Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Performance wise, the board led in all categories alongside the EPoX board based on the 570 SLI chipset. In fact the performance of this board was on par with most of the 590 SLI chipset based boards I have tested. However if having dual 16X lanes available to the video cards is an important feature to you, you may want choose a 590 SLI based chipset solution instead. In my testing of SLI the 8 lanes available to each video card didn’t seem to have any adverse effect on SLI performance. It doesn’t seem to be a real handicap, considering Quad SLI doesn’t look like it’s going to become mainstream on the current video card generation any time soon.
GA-M57SLI-S4 comes with the necessary options that most would need. The overclocking options are plenty to tweak with, just be sure to utilize the Control F1 function to unlock all options.
The motherboard supports 4 DDR2 DIMM slots, 6 SATA II ports (the maximum that NVIDIA supports with the MCP55 chip) featuring NV RAID ports supporting NV 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD. 10 USB 2.0 ports. It also supports 2 x 8 PCIe lanes for SLI configuration. Other features include 1394 firewire and GbE (Marvell 1116PHY) Ethernet and 8 ch HD audio (ALC883 audio codec). The benefits of HD audio over AC’97 include support for DVD-Audio bandwidth requirements, Dolby Digital EX and 7.1 surround sound and increased bandwidth that allows for 192 kHz 32-bit multi-channel audio. This motherboard utilizes a passive cooler on the chipset, so fan malfunction is not a concern.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, the GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 is widely available online and can be found for prices at just about $89.00. Newegg has the GA-M57SLI-S4 for $84.99. This places in the GA-M57SLI-S4 in the category of being a feature rich and affordable mid-range nForce 570 board.
GIGABYTE has done an admiral job in most respects with the GA-M57SLI-S4 motherboard. The only minor downside I encountered when working with this board is while in dual video card mode, only 8 PCI Express lanes are available to each video card. This may not be huge deciding factor to most user’s purchasing decision, but those still seeking to run 4 video cards (Quad-SLI) would be better served to upgrade to a board that does feature 16 PCI Express lanes available to each card. Performance wise the board held its own against the EPoX, and even most of the 590 SLI boards I have tested. The single Ethernet port offered is only a mild concern, however when most manufactures are including dual Ethernet it would have been nice to see it added here. The BIOS provides a plentiful bounty of overclocking and tweaking options. Given its price point and performance, I can recommend this board as a great buy.
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