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Asus M2N32 WS Professional nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review

Asus M2N32 WS Professional nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The M2N32 WS Professional motherboard supports all Socket AM2 Athlon64/X2/FX or Sempron processors, along with up to 8GB of unbuffered ECC/non-ECC DDR2-800 memory.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Mar 02 2007   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Asus M2N32 WS Professional

Nvidia C51XE and MCP55XE Core Logic

The flagship nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset in the Asus M2N32 WS Professional motherboard is aimed directly at the enthusiast market, and it's broken down into two discreet chipsets. The C51XE Northbridge is built on TSMC's 90nm manufacturing, and the MCP55PXE which is manufactured on TSMC's 140nm manufacturing process. The nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipsets have a total of 46 PCI Express lanes, and these are divided into 9 links. The C51XE SPP Northbridge supplies one PCI Express x16 link while it's the MCP55PXE that has the rest of the PCI Express lanes.

The MCP55PXE supports one PCI Express x16 link, which means users get full videocard bandwidth when running two nVIDIA videocards in SLI. The MCP Southbridge has a PCI Express x8 link and six PCI Express x1 links, depending on what the motherboard vendor decides to implement. Whichever way you slice it, there's plenty of high bandwidth PCI Express lanes to go around!

The nVidia MCP55PXE Southbridge is definitely the workhorse of the two, and it boasts a whole host of other features as well. The Southbridge handles up to 5 bus mastering PCI slots, but again it's up to the motherboard manufacturer to decide how many PCI slots to equip on a motherboard. There is a direct link to the Southbridge for two Gigabit Ethernet connections, and these will include nVIDIA's DualNet technology of course.

nVidia nForce 500-Series Feature Breakdown
nVidia nForce 590 SLI
CPU 940-pin Socket AM2
nVida SLI Support Yes, (2 x16)
nVidia LinkBoost Yes
nVidia FirstPacket Yes
nVidia DualNet Yes
Native Gigabit Ethernet 2
Teaming Yes
TCP/IP Acceleration Yes
nVidia MediaShield Storage Yes
SATA Speed 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
nVidia nTune Utility Yes
PCI Express Lanes 46 lanes
USB Ports 10
PCI Slots 5
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia)

nForce 590 SLI Assorted Technologies

nVIDIA has upgraded the integrated audio solution to include Intel's High Definition Audio Azalia standard. With Serial ATA going the way it is, there is only one IDE channels integrated now. To balance out storage requirements, the number of Serial ATA II (3Gbps) ports has been increased to six. Continuing on the hard drive front, nVIDIA's Serial ATA II channels adhere to the Serial ATA 2.0 spec and support RAID mode 0, 1, 0+1 and 5.

nVIDIA DualNet technology looks very interesting, and what it does is basically give the user greater control over network processes. All high end and mainstream nVIDIA chipsets will now by default support two Gigabit connections. Users can combine the two connections for more bandwidth, and there is hardware TCP/IP Acceleration which lowers CPU utilization.

Another very cool feature is nVIDIA's FirstPacket Technology which allows you to prioritize network traffic. So for example, if you are a gamer that tends to do multiple things while you're online, you can prioritize your game traffic so that ping times are not affected by the other processes going on in the background.

When the nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset is equipped with GeForce 7900GTX class or higher videocards, the chipset will automatically activate the nVidia LinkBoost technology. LinkBoost increases the PCI Express x16 buses to the videocard by 25%, and it also does the same for the HyperTransport link between the North and Southbridge chipsets. While increasing the bandwidth PCI Express bandwidth to GeForce 7900GTX might be a bit redundant, future generation videocards should see a nice gain from this setting.

On the memory front, the nVidia 590 SLI chipset introduces something called the Enhanced Performance Profiles or EPP. This is an open memory standard put forth by Corsair and nVIDIA which takes over where JEDEC's SPD leaves off. As the Enhanced Performance Profiles description implies, it adds performance profiles to the memory SPD in addition to the conservative compatibility settings already programmed in.

EPP compliant memory is dubbed "SLI Ready" memory on nVidia platforms (great marketing on nVIDIA's part) and allows the system to dynamically tighten up memory timings and increase voltages for better performance with no fuss. Whether you're a novice or experienced computer user, the benefits of EPP are immediate. Finally nVIDIA has greatly upgraded its nTune software which allow users more control over their systems. Realistically with nTune, there is no longer a need to go into the BIOS to adjust settings, now you can do everything within WindowsXP!

Up next, overclocking the Asus M2N32 WS Professional motherboard!

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Contents of Article: Asus M2N32 WS Professional
 Pg 1.  Asus M2N32 WS Professional nForce 590 SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  eSATA support and Chipset Cooling
 Pg 3.  Asus M2N32 WS Professional Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  — Nvidia C51XE and MCP55XE Core Logic
 Pg 5.  Overclocking the M2N32 WS Professional motherboard
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Quake 4 / Conclusions

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