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Review: ASUS M2R32-MVP Radeon Xpress 3200 CrossFire motherboard

by Steve Kerrison on 31 August 2006, 08:36

Tags: ASUSTeK (TPE:2357)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagor

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CPU supportSocket AM2 for AMD Athlon 64 X2/ Athlon 64 FX/ Athlon 64/ Sempron
ChipsetATI CrossFire Xpress 3200/ATI SB600
Hyper Transport2000/1600 MT/s
Memory4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2 800/667/533, ECC and non-ECC, un-buffered memory, dual-channel
Expansion Slots2 x PCI Express x16 slot with CrossFire support at full x16, x16 mode
2 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI
CrossFireDual x16 mode CrossFire support
Storage/RAIDATI SB600 South Bridge:
- 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
- 4 x Serial ATA I/II 3.0Gb/s with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support
Jmicron360 SATA controller supports:
- 1 x External Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s hard disk (SATA On-the-Go)
AudioADI 1988A 8-channel CODEC
Universal Audio Jack
Coaxial S/PDIF out
LANMarvell 88E8001 (PCI) Gigabit LAN Controller, featuring AI NET2
IEEE 1394aVIA VT6308P (PCI) controller supports:
- 1x IEEE 1394a internal connection
- 1x IEEE 1394a back panel connector
USB10 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
Backplane connections1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Out
1 x IEEE1394
1 x External SATA
1 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-Channel Audio I/O
1 x COM connector
Internal I/O Connectors
Internal connections3 x USB 2.0 connector supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
1 x IEEE1394a connector
4 x SATA
1 x IDE connector
1 x Floppy disk drive
1 x CPU/ 2 x Chassis/ 1 x Power FAN
1 x S/PDIF Out
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power
Chassis Intrusion
CD audio in
Front panel Audio
System panel
Q-Connector pack inluded
BundleUser's manual
2 x Serial ATA cables
1 x 2-port Serial ATA power cables
1 x 2-port USB2.0
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x ASUS Q-Connector (USB, 1394, system panel)
FDD cable
I/O shield

The M2R32-MVP might be considered successor to the A8R32-MVP. We reviewed that board in a shootout against a Sapphire motherboard. All three boards have the same RD580 northbridge, but differing southbridges. The M2R32-MVP uses ATI's own SB600. We recently published a review of ATI's AM2 Xpress 3200 reference board, codenamed Sturgeon, so we'll be using Sturgeon for comparison frequently in this review.

The board we're testing here is a pre-production sample. As such, it should be more or less identical to the final product in terms of board layout, components and core features, but ASUS may well make a few tweaks to ensure compatibility or stability. With pre-production hardware comes a pre-production BIOS, so while we can comment on the BIOS features, some may be added (or removed) before production.

A quick perusal of the spec page shows that the board comes with coaxial S/PDIF and eSATA connections, which is good. No optical audio connection though, it seems. The network PHY, Marvell's 88E8001 is a 32-bit PCI device rather than PCIe. We should also state that this board is AMD live! ready.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the PCB.