Recommended Motherboards: From a Silence Perspective 1.1

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Gordoco
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M2N-SLI Deluxe

Post by Gordoco » Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:55 pm

I have an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe Socket AM2 motherboard, revision 1.01G. Chipset is nForce 570 SLI, passively cooled with a heatpipe. It supports AMD Cool n Quiet.

The board has 4 chassis fan headers, one power fan header, and of course a CPU fan header. The manual says all but the power fan header "support the Asus Q-Fan2 feature" which may or many not mean they're controllable. I installed SpeedFan last week to monitor temps, and I briefly played with the fans. It shows three "speeds". Speed01 controls the CPU fan, Speed02 controls chassis fan header 1, and I don't know what Speed02 controls since only one of my case fans has a 3 pin connector so I'm not using the other headers. The RPM reported by Speed02 is whacked out - I know my Nexus is not spinning at 14000 RPM (and I haven't bothered figuring out how to set the multipler correctly). The system is quiet enough for now that I haven't spent much time with fan speed controls.

BIOS has Q-Fan control options separately for CPU and Chassis. They each can be set to Performance, Optimal or Silent.

BIOS has these voltage options:

DDR2 voltage 1.80V to 2.50V in .05 increments.
CPU voltage 0.8000V to 1.5625V in .0125 increments.
CPU/Chipset HT voltage 1.20 to 1.50 in .05 increments.
Chipset Core voltage 1.40, 1.50, 1.60.
Chipset standby core voltage 1.40, 1.60.
Chipset PCI-E voltage 1.50 to 1.70 in .05 increments.

Gordoco
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M2NPV-VM

Post by Gordoco » Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm

I just built a system for a friend using an Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard. This is a micro-ATX board for Socket AM2 with nForce 430 chipset and GeForce 6150 integrated graphics.

Chipset is passively cooled with a heatsink. Integrated graphics means you don't need a separate video card with its whiney little fan, although it has a PCI-E x16 slot to add one later if you need it.

I could not find any BIOS settings or jumpers that would adjust CPU voltage.

There are four fan headers: CPU, Power, and 2 Chassis. All four are monitored in the BIOS. BIOS has a single Q-Fan option that can be set to enabled or disabled, but I didn't try it out to see what it does. Speedfan monitors the CPU fan speed and two others (not sure which since I didn't connect any fans to the other headers). Three "speed" controls show up in Speedfan, but none of them have any effect on the CPU fan speed.

This board also supports AMD Cool n Quiet.

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:27 pm

Thanks Gordoco, the M2N-SLI Deluxe will be the first AM2 board to go into the list.

I'm also considering making a revision to the original post, so if anyone thinks that something should be added and/or edited feel free to comment.

Jasper
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Post by Jasper » Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:05 am

operandi wrote:Thanks Gordoco, the M2N-SLI Deluxe will be the first AM2 board to go into the list.

I'm also considering making a revision to the original post, so if anyone thinks that something should be added and/or edited feel free to comment.
It might be useful to have a few more different categories on there, rather than just processor sockets. I'm thinking of things like micro-ATX format (because some good cases are mATX), integrated graphics (because many people don't need separate graphics, and integrated ought to be quieter), or a combination of both. Possibly, when you can't find any boards that fit all the criteria, also including one or a couple from each category that come closest to achieving silenced nirvana.

Of course, doing that would entail a fair amount of work, so I wouldn't blame you for ignoring me.

roadie
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Post by roadie » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:56 am

I have used an EPoX EP-9U1697 GLI for a couple of weeks whilst ironing out issues with my computer. It was a revision 1.0 board and despite the samples that reviewers seem to have received, it came with a passive HS for the chipset. However, this did get awfully hot although it didn't affect stability at stock speeds.
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simeli
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Post by simeli » Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:55 am

I vote for the MSI 915GM Speedster and Dothan core if you really want a quiet system.

The chipset is passively cooled
Processor uses a standard 478 socket rentention module, making it easy to fit a great number of Pentium 4 coolers. Fitting a Zalman 7000AlCu lets you run it without a fan in a fairly well ventilated case.

The board is sold as a Workstation/Server board and thus the BIOS does not provide the host of options for over/underclocking that some enthusiast boards do. But this isn't really necessary for it is absolutely quiet already.

Fans are temperature controlled.

Put the board with the Zalman cooler in an Antec P180 together with a quiet Enermax Liberty or Seasonic PSU, Samsung disk and a super low speed 120mm Scythe fan in the back to pull out warm air. There you go, an inaudible system without any dirty modding really...

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:50 am

I vote for the MSI 915GM Speedster
Does it support EIST (Speedstep)?

simeli
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Post by simeli » Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:55 am

yes it does, even though it requires some fiddling with the APCI tables under linux...

anothe vote would go towards the MSI 945GM with core duo support, DVI and PCI expansion card... very nice board as well, but it does not use the standard retention module unfortunately. I'd love to see this tested on SPCR

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:08 pm

Ok, I've edited the original post a bit, and added two Asus AM2 boards.

I also removed the Pentium4 boards, I figured with Core2's official debut nobody is going to be interested.

As usual keep the recommendations coming :wink:.

Ralf Hutter
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Post by Ralf Hutter » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:29 am

operandi wrote: I also removed the Pentium4 boards, I figured with Core2's official debut nobody is going to be interested.
I'm interested. FWIW.

My vote would be "put the P4 boards back in the listings".
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Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:35 am

Ralf Hutter wrote:
operandi wrote: I also removed the Pentium4 boards, I figured with Core2's official debut nobody is going to be interested.
I'm interested. FWIW.

My vote would be "put the P4 boards back in the listings".
Alright, the P4 boards are back; both of them.

Since you seem to have fairly extensive experience with the P4 do you have any more boards you would like to see added?

As for everyone else we could really use some recommendations for AMD AM2 boards, as well as Intel Core2 ready boards.

ZORAX
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Post by ZORAX » Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:15 am

Number12 wrote:... Speedfan works well on the A8V Deluxe on the 2 fan headers supported by Q-Fan. CPU undervoltable to 0.80VCore. Dual core updated BIOS. RMClock works well for dynamic underclocking and undervolting.
Just to add, SpeedFan really works well with the A8V Deluxe on the Q-Fan headers, but you have to disable Q-Fan in BIOS first. The fans will go slower until 32%, on 31% or lower they stop. Using Cool'n'Quiet overrides the BIOS vCore setting and you are only able to go from 1.1 to 1.45 V and from 4x multiplier and up.
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paapaa
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Post by paapaa » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:41 am

Ok, see my thread, there is already one C2D motherboard suggestion which you could add here :-)

http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=33424

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:14 pm

paapaa wrote:Ok, see my thread, there is already one C2D motherboard suggestion which you could add here :-)

http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=33424
Fan control info is missing. For me this probably the most important aspect so I won't be adding any board without basic fan controls in place.

Filias Cupio
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Post by Filias Cupio » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:36 pm

Gigabyte GA-K8N51GMF
micro-ATX, socket 939, PCI-E, passive chipset cooler, works fine with speedfan, pretty cheap.

I couldn't find BIOS control over fan speed, so fans are at full speed until speedfan starts running. I only have one fan (using the "system fan" header) so I can't guarantee the other fans are controlable. I haven't tried undervolting.

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:31 am

Added the Gigabyte GA-K8N51GMF as well as the older AOpen AK86-L.

Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:19 pm

Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 (Socket AM2)

Chipset: Nvidia Nforce 550
Cooling: Passive and pretty large
Undervoltable in BIOS: Yes. All the way down to 0.8V, but probably only to 1.1V on rev E/F CPUs, as usual.
Cool 'n Quiet support: Not mentioned in BIOS at all and it's not activated by default.

I've been using this board for the past few days. It has been rock solid since I built the machine. The CPU I'm using is a 3500+. I've overclocked it to 2.4GHz, while at the same time undervolting it to 1.25V. I could probably go slightly lower on the voltage, but I want to be sure it's stable. The chipset currently runs at 240MHz and although the heatsink gets very hot it's probably far from dangerous. The overclock doesn't seem to have made it hotter than at default 200MHz.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:31 pm

All the way down to 0.8V, but probably only to 1.1V on rev E/F CPUs, as usual.
If it's not too much trouble, would you mind checking this (the 1.1Vcore lock)? It's a big open question at the moment whether the F-stepping has been given a Vcore lock; some people have reported that AM2 X2's don't have it.

Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:13 pm

jaganath wrote:
All the way down to 0.8V, but probably only to 1.1V on rev E/F CPUs, as usual.
If it's not too much trouble, would you mind checking this (the 1.1Vcore lock)? It's a big open question at the moment whether the F-stepping has been given a Vcore lock; some people have reported that AM2 X2's don't have it.
Yeah, I could probably test it later today. I'll try it after work and get back to you.

EDIT: I may have to postpone that till tomorrow. I forgot that the computer is running Prime95 at the moment and it's going to be doing that atleast nine more hours.

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:12 am

Mikael wrote:Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 (Socket AM2)

Chipset: Nvidia Nforce 550
Cooling: Passive and pretty large
Undervoltable in BIOS: Yes. All the way down to 0.8V, but probably only to 1.1V on rev E/F CPUs, as usual.
Cool 'n Quiet support: Not mentioned in BIOS at all and it's not activated by default.

I've been using this board for the past few days. It has been rock solid since I built the machine. The CPU I'm using is a 3500+. I've overclocked it to 2.4GHz, while at the same time undervolting it to 1.25V. I could probably go slightly lower on the voltage, but I want to be sure it's stable. The chipset currently runs at 240MHz and although the heatsink gets very hot it's probably far from dangerous. The overclock doesn't seem to have made it hotter than at default 200MHz.
Sounds good but I need to know a bit about the boards fan control features; BIOS level controls and SpeedFan support specifically.

Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:48 am

Operandi wrote:Sounds good but I need to know a bit about the boards fan control features; BIOS level controls and SpeedFan support specifically.
It has automatic regulation of the CPU fan speed and it worked well when I tried it with the AMD stock cooler. However, I wanted it to be even quieter, so I attached a Fanmate 2 and made it run at 5V constantly. There are no other options to control the fans in BIOS.

SpeedFan does not seem to control the three pin CPU fan, which is the only fan attached to the mobo. Here's a pic of SpeedFan's "Speed" setting screen:

Image

Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:23 pm

Okay, I just tried to run the CPU on 1.00V at 1.2GHz (240*5). The results are pretty interesting... Check this out:

http://files.upl.silentwhisper.net/upload1/1V.gif

The voltage reported by SpeedFan and Everest actually varied slightly (as it "should"), while the CPU-Z voltage remained constant at 1.350V. It's therefore pretty safe to assume that the voltage reported by SpeedFan/Everest is the correct one. :)

In other words, no voltage lock on this one!

EDIT: I might add that the system ran Prime95 for a few minutes without problems, but seemed to get stuck on a black screen when rebooting. I'd have to run the system on stock settings (FSB, mem) to rule out that it was actually caused by the vcore and nothing else.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:30 pm

In other words, no voltage lock on this one!
Interesting, very interesting, thank you very much for doing that, that is a positive step in my view by AMD if it turns out to be true for all F-stepping procs, Vcore locks preventing downvolting are very much against what we are trying to do here at SPCR. :P

Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:43 pm

jaganath wrote:Interesting, very interesting, thank you very much for doing that, that is a positive step in my view by AMD if it turns out to be true for all F-stepping procs, Vcore locks preventing downvolting are very much against what we are trying to do here at SPCR. :P
No problem, glad I could help. :) And, yeah, it's nice if they don't put these limits there, unless the chips really can't go lower anyway.

I just checked RMClock and it actually reports a minimum vcore of 0.55V. I believe it reads the CPUs internal registers to find the MinVID figure, so this looks quite promising indeed.

cmthomson
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Post by cmthomson » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:44 pm

I'm really surprised there are no C2D boards listed.

Candidates include Asus P5B Deluxe and P5W DH Deluxe, as well as Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6, GA-965P-DS3 and GA-965P-DS4.

I have a P5W DH Deluxe and am very happy with it. It comes stock with a heat-pipe passive NB cooler, which I replaced with a Thermalright HR-05 (although it wasn't very easy due to the hoops being on the wrong corners).

It is an ATX LGA775 Conroe-ready board with a 975X north bridge and ICH7R south bridge.

It has excellent voltage control: the CPU can be set from 1.2000 to 1.7000 in 0.0125 increments. The DRAM can be set from 1.80 to 2.40 in (mostly) 0.05 increments. There are five voltages for the NB, five for the FSB and three for the SB.

It also has excellent fan control. The CPU fan header is four-pin, but a 3-pin fan can also be used with full tach and speed control, either DC or PWM. The CPU fan can be controlled from the BIOS with either AIQuiet or Q-Fan (performance, optimal, silent), or by SpeedFan. The board also has two CHA 3-pin headers and two PWR 3-pin headers. These two pairs can each be controlled from the BIOS with Q-Fan, or by SpeedFan.

And it has excellent clock control: FSB from 100 to 505 (!), 7 DRAM ratios, PCI-Express from 90 to 150.

By default, it overclocks the NB (straps it to 800 instead of 1066). When overclocking the FSB, this feature should be disabled by turning off Hyper Path 3. Also, the CPU voltage is controllable only if SpeedStep and Enhanced C1 Enable are turned off. You can still get this functionality using RMClock instead of the BIOS.
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Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:24 am

Asus P5W DH Deluxe added, thanks cmthomson :wink:.
Mikael wrote:
Operandi wrote:Sounds good but I need to know a bit about the boards fan control features; BIOS level controls and SpeedFan support specifically.
It has automatic regulation of the CPU fan speed and it worked well when I tried it with the AMD stock cooler. However, I wanted it to be even quieter, so I attached a Fanmate 2 and made it run at 5V constantly. There are no other options to control the fans in BIOS.

SpeedFan does not seem to control the three pin CPU fan, which is the only fan attached to the mobo. Here's a pic of SpeedFan's "Speed" setting screen:
So the CPU fan is automatically controlled yet there are no fan control options in the BIOS?, thats weird.

If you have the time maybe you could verify if SpeedFan can control any of the other fan headers. You could also go into the advanced options and see if you can gain control that way allowing you to bypass the Fan Mate altogether.

Ryan
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Post by Ryan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:57 pm

Chipset: Nvidia C51D
Cooling: Passive heatpipe
Undervoltable in BIOS: Nope :(
Cool 'n Quiet support: Yes

Note:
-The board overvolts slightly, so at lowest (1.400), it states 1.425.
-The temperature probes are messed. They don't work accuratly.
-Under the heatsinks, there's a piece of oily rubber, presumed to "transfer heat" from the chips / mosfets to the heatpipes, but they are quite terrible. Removal + arctic silver is recommended.
-With big heatsinks where the fan is paralell to the board, I recommend having the air push toward the board, with the fin side over the heatpipe instead of the ram in such heatsinks as the XP120.
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Mikael
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Post by Mikael » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:20 am

Operandi wrote:So the CPU fan is automatically controlled yet there are no fan control options in the BIOS?, thats weird.
As I said, there are no other options to control fans in BIOS. The automatic regulation of the CPU fan can be turned on or off, but that's it.
Operandi wrote:If you have the time maybe you could verify if SpeedFan can control any of the other fan headers. You could also go into the advanced options and see if you can gain control that way allowing you to bypass the Fan Mate altogether.
I'll check it when I get some time, which might take a little while. :P

cmthomson
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Post by cmthomson » Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:23 pm

I see the Asus P5W DH has been added to the first post. Thanks.

However, the summary isn't accurate. This board has five fan headers. The CPU header is 4-pin, controllable by BIOS or SpeedFan, and also supports 3-pin fans. There are two 3-pin CHA fan headers, controllable together by BIOS or SpeedFan, and also two 3-pin PWR fan headers, also controllable together by BIOS or SpeedFan. All headers have independent speed sensing.

If you are using SpeedFan with this board, you can have up to five fans running as up to three separate speed groups. You can have up to five 3-pin fans, or one 4-pin fan and up to four 3-pin fans.
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jackylman
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Post by jackylman » Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:46 am

MSI K9NU Neo-V (Socket AM2, ATX)

Chipset: ULI-M1697 MCP(integrated NB/SB)
Cooling: Small Passive heatsink which gets pretty warm
Undervoltable in BIOS: Barely. 1.2 - 1.4V in 0.025V increments
C'n'Q: Yes. Control in BIOS
Fan Control: CPU SmartFan with up to 5 degree hysteresis and 2-8 steppings
Speedfan: Board only has two fan headers, both work with Speedfan

Other features: PCIe-x16 slot, 3 PCI slots (one gets blocked with a dual-slot GPU cooler), HD Audio (Realtek ALC883), 4 SATA2 ports, 10/100 LAN, 4 USB ports with headers for four more, supports 1.8V and DDR2-800 RAM.

The BIOS undervolting is fairly limited and the board only has 2 fan headers, but it is a very cheap board ($73). If you're going to use 1 or 2 fans and intend to use CrystalCPUID or C'n'Q, this board is a great value. You should add it to the recommended list as a budget pick for a gaming, media or office computer.

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