Articles: Mainboards

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Although the ASUS A8R-MVP had disappointed us with its problems at 1T Command Rate, we still wanted to check it at overclocking. So, we assembled a system with this mainboard and an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processor (on the Manchester core). We first wanted to see at which clock-gen frequency the mainboard would lose its stability. The CPU frequency multiplier was reduced to 7x for this purpose and the memory frequency was reduced, too, so that they wouldn’t interfere with our overclocking. We also set the HyperTransport frequency multiplier at 3x for the same reasons.

The maximum clock-gen frequency the mainboard remained stable at was not as high as with competing products. We achieved 300MHz only. A rather average result, but this should be enough for CPU overclocking considering that the mainboard doesn’t allow setting the CPU voltage too high.

DDR SDRAM can be made to work at high frequencies easily on this mainboard, but don’t forget that the memory subsystem works in the “relaxed” mode, with 2T Command Rate. So, there should be no problem as you are increasing the memory bus frequency. As for the maximum frequency of the employed CPU, we only managed to reach 2500MHz on the ASUS A8R-MVP, having chosen the maximum possible Vcore (1.5V) and keeping the CPU multiplier default (10x).

That’s not the best result possible, but it’s good nonetheless. Other Socket 939 mainboards overclock better because they allow setting the CPU voltage higher. The memory subsystem worked in sync with the clock generator in this case and the OCZ PC4000 EB Dual Channel Platinum Edition modules we use in our tests are always stable in this mode.

So, our tests suggest that the overclocking potential of the ASUS A8R-MVP is rather limited. It doesn’t allow setting the CPU voltage too high, is unstable at Command Rate = 1T and doesn’t support really high clock-gen frequencies. All this is enough for true PC enthusiasts to shun this product.

Well, the ASUS A8R-MVP has some good points, too. As we noted above, this mainboard can do for a quiet computer. It lacks any fans and all its chips are cooled with simple passive heatsinks. The mainboard also offers advanced tools to control the speeds of the fans you attach to it. The smart speed-control QFan technology allows setting temperatures for each fan at which the fan is turned off/on and is made to work at its full speed.

The ASUS A8R-MVP also fully supports Cool’n’Quiet technology. If you like silent computers, you will certainly appreciate this.

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