Articles: Mainboards
 

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Specification and Accessories

Although the ASUS A8R-MVP can be installed in a high-performance platform equipped with two graphics cards, this product doesn’t seem to be a top-end product by itself. It doesn’t offer the wide expansion opportunities expensive mainboards usually offer and its accessories aren’t rich, too. The packaging is also simple, so there can’t be any misunderstanding: the A8R-MVP is positioned as a mainboard for entry-level and midrange computers. Similar products from other companies may cost over $150 whereas the ASUS A8R-MVP is selling in retail for about $100. The characteristics/price ratio of the mainboard looks quite appealing.

The appearance of the reviewed mainboard hardly raises any emotions. It just lacks any modder-targeted features. The color of the textolite is ASUS’s traditional ocher and there are no decorations whatsoever. And here is the official specification of the ASUS A8R-MVP:

ASUS A8 R- MVP

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 for Socket 939

Chipset

Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire (RD480 + ULi M1575)

Hypertransport bus

1 GHz

Clock generator frequency

200-400MHz (with 1MHz)

Overclocking-friendly functions

Independently adjustable PCI Express bus frequency.
Adjustable CPU clock frequency multiplier.
Adjustable Vcore, Vmem, Vchipset and PCI Express bus voltage.

Memory

4 DDR DIMM slots for dual-channel DDR400 SDRAM

PCI Express slots

2 x PCI Express x16
1 x PCI Express x1

PCI slots

3

USB 2.0 ports

8 (4 – on the rear panel)

IEEE1394 ports

2 (1 – on the rear panel, by VIA VT6307 controller)

ATA-100/133

2 ATA-133 channels (in the chipset)

Serial ATA

4 Serial ATA-150 channels (with RAID support, in the chipset)

ATA RAID support

RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 in the chipset

Integrated sound

Six-channel HD ADI SoundMax AD1986A codec

Integrated network

Gigabit Ethernet Marvell 88E8001 controller

Additional features

None

BIOS

AMIBIOS v02.58

Form-factor

ATX, 305x244mm

If it were not for the two PCI Express x16 graphics slots, the ASUS A8R-MVP might be characterized as an entry-level Socket 939 platform. Almost all of its functionality, except for network and FireWire which are not implemented at all in the ULi M1575 South Bridge, is the functionality of the employed chipset. There are no extra controllers that would enhance the mainboard’s functionality considerably beyond that. Yet even as it is, the ASUS A8R-MVP may make a solid foundation for a modern Athlon 64 system.

The mainboard box is designed demurely in gray colors. There’s nothing particularly interesting inside:

  • CD with a typical selection of drivers and utilities
  • Four Serial ATA cables and two power cables for your Serial ATA drives
  • One Parallel ATA cable and one FDD cable
  • I/O Shield
  • Dummy card for the free PCI Express x16 slot
  • Back-panel bracket with an IEEE1394 connector
  • Back-panel bracket with two USB ports and a Game port
  • User manual

This is a typical set of accessories supplied with inexpensive mainboards and we shouldn’t be complaining about them considering the price of the ASUS A8R-MVP. The only really surprising thing here is the bracket with an antiquated Game port.

To some regret, the A8R-MVP doesn’t have more expensive, “Deluxe” modifications. This is the single product of its kind. Furthermore, the description of this mainboard vanished for some time from the ASUS website for some reasons, which is a disturbing fact. We hope it doesn’t mean the manufacturer is going to suddenly stop to ship and support this product. We do expect, however, that the A8R-MVP will be leaving the production lines after the release of the A8R32-MVP Deluxe mainboard on the new ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset.

 
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