant by end of summer.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Bull Dog on 5/12/2006 5:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well right now, they are still bloody expensive.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By defter on 5/12/2006 5:20:33 PM , Rating: 3
But SATA Optiical drives are available and likely would be quite abundant by end of summer.

And? If I want to just upgrade motherboard & CPU, why should I buy a new overpriced optical drive if the old one works just fine?

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By hstewarth on 5/12/2006 5:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well the cost of SATA Optical drives are not much different then normal drives. A pioneer 110d SATA DVD burner was 75.

Anyway I think most people who would be purchasing this system will likely be upgrading every thing. Some like myself still have AGP cards - this is first AMD systems with DDR2. So its likely means memory.

If you going upgrade almost everthing, why not the whole system and keep the second as spare/server...

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Trisped on 5/12/2006 7:15:21 PM , Rating: 3
I have 2 DL-DVD burners and 2 120GB hard drives that work just fine. If I upgrade my system I would leave only one of each in the old system and move the other two to the new one. That way I would have a back up, non-SATA drive for playing DVDs and CDs as well as 120GB to back up all the old data files from my previous computer.

Besides, there are still floppy drives, even though the floppy is so out dated the only thing I would use it for is updating my BIOS. If floppy is still there I don't think IDE is going to leave for a while.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By trabpukcip on 5/14/2006 9:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
SATA optical drives are currently thin on gorund and have been for some time, the manufacturers just don't seem to be that interested in developing them. I reckon at least end of 2007 before you see them commonly shipping in new systems.

Even the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD prototypes I have seen have all been PATA. There is no performance gain just less obtrusive cables. Future high speed Blu-Ray and HD-DVD drives might require SATA 300Gbps for the bandwidth.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By bob661 on 5/14/2006 1:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't plan on upgrading everything. Just the required stuff. Also, I can get a UDMA DL DVD burner for $40. $75 is too expensive just to get a SATA port.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By plonk420 on 5/14/2006 4:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
will likely to be abundant?

i see all of 2 $100 SATA drives on The Egg. i found all of three other models, the cheapest of which was a $50 or $60 burner, made in 2004. no $20 DVDROMs to be seen like there are with IDE/ATAPI. i guess this is the cost of licensing SATA chipsets?

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Master Kenobi on 5/12/2006 4:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Actually no. I have an Asus P5WD2 Premium right now, its got dual gigabit ethernet. In the past I've had rare instances where one of them would act funny, so I can simply move the cable to the other port and its fine, usually this happens when certain games patch their stuff strangely. Advantage is that my ethernet ports are Intel gigabit, and Marvell Gigabit respectively so its 2 different chipsets controlling it. IF they are the same chipsets on both ports (likely the case), the only benefit is in LAN parties in which case you can connect both and bridge them for extra bandwidth if you want to setup your box as the server, or have a better potential throughput to the server :)

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Trisped on 5/12/2006 7:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have also heard of them being used to connect one computer to two different internet lines (like combining 2 DSL lines to get 6.0-12.0Mbps with 1Mps upload). I don’t know how well that works though…

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Missing Ghost on 5/12/2006 4:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you say that? Even the new 750GB drive is available for IDE. IDE still works very well and has enough performance for today. Sure, you may prefer the small cables, but don't spit on another older technology that still works.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By hstewarth on 5/12/2006 4:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well I been looking at systems with SAS which are also compatible with SATA and can handle up 16256 devices. IDE cables can be so bulky - no IDE would make system so much neater and simpler.

Maybe not this year, but I would say by next year IDE will be obsolete and gone.

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By Zoomer on 5/14/2006 2:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
There is only 1 ide connector. Bad!

RE: Ulta DMA - is it obsolete
By bob661 on 5/14/2006 1:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
One connector is fine nowadays. I know there some people that have two burners but it's not really necessary unless you need to burn two things at once (is that possible?). Also, you can get IDE to SATA converters too. I use them at work with no issues.

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