AM2 MBO Round-up: Part VI
Author: Josip Brombauer
Date: 15 Dec 2006
We?re back to the No. 1 manufacturer of MBO?s, ASUS. Today?s flavours include an nForce 570 Ultra, and also a somewhat rare delicacy among the products we?ve reviewed so far during this round-up - an nForce 4 SLI board. Does the older chipset still have what it takes to play with the new kids, or is its time long past? The answer is surprising?
The King of the Hill among Socket 939 boards made its D?ebut on the AM2 platform as well, hoping to prove that its time is not over yet. The M2N4-SLI from ASUS is a good example of how yesterday?s high-end platforms become the mainstream choices of today. The first thing you notice is the yellow-brownish colour of the PCB, reserved for mainstream boards by ASUS. Power is supplied via a 24-pin connector and a 4-pin one. The chipset is cooled by one fairly large passive aluminium heatsink.
You?ve got your two standard x16 PCI Express slots for SLI (they are really x8 electrically), two more PCI-E x1 and two PCI slots. You get only four SATA 3G ports, but there are two IDE controllers so you can hook up up to four IDE devices. A total of 10 USB 2.0 ports are supported, though only four are actually available if you don?t purchase additional brackets yourself. You also get only one gigabit LAN port, but to counter that all of the legacy ports are present: serial, LPT, and two PS/2. The sound solution is six-channel audio, but there is a coaxial S/PDIF out present, too.
The BIOS is well equipped, though not to the extent that the 590 SLI ones are. Still, you?ll have no trouble tweaking and overclocking this board, should you choose to do so. 4-4-4-12-2T was what we could configure to be stable for testing. The so called extras, on the other hand, are nonexistent. You get your manual, driver CD, cables, SLI connector, the practical Q-connectors and that?s about it.
The board also carries the AMD Live! Ready logo.