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Abit AT8 32X Xpress 3200 motherboard
ATI has big plans to unseat NVIDIA's undisputed claim as the definitive AMD core logic

Later today, ATI will officially announce the Xpress 3200 core logic -- a 110nm low-k core logic for AMD Socket 939 and the still unannounced Socket AM2.  Xpress 3200 has all of the features found on Xpress 200 (RD480) with a few extra frills including dual Gigabit Ethernet PHYs, dual 1394 PHYs and eight SATA 3.0Gbps drive support. 

This is the first PC chipset to feature dual x16 PCIe lanes from a single core logic.  ATI will follow up the RD580 launch with a slightly cheaper RD550 Xpress chipset within the next few months, but RD550 will not feature true dual x16 CrossFire found on the RD580.  The documentation we have claims RD580 supports 36 total PCIe lanes; four of which are dedicated to the Southbridge interconnect.  The remaining 32 are split 16 and 16 to the PCIe graphics adaptors for CrossFire support.   

Interestingly enough, none of the dozen or so RD580 motherboards I have personally seen over the last three months use the ATI SB400, SB450 or SB460 southbridge.  Manufacturers mostly claim this is due to the fact that NVIDIA (ULi) has a superior product, although with ULi now becoming an NVIDIA brand all manufacturers have admitted to us they have SB600 on the roadmaps for all future ATI southbridge core logic.   

Initial reviews of RD580 motherboards, particularly the ASUS A8R32-MVP, have been extremely favorable.  ASUS notified us that A8R32-MVP motherboards have a MSRP of just $30 over the value oriented A8R-MVP motherboard, but merchants are readily selling the boards for over $200.  The ASUS A8R32-MVP is a slight bit of a fluke due to the fact that it is one of the few Xpress 3200 Socket 939 motherboards.  There will be five or six brands supporting 939 at launch, but the bulk of manufacturers with Xpress 3200 orders expect to wait until the Socket AM2 launch. 

Intel users have more to look forward to this year as well. RD600 will launch sometime around March this year with all the features of RD580, but of course on an Intel platform.  An IGP version of this chipset, RS600 will launch about the same time.  ATI roadmaps also reveal that RS600 will get an HDMI counterpart sometime in Q3'06 -- dubbed RS700.


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RE: Could this be the future king of the hill?
By armagedon on 3/1/2006 8:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
hum, i just build an Asus A8N NF4 Ultra and have no problem with neither of those drivers. I've also build an NV Raid 0 with total success. Could it be your DFI ?

As for ATI, i'll wait until more reviews popups on the Web.

RE: Could this be the future king of the hill?
By Zoomer on 3/1/2006 8:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
That is a known problem with nf4s with NAM, or nvidia's on chip firewall. It is a piece of crap which can't handle many connections (hundreds or thousands) without BSODs.

Simply DON'T install drivers for it. Problem solved.

Admittedly, we are paying for features we can't use.

RE: Could this be the future king of the hill?
By Araemo on 3/1/2006 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
You mean don't install the 'activearmor firewall' portion, but still install the nvidia gigabit drivers? I hope so, cause I built a PC for a friend based on an NF4 motherboard, and I simply omitted the firewall portion due to the problems I've heard about(and they have a router w/ firewall anyways.)

By ProviaFan on 3/1/2006 11:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. ActiveArmour is a horrible piece of trash, but I've had no problems with the network adapter itself.

RE: Could this be the future king of the hill?
By Griswold on 3/1/2006 12:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
No, it is not just my DFI. DFI recommends to not use the IDE driver with any of their mobos and its no secret that this problem can affect any brand (its about the nforce chipset not the PCB its soldered to).

Until 3 weeks ago I thought I had the problems under control by just not using the nv IDE driver for my DVD burner (it would produe useless CD's and DVD's when burning very large files). Then windows started acting up with increased boot times and errors in the system logs that hinted at a HDD problem. I removed the darn nv IDE driver and went back to the default windows driver - voila, all fine. Mind you, had the boot process not slowed down, I probably wouldnt have noticed it, as there was nothing that made problems and I dont look at the system logs when stuf works fine. But who can guarantee that this pos driver doesnt corrupt my data at some point?

As for the nv gigabit LAN ports, I was not refering to the amateur on-chip firewall (nobody in their right mind would use something that corrupts your downloads... did they fix that yet? Probably not.), but to the fact that the nv gigabit ports would drop connection randomly, requiring a reset to make it work again. The Yukon port (that has been added by DFI to this board) has been working perfectly for months now.

All in all, I paid for features that dont work or dont work in a reliable way, and there is nvidia written on all of them. I had a similar experience on my Asus nforce2 board.

RE: Could this be the future king of the hill?
By GTMan on 3/1/2006 3:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what procedure did you use to remove the IDE driver please?

By PrinceGaz on 3/2/2006 4:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
I also had to remove the nVidia IDE drivers after long boot delays, I never used nVidia's firewall as I use a superior software firewall (KPF) that can handle thousands of connections easily and consumes negligible resources (unlike most software firewalls), and didn't fancy taking a chance with nVidia's dodgy firewall software.

It's easy to remove the IDE drivers-- simply remove the entire chipset driver package (Add/Remove Programs -> NVIDIA Drivers), then reinstall it but without the IDE drivers.

Of course once you've removed the nVidia IDE drivers and reverted to the Microsoft drivers, you lose special features like NCQ (at least I think you do).

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