ATi may be late to the game, but the performance of
its flagship 'RD580' Crossfire Xpress 3200 chipset when benchmarked with a
single videocard is near identical to nVidia's nForce 590 SLI chipset. These
kinds of parallels in performance shouldn't be much of a surprise...
The AMD Athlon64 has always been very consistent when it comes to
performance, and it's nice to see there are no compatibility problems between
nVIDIA and ATi. PCSTATS was unable to conduct dual Crossfire Edition videocards
vs. dual SLI videocards because we simply do not have any CrossFire Edition
The ECS KA3 MVP Extreme motherboard retails for $145 CDN
($130 US, £68 GBP) and comes with a decent feature set. A 7.1 channel High
Definition Azalia audio controller, Gigabit and 10/100 network cards, IEEE 1394a
and an additional 2 channel Serial ATA II RAID controller. The KA3 MVP Extreme
has decent upgrade options with one open PCI Express x1 and two PCI slots.
ECS' KA3 MVP Extreme motherboard performed very well in
testing and it had no issues keeping up with a collection of other Socket AM2
motherboards. It would be a waste though to use this board strictly for
workstation work since it's quick in the 3D benchmarks as well. The KA3 MVP
Extreme was easily as fast as the Foxconn C51XEM2AA or Asus M2-CROSSHAIR in
all tests from 3DMark05/06 to FarCry, Doom 3 and Quake 4. That's good company to
be in, those two are some of the faster Socket AM2 boards on the market.
Overclocking was not the ECS's KA3 MVP
Extreme strong suit, but it did reach 310 MHz which is about the fifth best
among the list of socket AM2 AMD Athlon64 motherboards PCSTATS has
evaluated. That's high enough for you to find out the maximum speed of your
processor no matter what type of cooling you have. It would have been nice if
ECS provided a bit more flexibility when it comes to voltages, but we're still
pretty satisfied with the results.
The ATI Crossfire Xpress 3200 chipset is a very
capable platform when compared to the nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI, and best of all
it's moderately priced. If you're going to upgrade to Socket AM2, there's no
reason to be afraid of something based on ATi's CrossFire Xpress 3200. It's no
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