ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review :: A8R-MVP Crossfire Features

02-28-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
ASUS A8R-MVP Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberA8R-MVP
ManufacturerASUS
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetATI RD480 AMD M1575
North BridgeATI RD480 AMD
SocketSocket 939, Socket AM2
Processor TypesAthlon 64X2, Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64, Sempron
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeULi M1575
Audio6-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireIEEE 1394a
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
BIOSAMI
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

The ASUS A8R-MVP board is based upon ATI's RADEON Xpress 200 Crossfire chipset. The Xpress 200 Crossfire chipset supports all current AMD Socket 939 CPUs including the FX-60, the Dual Core CPUs like the 4800+ and the other 939 CPUs like the 4000+. During testing, I used the 4000+ that we normally use in our AMD platform and tried it with the FX-60 with no compatibility issues.


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review MOSFET Heatsinks

MOSFET Heatsinks


ASUS outfitted the board with 4 DIMM slots for DDR memory. AMD will move to DDR2 memory later this year with the Socket M2 platform, but all current AMD chipsets support DDR memory. The board supports up to 4GB of unbuffered, ECC and non-ECC memory, with support for DDR266, DDR333 and DDR400 officially supported in Dual Channel mode.


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review Memory Modules

Memory Modules

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review PCI slots

PCI slots

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review PCI Express x1 slot

PCI Express x1 slot

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review PCI Express x16 slots

PCI Express x16 slots

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review PCI Express x16 locks

PCI Express x16 locks


Expansion on this board is dominated by the fact that the A8R-MVP supports dual video cards in Crossfire mode. There are two PCI Express x16 slots, a PCI Express x1 slot in between the two long slots, making the x1 slot unusable if two dual slot video cards are installed, and three legacy PCI V2.3 compliant slots for additional devices like a HDD controller, a LAN card or a Creative Xi-Fi soundcard.


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review PATA ports

PATA ports

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review RAID

RAID

ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review Delete RAID

Delete RAID


Onboard drive support is typical of motherboards today. ASUS outfits the board with 4 SATA2 ports controlled by a ULi M1575 South Bridge and 2 PATA ports for IDE devices like a CD-ROM or IDE HDD. ULi was bought out by NVIDIA and its unlikely that future Crossfire motherboards will sport a ULi chipset. The advantage of the ULi chipset is that it alleviates some of the problems ATI chipsets have had with USB data pass-through connectivity.


Sound screenshots


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review
ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review
ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review
ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review
ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review
ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review

ASUS decided to include a ADI1986A SoundMAX CODEC for the onboard sound on the board. This CODEC supports Intel's High Definition Audio (HDA) standard and is excellent for most users. High Definition Audio is the replacement for the AC'97 sound standard found in most onboard audio solutions since 1997. The onboard audio supports 6-channel Surround-Sound and an S/PDIF-Out is also included on the board.


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review Marvell 88E801 controller

Marvell 88E801 controller


One thing about ATI's chipsets is they don't have integrated onboard LAN, preferring to use third-party LAN controllers like Realtek or Marvell. ASUS included the Marvell 88E801 Gigabit Ethernet controller on the A8R-MVP. LAN transfer rates should be the same as with a integrated controller like the one found on NVIDIA's nForce4 chipset.


ASUS A8R-MVP Crossfire Motherboard Review Back panel I/O

Back panel I/O


The back panel I/O on the board includes 1 Parallel port, 1 Serial Port, 1 IEEE1394a port, 1 Coaxial S/PDIF Output, 1 PS/2 Keyboard, 1 PS/2 Mouse, 1 6-Channel High Definition Audio I/O 1 RJ45 jack for the Gigabit LAN and 4 USB. 2.0 ports. I'm glad ASUS decided to include the jacks for the audio, and a Firewire port, as often these are only included with a bracket.