Articles: Mainboards

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Mainboard makers have recently been carefully selecting the software for the bundles they supply with their products. Besides older versions of popular programs, the software bundle now often includes hardware monitoring, overclocking and other utilities developed by the mainboard manufacturers themselves, so we are going to check out these programs in our reviews, too.

The software bundle you receive with the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE consists of the programs NVIDIA offers with its nForce4 Ultra chipset as well as of Chaintech’s own exclusive utilities.

The first part of programs including nTune, nvMixer, nvRAID and Network Access Manage has already been discussed in our previous articles. However, we believe we should warn you , that some of nTune’s features aren’t available on the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE. When working on this mainboard, nTune  cannot update the BIOS and tells the hardware monitoring numbers wrong.

As for Chaintech’s own programs, there is only one here, the DigiDoc utility that keeps track of the CPU and system temperatures, of the CPU and system fans rotation speeds, and of all the basic system voltages.

We would also like to specifically mention the new and good Norton Antivirus 2005 antivirus package which is also supplied with the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE.

Testbed and Methods

In the end we are going to share the results of our performance tests with you. We will compare the speed of the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE with that of the earlier-tested EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra and MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum which is based on the previous generation chipset from NVIDIA, the nForce3 Ultra. To make our comparison fair, we used two similar graphics cards on the RADEON X800 XT chip with two interfaces, AGP 8x and PCI Express x16. Here’s a full list of hardware components we used in our tests:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ CPU (2.4GHz, 512KB L2);
  • Mainboards:
    • Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE  (NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra);
    • EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra (NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra);
    • MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (NVIDIA nForce3 Ultra);
  • 1024MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX512-3200XLPRO, 2 x 512MB, 2-2-2-10).
  • Graphics cards:
    • PowerColor RADEON X800 XT (AGP 8x, 500MHz/500MHz);
    • PowerColor RADEON X800 XT (PCI Express x16, 500MHz/500MHz).
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 250GB hard disk drive (SATA150).

We carried out all our tests in Windows XP SP2.

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