The only real drawback to upgrading into a Socket 939 + PCI
Express system is cost. You not only have to replace the motherboard and
processor, but also the videocard and in many cases you need to buy a new power
supply as well.
Add up the prices and you've got yourself one expensive upgrade! I'm not sure
if there's a conspiracy but it seems like the
motherboard manufacturers are doing their best to keep Athlon64 technology on
the higher end of the scale.
The Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra is one of the only real
entry-level Athlon64 motherboards on the market, but despite its low price it
performs very well. For about a hundred dollars, you get a very basic
motherboard without a lot of goodies. Onboard there is a Gigabit NIC and
7.1-channel audio controller as well as three traditional PCI slots and two PCI
Express x1 slots for expansion.
Physically, the motherboard has been designed very well and
everything is placed at or near its optimal location. The motherboard itself is
pretty user friendly; we've seen better but not for $100. The user manual is
also very good at explaining where things go and what things do. Chaintech
includes a bunch of useful system utilities, not just 'filler' software to make
the package look good.
Despite having an entry-level price tag, the Chaintech
Zenith VNF4 Ultra performed like a champ in pretty much every benchmark we threw
at it. In the 2D/workstation-style benchmarks, you could not tell the difference
between this board and one twice as expensive.
In the 3D world, the Zenith VNF4 Ultra was awesome as well and was able to
best motherboards like the DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR, MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI
and Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI on many occasions! It even set new high scores in Doom 3
and 3DMark 05 for socket 939 Athlon64 motherboards.
With a $114 CDN ($92 US) sticker price, the
Socket 939-based Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra offers more bang for the buck than
any of its competitors.
about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com
Newsletter today! Catch all of PCstats latest hardware reviews right
Here are a
few other articles that you might enjoy as well...
1. MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Motherboard