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saturnotaku
03-08-04, 01:33 PM
I've been reading some reviews of the current crop of Athlon 64 chipsets. It seems like they're all pretty good, but I'm curious as to actual user opinions regarding which one might be best. It seems like the VIA chipset has better out-of-the-box performance, but its lack of a PCI/AGP speed lock will hurt overclocking. But it doesn't appear that the Athlon 64 overclocks all that well to begin with.

I haven't heard much about the SiS chipset. I've seen on Newegg a couple boards using it, but not much on its performance.

Have at it gents!

Dazz
03-08-04, 01:36 PM
SIS 755 is the fastest A64 board out but the worst overclocker. While the VIA K8T800 is a mix of both, and the nForce3 has low peformance but high overclock ablility as it locks the AGP.

Gator
03-08-04, 02:28 PM
SIS755 appears to be the best chipset, but it's cursed with boardmakers not known to be overclocker-friendly, specifically ECS and Asrock. Hopefully an OC happy maker like Abit or Asus will eventually pickup the chipset.

VIA appears to be the best for Athlon64 right now, even though that disturbs me a little personally :p

Nforce3 I'm reading reports of people complaining about stability, and apparently Nvidia disabled a lot of stuff to get it to work so it doesn't perform as well as VIA. I'll be able to confirm it's performance this week when I put together an A64 + Gigabyte Nforce3 for my father :afro:

Sazar
03-08-04, 02:36 PM
I am waiting to see if someone finds a way to unlock these cpu's :D

would be lovely :D

fx-51's with unlocked mult going all teh way upto and beyond 2500mhz @ some places :)

and since mem controller is ondie... excellent performance scaling as well...

saturnotaku
03-08-04, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by Gator
SIS755 appears to be the best chipset, but it's cursed with boardmakers not known to be overclocker-friendly, specifically ECS and Asrock. Hopefully an OC happy maker like Abit or Asus will eventually pickup the chipset.

There might be contractual obligations that prevent them from doing so. I don't know; I hope that's not the case but it might explain why virtually no other board makers pick up on any SiS chipsets.

I might be willing to give the ECS board a go, but I have to find a place that carries the revision that truly supports DDR400 (the first batches only supported DDR333).

Gator
03-08-04, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by saturnotaku
...I might be willing to give the ECS board a go, but I have to find a place that carries the revision that truly supports DDR400 (the first batches only supported DDR333).

and the ECS SIS755 rev1 northbridge overheats too. The Asrock SIS755 is a better choice if you can find it, the only problem is the placement of memory and floppy controller on the board :(

MUYA
03-08-04, 09:02 PM
Review 1 at OC WB (http://www.ocworkbench.com/2004/asrock/k8s8x/k8s8x-1.htm)

Review 2 at X-bit Labs (http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/ecs-755a2.html)

Review 3 at AT (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.html?i=1952)

Review 4 at OC Workbench (http://www.ocworkbench.com/2004/ecs/755a2/755a2-1.htm)

Tuan's preview @ accelnation (http://accelenation.com/?ac.id.208.1)

Thast all I have linked to in the past.

There is also a preview at AT of the ECS755, but they reviewed a revision of it in the link above.

saturnotaku
03-08-04, 09:36 PM
The ECS 755 would be out of the question for me because GeiL memory needs higher voltages (mine needs 2.8 to be stable). That board only goes up to 2.65 on the vDIMM.

Though it looks like Asus is coming out with a 755 board, which hopefully would prove to be more overclocking friendly.

Edit: I'm reading Anand's review of the AOpen AK86-L (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.html?i=1959&p=1) and it looks like that particular K8T800 board has some kind of PCI/AGP lock on it, plus multiplier adjustments. They also appear to have updated the BIOS to accomodate vDIMM adjustments up to 3.0. :eek:

Ninja Prime
03-09-04, 04:16 AM
From what I've seen and read, the VIA is the best, I got one and I've had no problems and it overclocks at least 10% with no problems.

Viral
03-09-04, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by Gator
SIS755 appears to be the best chipset, but it's cursed with boardmakers not known to be overclocker-friendly, specifically ECS and Asrock. Hopefully an OC happy maker like Abit or Asus will eventually pickup the chipset.

VIA appears to be the best for Athlon64 right now, even though that disturbs me a little personally :p

Nforce3 I'm reading reports of people complaining about stability, and apparently Nvidia disabled a lot of stuff to get it to work so it doesn't perform as well as VIA. I'll be able to confirm it's performance this week when I put together an A64 + Gigabyte Nforce3 for my father :afro:

100% in agreement. SIS = the best, but no support VIA = Good, but VIA:rolleyes: Nforce3 150 = a let down, let's hope nforce3 250 is something special. I loved what nvidia did with the nforce2, and i hope they continue to push fine chipsets out like it for the nforce3 generation, all with locked PCI/AGP bus, something especilly important for A64's as they are multiplier locked. Getting a high overclock means 'FSB" or nothing.

saturnotaku
03-09-04, 08:06 AM
About the K8T800, it doesn't appear as if boards based on that chipset are suffering from any of the "traditional" VIA problems. Personally I've not had any issues with either of the VIA chipsets I've owned (KT133A, 266A).

Gator
03-09-04, 08:35 AM
Originally posted by saturnotaku
...it looks like Asus is coming out with a 755 board...

Where did you see that? :confused: I know Asrock has an SIS755 motherboard, but Asus too? That would be monumental! :eek:

Got a link to this news?

saturnotaku
03-09-04, 08:42 AM
I read it in one of the reviews MUYA linked to above. Can't remember which one and I don't feel like searching through them. I'm pretty sure it was at Anand, if not it was one of the other two above it.

Sazar
03-09-04, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by saturnotaku
About the K8T800, it doesn't appear as if boards based on that chipset are suffering from any of the "traditional" VIA problems. Personally I've not had any issues with either of the VIA chipsets I've owned (KT133A, 266A).

neither have I... plus all the reviews pointed in its direction.. sis did not have a retail chipset out @ the time of my purchase... and the nf3 was the crappest solution (ide performance still buggered apparently and HT crippled)

the 250 should be a better solution but when it comes to the market is another story...

sxotty
03-09-04, 12:40 PM
I have heard in the past that SIS overclocks their boards a small amount i.e. they make them to run at 168 instead of 166, or 202 instead of 200 FSB, and that is how they eaked out a bit of performance advantage, but that it hurt overclocking (at least seemingly b/c they were a bit overclocked already.) Of course that was in the past and I have no idea if they are doing it now.

I would tend to doubt it, but who knows.

Yes the nforce3 is a dissapointment, but the question is why? The answer is that the nforce2 was a smashing sucess... hopefully as was stated already the 250 will remedy this and be very good as well.

saturnotaku
03-09-04, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by sxotty
The answer is that the nforce2 was a smashing sucess... hopefully as was stated already the 250 will remedy this and be very good as well.

Tru dat. :spongebob

The nForce2 is the 440BX of this generation. Great feature set and staying power, stable, overclockable - everything enthusiasts and casual users alike could want. I suppose I probably ought to wait for the S939 stuff to come to market and either pick up one of those or take advantage of the impending price reduction of S754 boards. I might do the latter and then get a copy of the final 64-bit edition of Windows XP.

Gator
03-09-04, 11:43 PM
Update on my father's A64 + Nforce3... the machine has been put together and most (not all) of the software has been installed. Should be finishing up Wednesday night.

First of all, this Gigabyte motherboard is just beautiful. I may have to seriously consider a Gigabyte brand next time around, they really do a nice job. I'm talking the packaging, the board's physical appearance, all the goodies onboard, bios, cables, manual, labeling... everything is excellent. A+ to Gigabyte! Especially for the price too!

Nforce3 - I don't know what people are complaining about as of yet, I ran some 3dmark, Pcmark, Photoshop, and various other apps and have not seen any instability. Performance appears to be top notch for these specs, and overall I'm pretty pleased thus far. The drivers were very easy too, just ran the Nvidia Forceware 3.13 and it took care of nearly everything. The SATA driver was no trouble either, all of that was handled during the initial XP setup using a floppy disk.

I'm not done yet, I have some more apps to go & data transfer, and finally I'm gonna install UT2003... not for him but just to see how it plays. If that game runs smooth, then I see no reason why anyone should be complaining about Nforce3 at which time I'll recommend the Gigabyte NF3 to others.

another update to follow in the next day or two...

Sazar
03-10-04, 02:24 AM
Originally posted by Gator
Update on my father's A64 + Nforce3... the machine has been put together and most (not all) of the software has been installed. Should be finishing up Wednesday night.

First of all, this Gigabyte motherboard is just beautiful. I may have to seriously consider a Gigabyte brand next time around, they really do a nice job. I'm talking the packaging, the board's physical appearance, all the goodies onboard, bios, cables, manual, labeling... everything is excellent. A+ to Gigabyte! Especially for the price too!

Nforce3 - I don't know what people are complaining about as of yet, I ran some 3dmark, Pcmark, Photoshop, and various other apps and have not seen any instability. Performance appears to be top notch for these specs, and overall I'm pretty pleased thus far. The drivers were very easy too, just ran the Nvidia Forceware 3.13 and it took care of nearly everything. The SATA driver was no trouble either, all of that was handled during the initial XP setup using a floppy disk.

I'm not done yet, I have some more apps to go & data transfer, and finally I'm gonna install UT2003... not for him but just to see how it plays. If that game runs smooth, then I see no reason why anyone should be complaining about Nforce3 at which time I'll recommend the Gigabyte NF3 to others.

another update to follow in the next day or two...

you'll notice all the big boys (gigabyte included) have a very decent setup :)

the main reason I bought my board was the oodles of real-estate between the agp and dimm slots... total bliss :D

nf3-150 boards do not have fullspeed up/down stream which is the only knock and unless you benchmark you are not going to notice the difference... however when you are spending money on a cpu/mobo for its features/performance... why buy crippled ?

:)

till the nf3-250 comes out and proves the problems are fixed... I personally am not going to be recommending any nf3-150 boards to anyone..

btw congrats on getting things up and running...

sxotty
03-10-04, 08:18 AM
It is kinda what we said earlier as well, the nfroce2 was almost perfect, and the nforce3 just isn't.

The nforce3 250 will still not have as fast of up and down hyper transport as the new via board but they will be pretty much the same.

BTW I just got a friend to buy the gigabyte nforce2 (but I couldn't talk him into buying one with soundstorm :( And he WILL be using the integrated audio shame). But their board was 105 at newegg, and has SATA, and 4 IDE ports it is sweet.

saturnotaku
03-10-04, 08:38 AM
Originally posted by sxotty
BTW I just got a friend to buy the gigabyte nforce2 (but I couldn't talk him into buying one with soundstorm :( And he WILL be using the integrated audio shame). But their board was 105 at newegg, and has SATA, and 4 IDE ports it is sweet.

He could have bought an NF7-S, which has Soundstorm, for $102. Oh well. That's his own damn fault.

BTW Gator - glad to see things are up and running well for you. If I was going to game, I probably wouldn't get an nForce3 myself. But I think for what you've set it up for, the solution you gave your father is great. Keep those updates coming! :)

sxotty
03-10-04, 01:17 PM
Sat he wanted 4 ide ports... the cheapest one with 4 ide +soundstorm + SATA was $140 I know I suggested the nf7-s to him, newegg had it on sale at the time for $90 too :)... ah well, but the gigabyte board did look nice I must admit they got the athestics down.

edit: Hexus (http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD03Mjk=) has an nforce250 article up. It seems to me that amd has largely taken the fun out of the motherboard market by integrating the memory controller :). Now all the boards act similar and apparently the way it is set up is what is causing th agp/pci lock issues as well.

Gator
03-11-04, 10:43 PM
Well folks, the system appears to be running flawlessly. And I even tried UT2003 with no problems whatsoever. It performs pretty smooth actually using the A64, I was impressed considering it's only an FX5200U video card, but that A64 seems to utilize it well.

I have yet to see any bugs with the Nforce3 motherboard. I know some mentioned the HT not running at a full 800mhz, but this does not appear to make the Nforce3 slow by any means, just SLOWER than the competition. But clearly Nforce3 when paired with a good brand of motherboard like Giga-byte, is a winning combination for Athlon64. For those of us unwilling to purchase VIA chipsets, the Nforce3 is an excellent motherboard chipset. Give it the right memory (Crucial), the right PSU (Antec 430w) and you got a very stable rig & powerful rig.

Despite what many critics will tell you, I hearby officially endorse the Gigabyte GA-K8N-Pro Nforce3 motherboard.

sxotty
03-12-04, 08:10 AM
I am unwilling to buy VIA boards still actually :)... but soon I will again they seem to have quit with their silly antics of making terrible drivers.

Sazar
03-12-04, 10:02 AM
Originally posted by Gator
Well folks, the system appears to be running flawlessly. And I even tried UT2003 with no problems whatsoever. It performs pretty smooth actually using the A64, I was impressed considering it's only an FX5200U video card, but that A64 seems to utilize it well.

I have yet to see any bugs with the Nforce3 motherboard. I know some mentioned the HT not running at a full 800mhz, but this does not appear to make the Nforce3 slow by any means, just SLOWER than the competition. But clearly Nforce3 when paired with a good brand of motherboard like Giga-byte, is a winning combination for Athlon64. For those of us unwilling to purchase VIA chipsets, the Nforce3 is an excellent motherboard chipset. Give it the right memory (Crucial), the right PSU (Antec 430w) and you got a very stable rig & powerful rig.

Despite what many critics will tell you, I hearby officially endorse the Gigabyte GA-K8N-Pro Nforce3 motherboard.

running CnQ yet ?

SnakeEyes
03-12-04, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by sxotty
I am unwilling to buy VIA boards still actually :)... but soon I will again they seem to have quit with their silly antics of making terrible drivers.
I've had both a KT266 and a KT333a motherboard. I went nVidia with nForce2 because of PCI latency problems with the Via chipsets. Do they resolve those in later chipsets now? (I was always under the impression that the latency thing was a hardware related and not a software related problem. There were some 'fixes' that really didn't fix things so much as work around the problems a bit.)