Crossfire Motherboard Selection

Best Crossfire Motherboard (bang for the buck / upgradable)


  • Total voters
    26

nhusby

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
303
I want to build a system with upgradability in mind.

I am open to any suggestions for motherboard, but I am mainly looking at DFI and ABIT.

The last system I built for my own use was an ABIT BP6 with dual celeron 366's oc'd to 550 512MB RAM, and dual 20GB 7200RPM seagates on (hacked) RAID, .an ati AIW 128 (upgraded to AIW 9200) that was like 6 years ago...
I still play games on it...

anywho my school loans are burning a hole in my pocket. I want crossfire because I wont give up on ATI... I wish there was a descent Intel/crossfire solution, I am bitterly letting that dream die.

I hope ATLEAST a few people mention the ABIT...
 

Parabellum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 4, 2001
Messages
1,893
Abit who? Nah, seriously, I personnally prefer Asus but that is just me. If Intel, one good Crossfire motherboard is the P5WD2-E and if AMD there is the A8R32-MVP, also from Asus.

Para
 

nhusby

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
303
I probubly shouldnt judge the whole lot by just one bad board, but the last asus I worked on I had to bypass EVERYTHING. Its a good thing it had 5 pci slots because I used all of em. it was a cheap computer, and I fixed it with junk I had laying around, but I had to put in an IDE controller, sound card, and vid card because all of the onboard stuff shit out. it was either a crappy board, or the victim of an act of god. it worked for a few years after that... I gladly never saw it again.

I should also specify, I am looking for REAL Crossfire (dual 16x PCIe)
 

texuspete00

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 9, 2002
Messages
5,585
I'm a proud owner of a DFI and 2 x1900's myself. Doing a lot better on the speeds with stability after tweaking more of the memory timings.
 

Blacklash

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 16, 2004
Messages
1,893
The DFI is a tweakers board and awesome. If you mostly use auto settings it is a waste of money. In addition, mostly auto settings will get you very average performance with it. So if you are not into that skip it. Look at all the settings OCZ Tony outlined in the link provided in the CFX 3200 thread.

IMO from the choices you list the Abit AT8 32X is the best "bang for the buck". Even better might be to get the older AT8, it is even less, and the performance will be very close. It has HD audio, Sata 2, and 1394 etc etc.

There is the AT8 not the 32X at ZZF for 113usd:

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=240188&affiliate=froogle

The ASUS lay out is slightly better because it has a PCI slot available high up on the board even with Crossfire in use. That would be ideal for a sound card, because the higher it is up on the board the less chance of EMI.
 

Croak

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
1,138
As a previous owner of an AbIT AN8-32x (NF4) and current owner of an Asus A8R32-MVP, I would have to recommend the Abit based on my NF4 board experience, since the Abit AT8-32x uses nearly the same layout as the AN8-32x. If I had a do-over, I'd choose Abit, DFI, Asus, Sapphire in that order.

The Asus board has a slightly better layout in some areas (not a big fan of Abit putting the floppy connector at the bottom of the board, and it eats another PCI slot when running Crossfire), but in other areas the Abit board is better. Both boards suck at resetting CMOS if you're running Crossfire, you need to remove the slave video card to get to the reset jumper (score for DFI which lets you reset with a switch combination).

With the Asus you get five internal SATA headers (4x Uli, 1x SIL) and one external, which is kinda neat but not totally necessary, and it means you can't run an internal RAID on the SIL controller unless you route the cable back inside. With the Abit you get 8 (4x Uli, 4x Sil) internal, which gives you much more RAID flexibility, and if you want to go external, they make cheap backplanes for doing that.

With the Asus you can only control (to a limited degree) the speeds of two fans (CPU and chassis), with the Abit you have full control and monitoring of up to 5 fans via BIOS or excellent UGuru software (that's a HUGE plus in my book for Abit), and the option of adding the UGuru drive-bay display and control device (which also solves the CMOS reset problem). Abit's Uguru is also a pretty good Window-based overclocking utility for the casual overclocker, and it writes back to BIOS (after confirming it functions) so settings are saved.

Abit also comes with Phoenix BIOS, which I personally prefer to the confusing and poorly organized and nested AMI BIOS that Asus uses.

As far as chipsets, both use the same ATI northbridge, and the same ULI southbridge, and both use the same secondary SIL SATA. So any chipset level issues are going to be the same on both boards (voltage restrictions on certain CPU's, etc).

You get an extra Gigabit LAN connector with the Asus (1 PCI, 1 PCI-e), but you get more USB/Firewire headers with the Abit. The extra LAN connector could be a big deal for some people, for others it's a non-issue.

Both have the same Realtek HD Audio chipset, though the Asus has optical and coax connectors (Abit has 2x optical).

As for BIOS tweaking, I haven't personally seen the Abit's Xpress 3200 version in action, but from all reports it's about as tweakable as the Asus.

While the Abit might have some problems, there's no reports of USB issues, squealing caps, memory compatibility, and all the other stuff that plauged and still plagues the Asus A8R32-MVP (getting a solid A8R32-MVP is still a bit of a gamble...my USB is still a problem, HD audio won't work on coax, and I get squealing caps on occasion).

There is a problem with HTT past 270 on the Abit, which should be solved very soon (if not already) the same way Asus solved the problem, with a BIOS update.

Abit's forums are MUCH better than Asus' weird forum, and as a result more active and with more info.

Finally, the Abit board is selling for a few bucks less on average than the Asus.

And if you want my REAL recommendation, see if you can wait for AM2 boards to hit the street in the next few weeks, which will have the new (and hopefully much better) ATI 600 southbridge, since you need to buy a new CPU anyway if you're going AMD, and you get DDR2 support. And X1900's should be cheaper then too, seems to be a price drop trend on them right now.
 

No Limit

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 24, 2001
Messages
1,779
I went with Abit. Everything in my system runs at stock speed so I don't care about overclocking. I had a problem with a Socket 754 DFI motherboard in the past (for some reason it never supported AMD's Cool'n'Quiet feature), but I guess no one really cares about that with DFI motherboards since those who use that brand overclock... Anyway, back to the Abit... been running the motherboard with an X1800 crossfire setup for about a week or two now with no problems. I've used a couple of Abit mobos in the past (KG7 & NF7-S rev. 2) and never had any issues overclocking or otherwise.
 

contaminant

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2005
Messages
336
It's between DFI and Asus IMO. I voted Asus just because the A8R32-MVP is a great board (coming from my minor experience with it, and all the reviews). Haven't read anything about the new DFI board, but I've loved all of DFI's previous boards. They make great products, especially for overclocking.
 
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