Conclusions and Final Thoughts
ATI’s new XPress 3200 chipset and the Asus A8R32-MVP motherboard have given us a lot to look over.
The overall system performance of the ATI XPress 3200 chipset is right on par with that of the competing NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. Both the A8R32 and the A8N32 tore through our suite of benchmarks with break neck speeds.
What we didn’t get into yet is the real beef of the chipset on chipset attack — which is the better implementation of full x16 PCI Express dual graphics? Or does it even matter at this point for gamers? Honestly, we haven’t decided yet and as such will be coming back to this point very soon in a future article.
There is simply no getting around that the Asus A8R32-MVP is probably the best overclocking motherboard I have ever tested. And since this is the first XPress 3200 chipset I have tested as well, both ATI and Asus can share the spotlight on that.
The ATI engineers told us they built the ability to do these kinds of overclocking feats into the chipset. So once new BIOS’ are released and other board vendors start competing for the top spot I am sure we’ll see the overclocking number soar even higher.
The A8R32-MVP Deluxe has all the features you should need in a motherboard. The only thing immediately detracting from the board is the buggy PCI-based GigE networking connection that would not complete our tests.
The other features including SATA RAID support, HD Azalia Audio with optical output, full x16 PCIe lanes for the fastest CrossFire configurations and a stellar BIOS really round out the motherboard that could fit in just about anyone’s system. Are you a gamer? Good, get some CrossFire action with some X1900s. You’re an overclocker? Good, now you have all the tools at your fingertips to really push your system. You’re an enthusiast? Good, you can have a little bit of everything.
Price and Availability
According to both ATI and Asus, the A8R32-MVP motherboard should be available starting today and in fact it has been on sale in other parts of the world for nearly two weeks as it is. This is the first hard launch we have seen from a chipset perspective in a long time; too long in fact. ATI’s chipset department has taken a lesson from the graphics guys (on the X1900, not X1800!) and they seem to be getting it right once again.
Pricing should start at around $200 according to Asus but should settle closer to $160 or so as the next couple of month’s progress. This board is still a solid value any way you look at it.
One of the big stories here with the XPress 3200 launch is the move to true x16 graphics card connections. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time before this launch to properly test it in a form that I’d want to present to you all, but I can tell you that CrossFire was up and running just fine when I left town this week. And it’s definitely not going to do be anything but faster than the original chipset.
I’ll have more thorough and complete testing on CrossFire configurations on the XPress 3200 later next week but if you are itching for a CrossFire board, you’d be safe to go with this one.
Both the ATI Radeon XPress 3200 chipset and the Asus A8R32-MVP motherboard made a splash on the PC Perspective test beds bringing new life to the CrossFire platform with a great performing chipset and a new overclocking edge over even the best motherboards on the market. If you want a CrossFire system and have been waiting for the right part to come your way or just want a screaming fast AMD motherboard, this is it.
Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on the Asus A8R32-SLI, and anything else you may want to buy!