Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe w/ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 Chipset

CPUs|Motherboards
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BIOS

As befits its status as a top-of-the-line overclocker's board, the BIOS allows just about everything to be adjusted, including a number of obscure voltages involving the northbridge. Alternately, there are a number of automatic options that allow the board to adjust the voltages as it sees necessary. Unfortunately, none but the CPU VCore can be adjusted downwards — a pity, since the RD580 northbridge has gained a reputation for allowing heavy overclocks at the stock voltage. With that amount of overhead, it would have been nice to be able to adjust the northbridge voltages downwards to improve power efficiency.


Adjustable everything...

By contrast, the range of adjustment for the CPU VCore is mostly downwards. The board itself is capable of supplying as little as 0.8V, but users will probably encounter the AMD-enforced limit of 1.1V if they try and push things too far. The maximum voltage depends on the processor, but it seems to top out at ~0.1V above the stock VCore. A voltage offset mode that works with Cool 'n' Quiet is also available which can boost the voltage by a further 0.2V. It would have been nice to be able to select a negative offset, allowing the processor to be undervolted while still allowing Cool 'n' Quiet to function.


CPU Voltage can be adjusted to well under what AMD allows.


A voltage offset mode allows a limited amount of overvolting even with Cool 'n' Quiet enabled.


The usual range of thermal, voltage, and fan speed sensors.

Fan control is much improved over the A8N32-SLI, which only allowed the fan controller to be enabled or disabled. Two channels of control are available: One for the CPU and one for the Chassis. It is not clear exactly which fan headers on the board (there are four) are controlled by which channel.

Both controllers allow a start temperature, a full speed temperature, and a PWM temperature (a trigger point when the fan speed starts to rise) to be set. The Chassis controller also allows an "off" threshold to be set to turn the fans off completely below a certain point. All trigger points can be set to any value between 0-100°C in 1°C increments.

The chassis fan controller was tested in a SilverStone TJ-07, with the same configuration that we used in our review of that case. The stock trigger points (shown below) were used to control one of the stock intake fans plugged into the Chassis fan header.

The fan controller worked more or less as expected, running at a reasonable minimum speed until the start temperature was reached, then increasing in speed as the motherboard temperature rose. The trigger temperature was not reached until the system was placed under heavy load, when it sped up smoothly after several minutes and stayed steady once the new level had been reached. Very little "warbling" was heard; the fan controller had enough hysteresis built into it that it never appeared to be "hunting" for the correct fan speed.

Although the CPU controller was not tested, it is probably less likely to be so well behaved — as a general rule we avoid using thermally controlled fans on the CPU because the temperature range is so dynamic that rapid changes in fan speed occur quite frequently.


Extensive control over at least two of the fans.



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