How does this board stand up in the grand scheme of things? It's a feature filled, well laid out motherboard. However, due to AMD's issues with getting "Hammer" out late, this board has a limited lifespan in front of it. Socket 754, after another release or two, is going to be relegated to the "budget" bin, and take over for the Duron/XP line, sometime in the next year. So while the soon to come S939 gets the good CPU's from the 90nm process, it looks like the ones with a half working cache, in the area of 256kb will be sent down to play here. Not so great an upgrade path. However if like me, you get a new motherboard every time you get a new CPU, this isn't even an issue you'd think about.
Although I liked this board, it does have a limitation that keeps me from whole heartedly recommending it all out: the VIA chipset that powers it. The south bridge is great, and from everything I've seen, it's the best performing north bridge at stock speeds. Still, this setup loses to my overclocked P4 way too often. A simple way of fixing that is to overclock this setup. However, that was a big trial, and even with more time I'm not sure what else I could accomplish. Not good news for future Hammers using the 1000MHz HT bus as the interconnect to the motherboard.
Great hardware for audio, LAN, SATA, peripheral connectivity.
Not holding back the A64 through HT bus limitation.
Can't argue with the price for what you get.
For a gaming system, this is a good combo.
Overclocking was nothing spectacular.
A few layout niggles (pretty minor).
Future not so bright for socket 754.
Multimedia is not a strength yet. (Optimized programs could change this.)
If you are looking for a board to run at stock speeds, I have no qualms about recommending this board. It's got every feature in the book, had no compatibility issues, and the price seems right. It's just a question of what is in the future for this thing, and the lack of extra power you can get from it.
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